Sand as Substrate & live plants?

  • #1
I'm looking at getting a new 2 1/2 -3 ft tank

Got a few questions...wanna make sure i've got some facts and prepared before attempting this..if anyone would like to help me out...Aussies would be great as trying to find an equivalent product or store can be difficult *L* But all nationalities input helps

Sand Substrate
What type?.....I've been reading about types...and most seem to say to use pool filter that right? Can I get that at a pet supply store? Or do I need to go to a pool place? Is it like a silicon sand or something different?

Is it possible to get different colours?

I have a sand already but I don't think it would be is sorta 'rough'....and seeing as I want cories...that definitely wouldnt be good for them i'm sure.

How deep does it need to be for live plants?
Other than the wire coathanger there anything else special that needs to be done to it? Can a gravel cleaner be used on sand (i'm thinking it would go up it along with the water..but I could be wrong)...or is there another way to clean any nasties off the top?
If you have wood or rocks in the tank as they need to be lifted and the sand agitated to stop dead spots or are they fine to stay there?

Live Plants
The tank will not have much natural light or tank light, so I am assuming I'll definitely need to purchase one.

What type of lighting would be required...single or double lighting?
Special lighting tubes for plants aren't there? What types would I require?
Beginner type plants...what would be the best?
Do you need to use aquarium fertilizer or is the natural mulm enough for the plants to live on?

Anything else you feel I should know...please feel free to add

aqua man130
  • #2
hey ur another aussie its great to know I'm not alone lol

I live in qld, deception bay


(I love fish)

aqua man130
  • #3
I don't think u should have any type of sand for the cory's

nice rocks or pebbles will do

and with the plants u might want to consider haveing elodea
but there is 2 types a smaller curved elodea and a tall elodea so it would suit ur tank for either one but u will need a light if there is no natural light cause if there is no light the elodea will die
and try to keep the plant all under water or it will dry out and die too

no prob

aqua ( Aussie Aussie Aussie OI OI OI)
  • #4
I think you can get the pool sand at a pool place or WalMart. You can get different color sand from a company called carib sea. You will probably have to do a lot of rinsing with their sand though. That's why the pool sand is so easy, because you don't have to rinse it a lot.

You will also have to keep in mind that your sand will have to be airated somehow to keep it from getting pockets of deadly gasses which can leak into the water and make your fish sick or kill them. Some folks use malaysian trumpet snails to solve this problem. They burrow into the sand during the day and come out at night looking for food. You can also just stir the sand when you do tank maintenance. If your vacuum your tank, the sand will get sucked into the tube if you get it too close to the bottom. Simply hover the tube over the sand to suck up the waste.

If you don't have special lighting, I would suggest purchasing low light plants like java fern and anubias. You will have to secure your java fern to something into the tank. You can't bury enough of it to anchor it into the sand because they don't like to be buried like that, and it will die. can give you some ideas on low light plants for your tank.

Cory cats love sand, and sand is recommended for corys. I have gravel in my tank and corys do just fine, but the gravel can cause their barbels damage, so sand is preferred.
  • #5
hello there -

not an aussie, but I do use sand in my planted tank

I just use regular "play sand." it's probably about the cheapest sand you can get, and it works well for me.

I have mine about 2 inches deep, and it works for me.

not sure what the wire coathanger trick is though...

as far as cleaning, I think it's a lot easier than gravel. just hover the gravel cleaner above the sand, and the nasties come up, but the sand stays (as long as you're not too close). if you're doing heavily planted (don't know if you are or not, the plant roots will take care of that problem (I believe) another alternative ist he MTS that gunnie mentioned.

lights depend on the plants you use, same for fertilizers. is a good resource for planted tank questions

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