Question Sand, Pebbles, Gravel, or Rocks

ayelie

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All you guys have been doing this stuff a lot longer than I have and I need your opinion on a couple of things. I am trying to get ready to start putting my big tank together and I want to do the best job I can.


Which is better for bottom feeders, and Bettas???
I like the look of sand but I want to do what is best for the fish.

Also I've seen pictures on here with tanks that has little flower pots in them. Where do you get those?

I've also seen pictures of Betta tanks with yellow tube things, like from a hamster habit. Can you buy those at the pet stores, and how do you get them to stay on the bottom of the tank??
 

Shawnie

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sounds like a fun time to be had with new tanks!!
IMO , bettas and sand dont mix well....they love to scrounge so much and they can have issues with their gills and sand ...thats from my attempts at it not from others...but I worried too much from seeing issues from other members....but sand is great for most fish ....what size tank is it and is there multiple tanks going up? other bottom feeders like cories and plecos, like sand to sift through...so depending on what you are stocking with , can change recomendations.....

as far as the flower pots, I got most of mine either from the dollar store or walmart...just boil every thing first....

the hampster habitat tubes are awesome! and even with some java moss wrapped waround them it will grow on it! most will stay on the bottom with an occasional floater (at least mine have) and if you have a floater, just put a big rock in side it
 

LyndaB

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Congratulations on a new tank in your life! How big is this new tank?

I like sand for ground feeders, like kuhli loaches. They have to filter the substrate through their gills, so it's necessary to have a fine substrate.

In my tank that has my blood parrots, I have a medium size gravel/mix.
 
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ayelie

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The new tank is 29 gallon. Then the old 5 gallon will become a new home for a betta. It already has blue gravel in it so I guess I won't need to change it for the betta.


The new tank hasn't been set up yet, I am in the shopping and thinking stage.

Thanks guys it's give me for new food for thought.
 

LyndaB

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I'm sure you'll get many more responses. Basically, I choose gravel depending on the look I want to achieve, i.e. natural stream-like tank, colorful beachy looking tank and also on the requirements of the fish, if there are any. Many fish can do quite nicely in various substrates.

So, once you narrow down the fish you'd like, then you will be better able to choose the right substrate for your tank.
 

jerilovesfrogs

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a lot of the time it's personal preference....but sometimes you have to chose what's best for a certain fish. like bettas, or kulhlis.

i have a 5g with a betta and small river rock, natural looking gravel.

the 20g has the same natural gravel.....though if i had to do it again, or in another tank, i'd probably put sand. i have sand in a 2.5g shrimp tank and it looks very pretty.

if you choose sand, it does have to be stirred sometimes, to prevent gas pockets. and since a gravel vac isn't done in the same was as with gravel, you'll have to either stir it, or get some mts to help with stirring.

have fun getting your tank started!
 

Kunsthure

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Sand! Sand! Sand! Sand! Can you tell I like sand? .

I had gravel in all three tanks and couldn't stand the mess. Poop, missed food and whatever else ends up in gravel drove me nuts. Plus I had corys in the 37g and the gravel was keeping them from being corys. So I removed the gravel and replaced it with sand. I have pool filter sand in the 20g and 37g and Carib Sea Naturals black sand in the 5g.

You can find pool filter sand at Home Depot or Lowes. I think some people have found it at Wal-mart this time of year. And of course you can find it at pool supply stores. It is very low dust and takes very little time to rinse.

Vacuuming is very easy because everything stays right on top. Like jerilovesfrogs said, you do need to stir the sand or get Malaysian trumpet snails to stir it up for you to prevent gas pockets from building up.

I'm never going to use gravel again.

-Lisa
 

SammyJ

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I like sand myself. When I had my 29 set up I went to home depot and bought a bag of play sand. It was like 20 bucks or something. That worked well for my tank. Play sand is a bit of a pain to rinse off though.
 

firemouthfreak

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GO WITH SAND! Most fish LOVE SAND! I just recently switched and I have no regrets! My fish love it and its pretty easy to clean, unlike gravel where you have to make sure you get all uneaten food and poop and still miss some of it, while with sand, you see the poop and uneaten food and you could easily vacuum that up.

The thing with sand is that you have to stir the sand a bit to release toxic gases, its easy, just take a little chopstick or something of that size and run it around in the sand.

As for the pots, you can get them from Home Depot for 97 Cents each.
 
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SammyJ

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Look at that, sand and pots both at the depot, and on the cheap. You can also get cheap as dirt clf lights that fit aquarium hoods. The depot is prolly the greatest place in the world for cheap aquarium stuff.
 

FriendsNotFood

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hehe I have gravel in my tank with my cories and sand for my betta. I don't like the gravel with the cories, which is why they're getting a new sand tank.

I'd suggest a mix of coarsish sand, and small gravel maybe... 80% sand 20% gravel? it's what I have in my betta tank and I just find it easier for cleaning than plain sand and large gravel with cories is paainnnful to clean. I'm guessing it's similar for other bottom dwellers
 

Kunsthure

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Mixing sand with gravel usually results in sand settling to the bottom leaving a layer of gravel on top.

You could get all fancy and have a gravel part and a sand part!

-Lisa
 

FriendsNotFood

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Haha my gravel is so small that it mixes fairly well with the sand. But in the tank with the large gravel, I have two pot water dishes filled with sand and burried in the gravel so it's like a sand patch. I try feed the cories on top of it to stop some of the mess (HAH, they just purposely bury food in the gravel now). Did it because I hurt they like snuffling in sand but I'm yet to see it!
 

Craig-D

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Sand is probably preferred by cories and other bottom feeders, but they do well in small smooth gravel as well. My issue with sand is in maintaining it. How do I vaccum it with my powered gravel vac without pulling the sand into the vaccum? Also, much of my beneficial bacteria is in my gravel. What happens to that bacteria in a sand tank?
 
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