Sand Substrate

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by AquariumNoob1988, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. AquariumNoob1988

    AquariumNoob1988Valued MemberMember

    Hi im getting ready to set my 29 gallon tank up fishless cycling and ive been looking into sand i was wondering does it really form toxic gas? or is this a myth if so how much do i put in to avoid that? and how do i clean it and by clean it do i have to take out all decorations everytime i do a vacuum sweep or just vacuum around them in the dead spots any advice would be appreciated thank you
  2. Calum98

    Calum98Valued MemberMember

    Ive never heard about the sand being toxic at all but maybe someone else can help you with that, with cleaning the sand, with my tank most of the waste just sits on the surface of the sand so holding the syphon about half an inch above the sand will pick up the waste while leaving the sand. And for dead spots just gently raking the sand with your hand should be enough, normally when doing a water change I go around the decorations but I have a couple placed where the current doesn't get into so a lot of waste builds up,(mainly under the slates) so for that I just gently move them and get underneath and around it.
    Here's what the waste looks like.

  3. Aludar

    AludarValued MemberMember

    Just putting what I've read out there but the toxicity relating to sand is a gas buildup (sulfurous?) from undisturbed sand of usually 3" or more, easily avoidable with snails or raking your sand occasionally to aerate it.

  4. Mom2some

    Mom2someWell Known MemberMember

    I have read here that the toxic pockets can happen (personal stories people have occasionally shared here). However the general consensus seems to be that it only occurs if your sand is deeper than 2" or so. Aquaphobia may be able to answer better. Good luck!
  5. tyguy7760

    tyguy7760Fishlore VIPMember

    Agreed with what others have said. As long as your layer of sand isn't very thick, you shouldn't need to worry about toxic gas build up. Fish like kuhli loaches, cories, snails, or larger catfish will help sift your sand and you can always run your fingers through like Mom2some suggested if you are really worried about it.
  6. Gena

    GenaWell Known MemberMember

    IMO, people get too worked up about gas pockets and sand. Unless the sand is overdone(like three inches thick) and never tended to, it's not a pressing concern. I'm sure toxic gas pockets have happened but to me it's like not using air travel because sometimes planes have accidents. The chances of it happening are insignificant compared to the positives of the thing.

    The way I clean my sand is I stir it up and use a shrimp net to catch the puffer poops and leftover snail shells and such. This displaces a lot of sand so I end up using my hands to move it around and even it out at the end.
  7. LandosWell Known MemberMember

    I have sand in two tanks, and I see the occasional sand bubble. Never had anything bad happen, I used to grab a chop stick and poke around during water changes. Now I have mts snails
  8. Silister Trench

    Silister TrenchWell Known MemberMember

    I just redid a tank that had 4-5 inches black natural geographic sand at it's highest point. Now it was only set up for a year, and I never worried about this "deathly pocket of gas" until way 7 months or so into it well after the initial pockets of air weeks after start up were gone.

    I worriedly drove a shishkabab stick into the substrate all over and maybe... Just maybe? Had some of the tiniest bubbles escape that depth. I've read about this death pocket quite a few times. If you're worried prod away for pockets of gas once in a while. I honestly think to have a toxic plume of death gas would require low filtration, very fine sand - the fine you kill your plants roots in - and maybe a little bit of neglect here and there over the course of a long time.

    It's not something you should really worry too much about. Just poke around in the deepest parts once in a while and I'm sure you'll be fine. Just my opinion.
  9. OP

    AquariumNoob1988Valued MemberMember

    thank you for the help i am only honna be using a layer of about 1.5" black sand that i got from pet i purchased a 20 pound bag and 2 ten pound bags
  10. OP

    AquariumNoob1988Valued MemberMember

    ok so i went and got 30 pounds worth of sand is this brand ok? image
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  11. Aludar

    AludarValued MemberMember

    That stuff is fine, be prepared for a proper rinsing and a 'bubbling' effect from that sand though. As people have mentioned on here it sometimes forms pockets of air/sand bubbles when rinsing that require popping or just sifting them out of your tank...eventually if left alone they'll disperse by themselves though. Be wary of your filter though.
  12. OP

    AquariumNoob1988Valued MemberMember

    i will be sure to stir my finger through the substrate side to side after i add 50% of the water to be safe and i also purchased one of those sponges that goes on the filter intake of the AquaClears to prevent any really small fish or sand from getting sucked into it to be on the safe side
  13. OP

    AquariumNoob1988Valued MemberMember

    Its coming along so far just gotta wash the sand and i should be good to go image
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018

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