Should I Switch To Sand?

KaitKat

Member
I have gravel/stones on the bottom of my 20g. I can't seem to keep the algae off the stones which then gets all over the decorations and it's driving me crazy. Could it be solved if I switch to sand?
 

Fanatic

Member
Yes, sand is much easier to keep clean.
Gravel just traps uneaten food and waste.
 

DuaneV

Member
Sand is easier in general, but if you have an algae problem you're probably lighting the tank too much.
 

yukondog

Member
Its more of a personal thing, I don't like larger stones but like the pea gravel and BDBS but switching to sand will not solve your algae problem.
 
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KaitKat

Member
DuaneV said:
Sand is easier in general, but if you have an algae problem you're probably lighting the tank too much.
It's some kind of black algae... I tried covering it with a sheet and keeping the light off for a week but that didn't make any difference
 

FriarThomasIII

Member
BettaKat said:
It's some kind of black algae... I tried covering it with a sheet and keeping the light off for a week but that didn't make any difference
What algae eaters do you have? Siamese algae eaters and amano shrimps do an excellent job of cleaning algae
 

oldsalt777

Member
BettaKat said:
I have gravel/stones on the bottom of my 20g. I can't seem to keep the algae off the stones which then gets all over the decorations and it's driving me crazy. Could it be solved if I switch to sand?
Hello Betta...

Gravel is fine for your tank. Algae is going to form on sand too. Besides, sand can compact in areas and create water chemistry problems. Plus, changing out bottom material is work and not really an answer to the algae problem. You just need to clean up the tank water. Tank problems are mostly water problems, because there's more water in the tank than anything. Gradually work up to the point you change out most of the water weekly and change the food you feed the fish to something with little or no phosphate and feed less often. Try more freeze dried and frozen foods for the fish. These steps will take a little time to work, but they'll help with the algae problem and aren't much work.

Old
 
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KaitKat

Member
FriarThomasIII said:
What algae eaters do you have? Siamese algae eaters and amano shrimps do an excellent job of cleaning algae
I don't have any- just a mystery snail. I haven't been able to find one that I like yet that I can get at a real fish store (theres only 1 near me besides petsmart/petco and I've had bad experiences with fish there). I'm too scared to get shrimp bc my tank has had a few ick issues in the past and I wouldn't want to kill the shrimp with the meds.

oldsalt777 said:
Hello Betta...

Gravel is fine for your tank. Algae is going to form on sand too. Besides, sand can compact in areas and create water chemistry problems. Plus, changing out bottom material is work and not really an answer to the algae problem. You just need to clean up the tank water. Tank problems are mostly water problems, because there's more water in the tank than anything. Gradually work up to the point you change out most of the water weekly and change the food you feed the fish to something with little or no phosphate and feed less often. Try more freeze dried and frozen foods for the fish. These steps will take a little time to work, but they'll help with the algae problem and aren't much work.

Old
I've been doing 50% water changes every week for almost 2 months now without any improvement and on the food labels, neither of them say anything about phosphate. Would it say if it was in there? I only feed them once a day too
 

oldsalt777

Member
BettaKat said:
I've been doing 50% water changes every week for almost 2 months now without any improvement and on the food labels, neither of them say anything about phosphate. Would it say if it was in there? I only feed them once a day too
Hello again Betta...

The algae is feeding off added nutrients in the water. Nutrients the fish and/or the plants aren't using. Larger water changes will remove those nutrients and you can add floating plants that will use the nutrients. Anacharis, Hornwort and Water sprite are available at most fish stores and these will help. Nitrates are many times the problem. Have you tested your water for this form of nitrogen lately? I keep larger tanks and do a minimum of 60 to 75 percent water changes roughly weekly, but I also heavily plant them with the floaters mentioned above and there's not much algae in my tanks. Some algae is natural and a sign you're keeping a healthy tank. The stuff is a great water filter and a good supplement to your fishes' diet.

Old
 

NavyChief20

Member
In addition to oldsalt777 's recommendation you might consider cutting back on the time your light is on. How long on average per day is the light on? Is the tank in a location that sunlight hits it?
 
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KaitKat

Member
NavyChief20 said:
In addition to oldsalt777 's recommendation you might consider cutting back on the time your light is on. How long on average per day is the light on? Is the tank in a location that sunlight hits it?
Sunlight never hits it (in the basement office without windows) and the tank lights are on for probably 12 hours a day- usually 9am-8/9pm or something like that.
 

DuaneV

Member
12 hours is a pretty long time. The most my lights are on is 7 hours. Every tank is different for sure, but if you aren't running hI lights, CO2 and ferting like crazy because you have fussy plants, 12 hours isn't necessary.
 
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KaitKat

Member
I think I'm going to just redo that tank- scrub down the whole thing to get rid of the algae, switch to sand, add some plants, new decorations. I've been considering it for a while and since I have the time right now, why not. Here's what I'm understanding from everyone's comments-
Sand- easier to keep clean (maybe to start I'll keep some gravel on one side to help with the bacteria growth in the sand)
Plants- get some, use up the same nutrients as algae
Light- reduce the time it's on
Food- reduce from once a day to once every other day, add freeze-dried foods
Algae eater- get one, the snail isn't enough

Should I go make an aquarium build thread for the redo journey?
 

Lunnietic

Member
What size tank is this? Like the dimensions? 20 gallons come in various shapes.
 

Mick Frost

Member
If you go with sand, I recommend using Pool Filter Sand. It's soft enough for Pygmy Corys, it fluidizes well (for avoiding H2S issues), its cheap, and it changes color if Ammonia issues are in your near future.
For Nitrate/Phosphate control you can try using "pretty Algae" like water lettuce or Marimo moss balls, or true mosses. They're all nutrient hogs.
 
  • Thread Starter

KaitKat

Member
Lunnietic said:
What size tank is this? Like the dimensions? 20 gallons come in various shapes.
20g high- 24 x 12 x 16 inches
 

Mick Frost

Member
BettaKat said:
20g high- 24 x 12 x 16 inches
Also called a 20 gallon breeder, to avoid confusing with a 20 gallon tall which is 19"ish.
 
  • Thread Starter

KaitKat

Member
Mick Frost said:
If you go with sand, I recommend using Pool Filter Sand. It's soft enough for Pygmy Corys, it fluidizes well (for avoiding H2S issues), its cheap, and it changes color if Ammonia issues are in your near future.
For Nitrate/Phosphate control you can try using "pretty Algae" like water lettuce or Marimo moss balls, or true mosses. They're all nutrient hogs.
Would this work?
 

Mick Frost

Member
Answer from Quikrete (second page of Q&A) states there are no ingredients added, it's just pure silica sand. Still, wash it well.
 

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