Switching From Gravel To Sand??

  • #1
Hello, I have a 55 gallon aquarium that currently has natural river gravel in it.

It also has:
Several Anubias Nana plants
Some small drift wood
4 KuhlI loaches
3 Cory Catfish
4 Amano shrimp
1 bn Pleco
5 black skirt tetras
And 1 rainbow shark

I am currently running a canister filter (I can’t recall the brand at the moment) and a fluval c 4 filter with purigen, and quite a bit of Seachem matrix.

I bought the tank used and didn’t realize that the gravel is almost 5 inches deep!!!! There is a trim
Piece on the bottom
Of the take so it does not seem as deep.We are hopefully moving soon into our first home (we are waiting on whether they accept our offer), however I figured if we are moving it would be a good time to either change the gravel out for sand, or adjust the depth of the gravel.

I would like to in the future get more into aquatic plants, I was thinking some foreground plants and some denser background plants.

If I decide to just keep gravel I would like to remove a bunch of what’s there and add some smaller size dark gravel. Seachem’s fluorite gravel really intrigued me, but from what I understand it could be really hard on the loaches and Cory’s.

The idea of sand really interests me as well. I think it would look the best and the bottom dwellers would probably like it the best. But what’s keeping me from
That from what I have researched is:

Almost always dirty water.
Hard to vacuum
Gas pockets

So is sand as hard to upkeep as I read it is? Is there any in between substrate I missed? Also if at all possible if I went with sand I would like to use some
Of the gravel that’s in it now and then use the sand as a cap on top would that work? The gravel is heavier but it is also larger.

Thanks for the input guys

  • #2
Gas pockets shouldn't be an issue as long as the sand isn't too deep. I find vacuuming easier, although it's more of running the siphon about an inch above the sand and having the poop be sucked into the tube. No disturbing the substrate/gravel anymore! You don't even have to touch the sand itself to clean it. As long as you rinse the sand before use, dirty water shouldn't be an issue. The same thing happens with unrinsed gravel. Small pea gravel or eco complete (expensive!) could be a good in-between, but I like sand better. White sand shows algae and poop really clearly, so I'm switching to black to see if it helps at all. I don't know about capping.

  • #3
IME plants do much better in aquarium soil. I do like the look of white sand though and lots of plant people use sand. My attempt to grow plants in coarse gravel was a miserable failure. I switched that tank over to aquarium soil mixed with sand (to use up leftovers) and the plants are much better for it.
You can't cap gravel with sand. The gravel will end up on top, like nuts in muesli
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Ok thabks, so it sounds like it may not be as much of a pain as I was thinking.

I am leaning more towards going with sand however where we will be on a budget if we get he house. I like black sand the best but due to budget would play sand washed out well work?

Also I was wondering house much bio bacteria would be in my current gravel? Would it be worth saving some
In tights and leaving it in the tank for a while to let the bacteria catch up?

What do you mean by ime plants?

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