Debating Sand

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NoodleCats

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I run play sand in all of my tanks, fine stuff too. But to avoid compaction I welcome Malaysian trumpet snails.
I keep a lot of fish that benefit from sands, or sift sand through the gills while foraging (corydoras, plecos, pangio genus loaches, hoplo cats, etc)
For vacuuming, hover the siphon an inch or so above the sand, since debris sits on top of the sand rather than sinking into it. It sucks right up.
 
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railer20

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So, how do you like the Torpedo Beach?

Oddly enough I have it in a number of tanks, but I have not tried planting in it. I have potted planted and those attached to wood or rocks only in sand bottom tanks. (So far.)

I remove sand and gravel most times by siphoning it out. Tis often involves refilling the tank with water along the way. Sometimes I can back some of the water I sucked out with the substrate. This will not work well as the size of the gravel gets larger. It works great for sand.
i’ve been so dang busy with work and other stuff that I honestly have not done it yet. I’ve got the bags of sand ready to go. I also ordered some decorations that are on back order until the end of March or something so I got a bit before I’ll do the change out. Gives me more time to figure out how I want to go about doing it lol
 

IceH2O

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I use black diamond blasting sand in 2 of my tanks make sure to get medium grit. It’s a black sand. It’s actually coal slag.
Its like 10 dollars for 50 lbs. you wan to try and get 3 inches deep worth. There are substrate calculators online.
The stems do great as mostly they take ferts through the water column but you can also add root tabs if you want to help feed through the roots.
it doesn’t compact as easily pool sand so gas pockets are less of a worry but you can help eliminate that problem by dragging a chopstick through the substrate before each water change.
 

fishorama

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Ice, I have BDBS in a tank & have used pool sand in several. I've never seen pool sand compact; play sand, yes. Not sure of BDBS, it just has plants, mostly crypts...& hair algae ;(.

Do you have bottom feeders with it? I'd love some loaches &/or catfish but have read mixed reports. I had no problems with pool sand & bottom dwellers. I need some fish in there soon! It was set up a few months before Covid...& mostly ignored, sigh.
 

IceH2O

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I don’t but I know others that do. Blasting sand is less sharp then even pool sand though.
 

fishorama

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Not less sharp from my fingers' feel but I appreciate your input, thanks! Mine is medium grit too, maybe 2.5 -3 inches deep. I'm less worried about compaction than roughness. I like the black color, not sure about the shininess...

Sorry to go on a slight tangent, railer. I'd love to see your Torpedo Beach when you get to it :)
 
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Many years ago I got some black blasting sand made from slag. I never used it as I felt it was too sharp. I ended up throwing it out. maybe I got too fine a sand.

The thing about sand or gravel is haw smooth or edged it is. For pool use they want the edges. As the sand tumbles in the filter it gets smoother until it stops working well and must be replaced.

In the 70s I worked construction in Saudi Arabia. My first year I ran a large concrete batching operation- we produced about 200,000 cubic meters. I had to learn a lot about concrete fats. Basically concrete gets it's strength by mixing small particles (sand) with larger particles, aggregate, and then glues it all together using cement and water. The sand fills the smaller spaces and helps hold the stones together. When it all dries is it very solid.

In a tank something similar can happen except the is no cement. However, mixing a variety of particle sizes can compact. But using a lot of fine sand can do the same. The smoother the particle and the smaller the size, the less change there is for space between them. In concrete the space is filled with the cement sticking it all together. In a sand substrate compaction happens the smaller and smoother the sand grains.

If you co to CaribSea's site you can see the data on the Super natural Substrate. The give the sizes for the sand and gravel. Here are the sizes for the sand particles:

Moonlight- Typical Size: 0.25 – 0.75mm - Average Density: 95 pounds per cubic foot
Sunset Gold- Typical Size: 0.25 – 1.0mm - Average Density: 94 pounds per cubic foot
Crystal River- Typical Size: 0.5 – 1.0mm - Average Density: 95 pounds per cubic foot
Torpedo Beach- Typical Size: 0.5 – 2.0mm - Average Density: 94 pounds per cubic foot

The finer the sand the heavier any given volume. Pictures of them all here https://caribsea.com/freshwater-substrates/

One thing about black sand is it shows off any dirt, debris and poop on it like a neon sign.

I used the Estes Bits of Walnut, a pretty small sized gravel, in my high tech planted tank. All plants did well it it. I made the mistahe of using large sized rounded river gravel in my clown loach tank. It is almost impossible to have plants in the substrate with this. I managed to keep big swords plants though. Most of the plants were on wood or rocks. (below is a pic- it is a 75 gal tank)

 
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railer20

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I think I am finally going to give it a shot this weekend if it warms up enough for me to rinse my sand outside. Do you all just put a hose in the bottom of bucket, dump sand on top and turn water on for 15-20 min or until clear”ish”? Also here is my attempt at deco with the floor layout of cars ?. I have other fake plants to fill some spaces once it is all in. My current setup is so busy I hardly see the fish unless they are in front.

E1432504-570E-483D-8BBC-E498F3BA5BD2.jpeg
 

fishorama

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I think Torpedo Beach has nutrients/bacteria in its plastic bags, you may not want or need to rinse. You paid for those...

I like the cars! but they may be too evenly spaced for all but the most formal layout. I prefer a more asymmetrical tank
 
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railer20

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I think Torpedo Beach has nutrients/bacteria in its plastic bags, you may not want or need to rinse. You paid for those...

I like the cars! but they may be too evenly spaced for all but the most formal layout. I prefer a more asymmetrical tank
that would be sweet if I don't have to rinse! T TwoTankAmin did you rinse yours?
 
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