Sand with gravel cleaner

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Linconooni

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Apr 4, 2020
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Hi there 👋🏽

I’m just in the process of upsizing my tank. I’d like to use a white sand type substrate but will I be able to use a gravel cleaner with it? Or will there be no need due to the fine particle size not allowing crud to fall between - and will it discolour over time ? Its a freshwater tropical tank.
 

dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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You should still be able to use a gravel vac/cleaner with sand substrate though it's a bit of a learning curve. Many people slightly pinch the hose to allow the sand to drop back down into the tank.

White substrate doesn't always stay pristine white usually due to algae or diatoms so your mileage may vary.
 

FreshyFresh

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Any white or very light colored substrate will darken to an earth tone green/brown. You can use a gravel vac by just kind of swirling it an inch or two from the surface of the sand, but it's a pain and you will suck up some sand which doesn't fare well with your plumbing if that's where you're dumping the water.

Everyone has their preference in regards to substrate choice and some critters are designed for it, but I won't use it again.
 

the loach

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Aug 6, 2018
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I know many folks like white sand for the look, but it's one of the worst choices for a substrate. It's terrible to vacuum, crud will still get in it, too tight for plants, high risk for anaerobic areas and some fish will not show their colors well with very light colored substrates.
 

Linconooni

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That’s a great help actually folks thank you, I’ve changed my mind now as I’ve also thought what if it damages over time the propeller for the filter.

currently I’ve got a pleasant various shades of blue small gravel 2-3mm ish so I might just get more of that.

I got a 2nd hand tank today a juwel vision 180 -good job I water tested it first as there is slight beading / leaking on the bottom silicant. So that’s the first job 🤪
 
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dudley

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I use a fine 'sand' substrate in all my tanks and just keep the filter intake high enough off the bottom so it has less of a chance of ingesting it.

How about a mix of white, tan, and black sand or whatever combination appeals to you? There won't be just white and might look more natural.

Congrats on the 'new' to you tank pickup!
 
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Amazoniantanklvr

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Feb 26, 2020
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I use a gravel vac with sand. I don't have any issues. I can even stick the tube in the sand and it doesn't suck anything up.
 

CichlidFins

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I know many folks like white sand for the look, but it's one of the worst choices for a substrate. It's terrible to vacuum, crud will still get in it, too tight for plants, high risk for anaerobic areas and some fish will not show their colors well with very light colored substrates.
Is pool filter sand a suitable choice for lite colored sand since its meant for water to pass through?
 
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the loach

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I use a gravel vac with sand. I don't have any issues. I can even stick the tube in the sand and it doesn't suck anything up.
What is the grain size, there is quite a difference between fine sand and coarse sand. Coarse sand you can vacuum but it's typically not white.

Is pool filter sand a suitable choice for lite colored sand since its meant for water to pass through?
Yes, if you have the right grain size (there are several different pool filter "sands"), what you want is ±2mm to 3mm grain size.
 
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Amazoniantanklvr

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What is the grain size, there is quite a difference between fine sand and coarse sand. Coarse sand you can vacuum but it's typically not white.
true. I have coarse black.
 
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