Sand with gravel cleaner

  • Get the NEW AquariaCentral iOS app --> http://itunes.apple.com/app/id1227181058 // Android version will be out soon!
Apr 2, 2002
2,569
213
66
New York
I never used sand until I got Altum Angels. I joined a site that is dedicatied to wild angels. One of the adminjstrators had a mother who worked in the wild and he often went with her. He said that the sand which most resembled what he saw where altums lived was Carib Sea Torpedo Beach. So I had to have it. Fortunately for 2 or 3 years DrsFoster&Smith (now Live Aquaria) had sales which gave free shipping, including on heavy weight items. I accumulated a lot of it.

It is a mix of grain sizes, but it is not what one would call fine. If one is not planting the substrate, then sand should be kept to a maximum depth of 1 inch, and less can work. This will minimize any chance of anaerobic issues.

As for vacuuming sand, you do not need to pinch the siphon hose. Siphon tubes come in a variety of diameters. How strongly they can suck depends om the diameter of the tube (and the hose with it). I simply switched to a smaller size siphon and have no issues. I often vaccum below the surface. It will suck in sand, but as soon as I remove the tube from in the substrate, the sand falls back out. Since I siphon into a bucket and may siphon with no plastic tube and just use the hose, I can suck up sand and not lose it. Unless there are pest snails in that removed sand it just goes back into the tank. If there are snails, I put some really hot water into the bucket to kill them, Most get flushed and the sand then goes back into the tank. Any dead snails in the returned sand become so much food for the system and will not reproduce. (I have yet to see a zombie snail.)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sprinkle

the loach

AC Members
Aug 6, 2018
1,411
681
120
That is right mixing sand with other grain sizes will help (but not avoid) anaerobic spots. But 1" is too much for sand for community fish, 1/2 an inch is enough. I still see members that use 2 to 3" for their cories and loaches.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sprinkle

Sprinkle

AC Members
Mar 21, 2020
686
119
46
UK
Camera Used
My iPad
That is right mixing sand with other grain sizes will help (but not avoid) anaerobic spots. But 1" is too much for sand for community fish, 1/2 an inch is enough. I still see members that use 2 to 3" for their cories and loaches.
True, I have like 2-3" of sand in my community tank, but its for my amazon sword 😅
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
10,449
1,197
200
SF Bay area, CA
I agree with Sprinkle, most rooted plants need at LEAST 1.5 inches of substrate to hold them down & grow well. I do the plunge to the bottom glass & quickly lift technique anywhere I don't have plant roots....not much these days, lol. My more usual sand & rooted plant siphoning is more a swirl over the surface while vacuuming.

Mixing substrate sizes can cause problems with compaction, all the smaller grains end up at the bottom, larger on top. Not much of an issue with 1/2 inch or so, but might in a deeper plant friendly depth.

I've only seen a few anaerobic pockets with fine sand but only a few ever. I hated play sand
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sprinkle
zoomed.com
hikariusa.com
aqaimports.com
Store