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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am sure that has been discussed before, so you can just give me some links if you prefer.

I am most probably setting 15 or 20 g tank during next few days. I always thought gravel was best, but after some chatting and reading I am considering sand now.

The tank will be heavily planted with snails, shrimps and fish and most probably aqua clear 30.
I find it difficult to do good vacuuming and maintanance of a planted tank with gravel, it is a pain to move around plants, etc. So sand might be the better choice, but I have no experience with sand.

Please, give your opinion.

Thanks!
 

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If your tank is truly going to be heavily planted, how will you vacuum the substrate? Or will it only be heavily planted in one area, like the back? One thing that I've seen people to is to use dividers to create an open area in the front, and have the substrate of choice (ADA, Florabase, etc) in the back and white sand in the front. That keeps the front easy to clean and the back easy to plant with a nutrient rich substrate.

Why do you think that sand would be easier? You won't be able to vacuum at all since all the sand will be sucked up, and any moving of the plants will stir up a sandstorm which will be sucked up into your filters. I would have thought that one would use sand (that's what I'm planning to do) if they are not planning on having a heavily planted tank. Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding your intentions?
 

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I like sand. it doesn't let the dirt or waste sink through it, meaning you can see exactly whats in the tank. It also anchors plants really well. Once I added white sand to my tank my fish looked so mouch better. Their colors really popped against the white.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
2wheelsx2, you understood me right. This is what I saw thinking as well, that sand is too light to be vacuumed :(
So, how do people vacuum/clean the planted tanks?
What I had so far were always planted tanks with a lot of stem plants, I don't like moss.
Instead of using big vacuum tubes I use small like air tubes or someting and put a piece of sock, so I don't suck the gravel in. It takes forever, so I do it once a month or something like that. I always had snails and algae eaters to do part of the job for me :)

Recently I am reading lots of people with planted tanks use sand and they say it's better.

target, so how you do the vacuuming/maintaining?
 

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with sand you definately need a good maintnence crew, tons of shrimpes or some cory dora's, they'll disturb any debris to allow it to float towards the filter intake. You notice quickly dead zones with sand. I'd personally stay away with fine sand, my tank it tahitian moon and it was really fine at first, but over the years most of the really fine sand has sunk or been sucked up by the filter, leaving a bit coarser grain.

As for planting, i find stems to be difficult if they don't have roots yet, and for heavily rooted plants to move, its a nightmare to get most of the roots down in the substrate again. Plus if you use a heated substrate, you'll get better nutrient circulation with fine gravel, making water column dosing more effective (won't likely need to tab heavy root plants)

yea it sucks to vacuum so you need a small fluval vac or somethign with not much suction. also don't mix the two, they look great for a while, but when they blend, the beach look ends up getting ruined
 

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All I do when I vacuum my tank is to hover the nozzle of my python above the sand. You can suck up the gunk without disturbing the sand too much. You will pull up a little bit, but not enough that I worry about it. And if you are worried about dead spots in the sand, every now and then just use your hand to stir it up.
 
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