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Hi,

I am making two acrylic tanks and want to have a substrate in the bottom. One tank will have Corydoras and other Guppies. What I am worried about is that that substrate will scratch up the acrylic. Is there better or worse choices? I have floating plants and don't plan to plant anything into the substrate.

Any Suggestions

Thanks

Cold.
 

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No matter how hard I tried, I always managed to find swirl marks and fine scratches on my acrylic tank, regardless of what substrate I used. Just a matter of a piece of gravel/sand on your acrylic safe pad or wash mitt and there you go! The best I've used - Estes white sand, so light and "feels soft". Same with 3M colorfast sand if you can find some - they're not made anymore. Pool filter sand wasn't bad. Gravel might be good too, I don't know, never tried it in an acrylic tank. My corys enjoyed mowing through and sifting through sand, so for me it was fish first, tank second. Avoid sand blasting sand, it does feel coarser and sharp.

Maybe the best option if you don't want scratches is a bare bottom or a real fine layer of substrate.
 

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If you want to avoid acrylic scratches, the best would be to not use any of the magnetic glass cleaners. Anything that gets trapped in there and then dragged along the acrylic will scratch. If you must use sand, avoid the lighter stuff that gets blown around easily. Perhaps something coarser with a 3mm and up size.

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you can also use tiles... Cory in the wild also live in rock structure area. But like every said, all it takes is a gain of sand in your cleaner... and scratches will happen.
 

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Personally, I would not use tiles. UNLESS one regularly lifts or removes these for cleaning, lost waste/decaying food collects underneath - creating undesirable toxic bacteria and gases. Sand or gravel, on the other hand, only requires the occasional gentle stir to bring the waste (for siphoning off) and gases to the surface of the substrate.

;)

Just a thought: In theory, if one could somehow rig up an "under-gravel" filter beneath the tiles, then the undesirables could be filtered out. How effectively? Not sure. Also, the trick, of course, would be making the "raised-tile" setup look cosmetically appealing. Unless such a contraption is handled very carefully - as it will require some maintenance - there is an increased risk of scratching . . . which is in direct opposition to the original goal.
 
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