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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After almost a year of Silica sand, I'm done with it. It looks nice when its maintained, but it takes a lot of work. The grain size is very small and its blown around very easily. This also means that detritus is covered when the sand is blown over it making pockets of hydrogen sulfide a real possibility. It's also sucked up into the python rather easily too. I gravel vac once a week, and every 3-4 days I have to push the sand back in place because the flow from my canister outflows create bare spots. I also believe after reading this article - http://www.oscarfish.com/article-home/w ... atoms.html that the silica sand is a constant source for diatom algae... which I dispise.

So I am looking for a sand, or something small grained. I was on the caribsea website earlier and they've got some nice stuff, but a lot of it isn't carried any more or its discontinued. It also doesn't state composition so I don't know if its silica based or not. I remember reading about 3m colorquartz... anyon ever tried this?

http://www.hovertrowel.com/aggregates.html

I need some feedback. Gimme pics, your experiences, grain size, composition, the works... :thumb:
 

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Pool filter sand. The brand I use is "Lighthouse" from U.S. Silica Company, Berkeley Springs WV. 800-345-6170. It's very clean out of the bag and stays in place rather nicely. I get some diatoms but I got that in every new tank including tanks with gravel.

You're always gonna siphon a little bit of sand out while cleaning but its so little you shouldn't noticed any depletion. If you do add a couple of cups of sand. Also if your outflow tubes are blowing your sand, then I would think they are positioned too low. I keep mine a few inches below the surface of the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not ruling out PFS... but since it is Silica based most of the time, I'll probably use it as a last resort. The diatom algae I am getting is driving me nuts. I keep my nitrates below 20ppm at all times, my lights are on less than 6 hours a day and I still get green spot and brown algae. After a week or so, I have to scrub it down or it's just unsightly. (It's not terrible, but with white sand and clear water it stands out to me.) I should really be able to keep it under control by managing nitrates and keeping feedings low but its not working. So I am switching. -- Sorry for the rant. Lol.

If I do go with PFS, I might try to order it online... get it from a source away from my area... maybe the composition is a bit different.
 

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Yeah I've gotten diatoms in every tank I've set up over the years with sand or gravel. It's gets bad for the first 6 months or so in my area (Lots of farms in the area ie; some nitrates in the water) but after that it settles down and I have virtually none at this point. Some little cleaning with a magnet scrubber once a month or more. I really don't think you ever get rid of it totally. I take it as something that will always be there and is part of the hobby so I've tolerated it.
 

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I also love pool filter sand (although Silica). I used to have a finer grain sand that ruined some of my HOB filters. This stuff is much better to work with!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
rgr4475 said:
Some little cleaning with a magnet scrubber once a month or more. I really don't think you ever get rid of it totally.
I should let it go a month once to see what the sides of the tank look like..... it would be disgusting.

If I could scrub once a month and be done, I'd be happy. But I have to scrub every week, all over the tank. I don't want to sound like a whiny baby pissy pants, but cmon! I plan to have this tank for a long time! :lol:
 

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I scrape algae every week. I have had diatoms with every substrate (aragonite, PFS, flourite black sand). They do eventually go away.

A little green spot on the glass is sort of a given when you have a planted tank. Better that than many other types of algae.
 

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More thoughts...

Sunlight can promote Diatoms. You might want to consider placement of the tank if it recieves light from the windows.

Also Overfeeding is a major issue with Diatoms. Make sure you have a good food,(I use NLS )and feed fish sparingly.

Magnetic 2 piece glass cleaners come in different sizes, are less than $25, and I can clean the whole front and sides of a 125 gallon tank in 2-3 minutes.

Don't get sand caught in these as it WILL scratch your glass.
 

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The cichlids I keep like to sift sand through their gills and spit it all over the tank.

The lowest maintenance substrate I've used is Red Sea Reef Base. Aragonite spheres in a sand-beige color about the size of non-pareils. Very easy to vacuum but the fish can enjoy it like sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
DJRansome said:
The cichlids I keep like to sift sand through their gills and spit it all over the tank.

The lowest maintenance substrate I've used is Red Sea Reef Base. Aragonite spheres in a sand-beige color about the size of non-pareils. Very easy to vacuum but the fish can enjoy it like sand.
Do you know the grain size at all? The caribsea website has aragonite sand I can get... I would just like to know what a good size is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Floridagirl said:
More thoughts...

Sunlight can promote Diatoms. You might want to consider placement of the tank if it recieves light from the windows.

Also Overfeeding is a major issue with Diatoms. Make sure you have a good food,(I use NLS )and feed fish sparingly.

Magnetic 2 piece glass cleaners come in different sizes, are less than $25, and I can clean the whole front and sides of a 125 gallon tank in 2-3 minutes.

Don't get sand caught in these as it WILL scratch your glass.
Thanks. Algae elimination isn't something I am new to. The tank is on the furthest most wall from my windows... it does recieve some ambient light, but not enough to make a difference.

I don't overfeed. Plain and simple.

I won't use a magfloat in that tank... the sand is too light and like you said, if it gets between the glass and the float.... big scratches.

I've also run a UVS on this tank.... believe me people, I've exhausted my options. I'm switching substrates! :lol:
 

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Pool filter sand is 20. I think I would want something the same or larger.

The Reef Base is not a sand...it really is spheres. Size and shape of non-pareils.
 

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I have used 3M Colorquartz in all my tanks for the last 3 years!!! That stuff is awesome!!! I never had a problem with it at all. I had the T- grade in black which is a little larger in grain size than the S grade which is more similar go sand. It's more dense than sand so vacuuming was very easy. If you can find it in your area then get as much as you can het your hands on because you will never want to use another substrate again!!
 
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