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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys just wanted to say something for people looking to use play sand or who might use it. I would usually use pool filter sand but all my hardware store had was play sand. Anyways I've heard bad things about play sand and how it clouds up water and all that, but it wasnt the case for me I rinsed it on and off for about an hour and put a few spoonfuls in to make sure it wasn't too dirty still and it wasnt. So I put the rest in there expecting a bunch of cloudiness but to my surprise it was still pretty clear. I'm sure it was because I rinsed the heck out of it. But I'm sure it gets its bad rep because it doesn't get rinsed thoroughly. That's my point. Rinse the heck out of it. This pic is 5 minutes after I put the sand in

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Right, there is no requirement for grain size on play sand, so it may be too fine or you may get lucky and get a sand with the larger 20 grain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ah okay. Now you say something James it was packing together in the bucket. I'll see how it goes for a while I did "sift" a lot of the smaller stuff out like dust, dirt and small particles
 

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There's a lot of reasons to not like sand really, but especially getting into filters (unavoidable) and the weight when you have a lot of it. The only positive for sand is if you happen to like its aesthetics, but I don't think it really goes well with most rocks and decor appropriate for cichlid tanks anyway.

Small river rocks and pebbles + shells and larger rocks seem to work best for african tanks. Fry love to hide in the little crevices and some of the adults love to push around small items to build little castles to live in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Honestly the only reason I went with sand is because I love watching them move it around. And as far as I know that is closest to their natural habitat. If my lfs wasn't such a joke and run down place I probably would have got some smaller gravel as well. I went in a few days ago and I promise you EVERY tank had a major ich infestation they keep the tanks at 72 degrees and last time I got gravel from there it was full of little red ants. And for the filter I'm not too worried. It'll give me a reason to upgrade
 

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Agree, the fish like to sift the sand through their gills and spew it over the rocks. If you get the 20 grain or larger PFS there is no problem getting the heavier sand in the filters.
 

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Mbuna freak said:
last time I got gravel from there it was full of little red ants.
Laughing my butt off...

I was wondering how a fish store can be run down, but if there's ants in the gravel that is pretty awful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cyphro said:
Mbuna freak said:
last time I got gravel from there it was full of little red ants.
Laughing my butt off...

I was wondering how a fish store can be run down, but if there's ants in the gravel that is pretty awful!
Yeah it is bad. Probably had some health code violations as well.
 

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Cyphro said:
There's a lot of reasons to not like sand really, but especially getting into filters (unavoidable) and the weight when you have a lot of it. The only positive for sand is if you happen to like its aesthetics, but I don't think it really goes well with most rocks and decor appropriate for cichlid tanks anyway.

Small river rocks and pebbles + shells and larger rocks seem to work best for african tanks. Fry love to hide in the little crevices and some of the adults love to push around small items to build little castles to live in.
A pound of rocks is the same as a pound of sand. Not sure what you mean by it weighing a lot when you have a lot of it :)

I have both now and the fish don't seem to mind either. I went with PFS because it was a lot cheaper(100 pounds for 22 bucks) vs the gravel from the pet store (5 bucks for 5 pounds). The fish in my gravel lined tank seem to enjoy it and the biggest one has built himself a little wall under a rock so he has a cave with only 1 entrance/exit now! The ones with the sand though seem to really enjoy digging in it
 

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I give the slight edge to pool filter sand over play sand, but on occasion when not available I have gone with play sand and it was not the end of the world for me.
 

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JoshMKB24 said:
Cyphro said:
There's a lot of reasons to not like sand really, but especially getting into filters (unavoidable) and the weight when you have a lot of it. The only positive for sand is if you happen to like its aesthetics, but I don't think it really goes well with most rocks and decor appropriate for cichlid tanks anyway.

Small river rocks and pebbles + shells and larger rocks seem to work best for african tanks. Fry love to hide in the little crevices and some of the adults love to push around small items to build little castles to live in.
A pound of rocks is the same as a pound of sand. Not sure what you mean by it weighing a lot when you have a lot of it :)

I have both now and the fish don't seem to mind either. I went with PFS because it was a lot cheaper(100 pounds for 22 bucks) vs the gravel from the pet store (5 bucks for 5 pounds). The fish in my gravel lined tank seem to enjoy it and the biggest one has built himself a little wall under a rock so he has a cave with only 1 entrance/exit now! The ones with the sand though seem to really enjoy digging in it
A pound of feathers takes up a lot more space than a pound of mercury. If you filled up a tank with 3 inches of mercury then that would be a tremendous amount of weight.

The sand is very tightly packed, which is bad for other reasons but especially for weight. Three inches of sand in a large tank weighs a monstrous amount of weight and it is also not easy to get out of the aquarium. At some point you will want to break down the aquarium for various reasons and then this will come back to bite you.

Even if you don't somehow, if you want to clean that packed sand well, then it is a big pain. For loose gravel and rocks you can easily get suction in there.
 

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My experience with sand vs gravel is that the sand tanks are a lot cleaner and easier to maintain than gravel tanks are. Any detritus stays on the surface of the sand and is eventually broken down and sucked into a filter or is easily removed. With gravel, that detritus gets into all the space between it and festers.

A nice shallow sand bed 1-2" thick seems to work really well. Never noticed issues with it becoming too compact, but that may be due to MTS, digging cichlids or simply running my fingers through it occasionally.

I really don't understand the weight argument.
 

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I recently switched from playsand to Caribsea moonlight sand. I had about 250lbs of playsand in my 210g tank and wish that I had never switched it out tbh.
The only issue I ever found with it was the initial rinsing, but that wasn't a big deal for me.
The new stuff I bought is even finer than the playsand.
 

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Cyphro said:
nodima said:
I really don't understand the weight argument.
You'll understand when you empty the tank to move it and have 100 pounds of sand clumped at the bottom.
BTDT. Simple matter to take a plastic shovel and scoop sand into 5 gal buckets. Have had to move a 125 off it's stand to replace a sump, not really a big deal - removing the rocks was far worse than the ~100lbs of sand.
 
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