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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thinking about using sand in a 10gallon aquarium as I really love how it looks. However, I'm not really sure about it in terms of what's good, what's bad, etc. I've looked around and found that actual aquarium sand at pet stores is ridiculously expensive and have seen people say you can use pool filter sand instead. Is this okay? And if so, how well does using sand work with plants? Can you use it with plants or do you need to use something else? If you need something else, what should I use and how would I go about it? I've also heard a lot about anaerobic bacteria, which I'm scared of getting. How likely is this to happen? I've heard stirring it up once a month will prevent it, but would stirring it somehow mess up other parts of the aquarium (such as plants) or harm the fish by getting sand everywhere? Do you need to be sure to stir absolutely every inch of the sand up thoroughly? The fish I intend to have with it would just be cardinal tetras and guppies. Is using sand okay with these types of fish?

Also, would my filter be okay with sand or would I need something else? I have an Aqua-tech 5-15 gallon filter that hangs over the side.
 

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Sand will be just fine in a freshwater aquarium, and fine with plants. Pool filter sand can be used, and even play sand, just make sure it's washed thoroughly before you use it. If you want to keep plants that are root feeders (amazon swords, crypts, most stem plants) you'll want to add some fertilizer tabs so the plants get their required nutrients. Some commercial available aquarium sands also exist, but as you say, they can be expensive.

You can avoid the buildup of dangerous bacteria in the sand bed when you do water changes. Move your gravel vac in a circular motion about 3-4" above the bed enough to gently stir the sand. This also has the benefit of removing some of the uneaten food and detritus from the sand. I'd stir it more than once per month, though, more like every week at each water change.

Your filter should be okay so long as you take care to avoid stirring up tons of sand into your impeller when doing maintenance (i.e unplug it when your messing about). The fish you want are fine with sand also. I think sand bottom tanks can look awesome, good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sand will be just fine in a freshwater aquarium, and fine with plants. Pool filter sand can be used, and even play sand, just make sure it's washed thoroughly before you use it. If you want to keep plants that are root feeders (amazon swords, crypts, most stem plants) you'll want to add some fertilizer tabs so the plants get their required nutrients. Some commercial available aquarium sands also exist, but as you say, they can be expensive.

You can avoid the buildup of dangerous bacteria in the sand bed when you do water changes. Move your gravel vac in a circular motion about 3-4" above the bed enough to gently stir the sand. This also has the benefit of removing some of the uneaten food and detritus from the sand. I'd stir it more than once per month, though, more like every week at each water change.

Your filter should be okay so long as you take care to avoid stirring up tons of sand into your impeller when doing maintenance (i.e unplug it when your messing about). The fish you want are fine with sand also. I think sand bottom tanks can look awesome, good luck!
Thanks. What are the fertilizer tabs exactly? Can I easily find them at a place like Petsmart? The plants I wanted to keep would be some things like Amazon Swords and Java Fern, possibly some other stuff, so I probably should find somewhere to get fertilizer tabs. Also, roughly how much do they cost? Are they expensive and how often do you need to use them? Sorry to ask so many questions, I just don't want to get into this if it's going to end up being a problem in the end.

I was planning on unplugging the filter for that sort of thing anyway. Seemed sort of like common sense. I was more just worried that it would somehow mess with the sand.

Thankyou though.
 

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The tabs usually run about $7-$8 dollars for 10 tablets. You want to use a tablet for each 4-6" of sand surface. For a 10 gallon you'd want about 4-5 tabs. They need to be replaced ~ 3 months.

I would recommend Flourish tabs like this link. But any comparable product should work fine. I'm not sure if they are available at Petsmart.

Your swords will definitely need the tabs. Java Fern shouldn't be planted in the substrate at all and should instead be tied to a piece of rock or driftwood with fishing line, etc. Whichever plants you end up buying just make sure you look them up online first and don't fall for the non-aquautic plants (usually sold in plastic tubes) from Petsmart, etc. This way you can also avoid plants that require high lighting or special care. Here's a good list of non aquatic plants you want to avoid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The tabs usually run about $7-$8 dollars for 10 tablets. You want to use a tablet for each 4-6" of sand surface. For a 10 gallon you'd want about 4-5 tabs. They need to be replaced ~ 3 months.

I would recommend Flourish tabs like this link. But any comparable product should work fine. I'm not sure if they are available at Petsmart.

Your swords will definitely need the tabs. Java Fern shouldn't be planted in the substrate at all and should instead be tied to a piece of rock or driftwood with fishing line, etc. Whichever plants you end up buying just make sure you look them up online first and don't fall for the non-aquautic plants (usually sold in plastic tubes) from Petsmart, etc. This way you can also avoid plants that require high lighting or special care. Here's a good list of non aquatic plants you want to avoid.
How exactly do you use those? Do you just put them on top of the sand? Under it? Or you just drop them in wherever?

I do know that java ferns aren't planted, just tied to a rock or the like. I more was just rambling off that I was most likely going to use amazon swords with it. Thankyou for the list though, I've had a somewhat hard time finding a website that has a nice list of plants with pictures and I like how that site has categories that shows easy plants.
 

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You'll want to bury those tabs in the sand near where you have your swords growing. PlantGeek has been a long time friend for me. Good luck, and I'd love to see some pictures when you finish setting your tank up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You'll want to bury those tabs in the sand near where you have your swords growing. PlantGeek has been a long time friend for me. Good luck, and I'd love to see some pictures when you finish setting your tank up!
Makes sense. So you just bury them again in about three months around where the bottom of the plant is as well?

It won't be for at least another month, I'm just trying to get everything in order now before I go and buy it and waste the money.
 
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