Aquarium Forum banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! I've purchased a 25 lb. bag of small to medium gravel at my pet store but am strongly considering adding either pool filter sand or play sand, since I will eventually add cory cats once my tank cycles. My question is should I place the gravel down first then a thin layer of sand on top for the cories? Or would it be better to mix it up? Which way would be easiest to clean and help out my filter from sucking the sand up?

I would rather not use the sand just because I'm not familiar with it in a tank, but to save the cories I'll do it :)

Oh, and my local pet store that has been around for many, many years told me they've NEVER heard of gravel hurting the cory barbels!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,257 Posts
Ive never had lucked with sand caps, you cant really vacuum the sand, more of a swirl or a combing will do.

My corydoras are on flourite and their barbells are huge.

I GE-1'd a hair pik to the gravel vac about 2" below the vac I set the end of the comb so it can "comb" thru the sand but again with the gravel on bottom thats nearly impossible to keep it looking nice.

You dont have to use it if you dont want to, as a first tank I wouldnt, just get the basics down first then later on do a sand tank.

for what its worth I am a big caribsea sand fan, the tahitian moon sand and the white sand are very stunning in aquariums.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks WhiteDevil. I may just stick to the gravel like you said. I looked at it again tonight, and there's some really small pieces in it, some look more on the lighter side than heavy. It may be fine to use.

I've seen the tahitian moon stuff...very nice *Glasses*
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yep, that's kind of why I'm turning away from it. Gravel seems easier to work with and since this is my first planted tank, I need to keep the process as simple as possible!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks susankat. The gravel isn't like pebbles, but it's small to very small and some pieces are really thin and light. I'll keep my fingers crossed! Thanks for all the suggestions! You've all be such a great help *w3
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,257 Posts
the sharp thing is a concern but my bottom dwellers live on flourite and frankly thats more jagged then gravel is and I have no issues. not even a shortened barbell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I just ordered a ton of stuff from Drs. Foster and Smith, which includes my heater stand, and test kit so hopefully once those are in I can start the process of cycling! I'm anxious to get everything setup and to buy my plants. It's gonna be great!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,257 Posts
you can start cycling now, im not sure why people dont use hearty fish anymore to cycle but one or two zebra danios should kick the cycle off well.


have you asked your LFS for some used gravel or sponges?


I am old school though and keep tanks now like I did back in the 80's and 90's before al gore invented the internet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I can't start cycling now without the stand...it'll be too heavy for me to lift.

It's funny you mentioned using fish...I never knew how much of a debate it is. My lfs told me to add fish, I think he mentioned zebra danios. I don't really care for them, I love the look of the celestial ones but those are way more expensive to get if there's a chance of them dying. I've done research on both methods of cycling, and sadly I think the most foolproof way for me as a beginner is going with fish. Luckily there will be plants in the tank to better help the situation *frown

I will try and persuade my lfs to give me rocks and plants from their tanks and perhaps some gravel to kick it all off *Glasses*
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,257 Posts
not their plants just a sponge or bag of gravel.

buy some plants sure or put up a want ad for low light low tech plants I am sure someone has some probably me if I do a trim.

I got long fin zebra danios and regular ones, I lost 1 out of 12 and that was to an ammonia spike, heck I cycled 3 tanks with neons and 5 with angels, the neons died at about the 3 year mark and the angels are still alive and well. The best advice I can give since its NOT cycled yet, get 4 5g buckets, fill em up, let them sit for a day then cover them with foil or plastic wrap. the water will be gassed off and pretty close to safe for the fish less conditioner at time of fill up.

I always use fish, I set the tanks up, let em run for 2 days with no lid and the filter cranking then I add the fish 2 per week for 4 weeks and by then its usually cycled.
Even offer to buy some used sponges or gravel(freshly used not dry, its gotta be moist) and put it into a mesh filter bag or one of those wedding bags of nasty candy usually sold at arts and craft stores and set it in the tank on the gravel.

Set it up, let it run for 2 days, add plants on the 3rd day and start fish on the 4th day.

This is how I personally do it with little to zero casualties. Usually if a danio dies there is something wrong with the danio lol.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,683 Posts
+1 (well aomost)

Only I add the plants during the very first tank setup. Then let it set for a week. then add fish slowly.

Also I like peat moss as the bottom layer in the substrate with sand on top.

But basically the idea of getting the plants in there before the fish is the key.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,257 Posts
Bob, thats MY method, been doing it for over 2 decades now. I did mention I was old school before I posted.

your method with peat is advanced for a planted tank. There are alot of precautions when using peat Ive found out now I only use it to make my own BW extracts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Should I add Prime water conditioner to my fresh tank water before I add any plants? Prime is what I currently use for my betta tank.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,683 Posts
Should I add Prime water conditioner to my fresh tank water before I add any plants? Prime is what I currently use for my betta tank.
NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I use no water conditioners.

The plants are many times better and more powerful than any chemicals.

Plus prime locks up oxygen and when I used it in a emergency situation on a marine tank I suffered a pH crash and have heard in FW KH can /will crash as well.


my .02
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,257 Posts
Yep. it is plant safe.

Bob plants dont absorb all of the crap from the faucet, the conditioner is meant for the fish and Ive never had a Kh or Ph crash using it for years and years. The conditioner is there to remove the hard metals and chemicals that cant be broken down any further. There is even water conditioner coming out of your tap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok good. I've read somewhere online that people said not to use it...something about the way it binds to ammonia may alter the cycling effect. I don't know. It sounded way to technical for me. I'll stick to my basics and stop trying to analyze everyone's situation *n1
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,683 Posts
Ok good. I've read somewhere online that people said not to use it...something about the way it binds to ammonia may alter the cycling effect. I don't know. It sounded way to technical for me. I'll stick to my basics and stop trying to analyze everyone's situation *n1
Let me share my experience with Prime then you decide.

I acidentally added a toxin from gloves I was wearing to my 55g mixed reef. Within hours fish were extremely stressed and in 8 hours I lost a 3 year old yellow tang. I tested the water and ammonia was off the charts. The api test kit showed a very very dark opaque green (almost black) result. A cardinal was horizontal, all fish were breathing very heavy and hardly moving.

I got most all the fish out of that tank and into a 20g and within hours things looked much better and the cardinal was vertical again.

I treated the tank per instructions with prime and pH dropped from 8.4-8.8 to 7.5 or so which is extremely low for a marine tank. With the multitest the prime did make the ammonia safe but the total ammonia was still high resulting in the same api test results.

A week later I rinsed my oyster shell filter media and in 24 hours ammonia dropped down and fill to unmeasureable levels then next day. then the nitrItes and finally nitrates eventually fell three weeks later as thepH finally returned to normal levels.

Prime, other ammonia locks, and dechlorinators lock up oxygen so when overdosed can suffocate the fish. As reflected in the pH crash in my case.

Should you not use Prime ever. Can't say that as a couple of fish i could not get out of the tank did survive my case. And the resulting ammonia was the safe locked variety. so under extreme emergencies or screw ups like I did, sure it has it's place.

But for routine planted tank operation IMHO absolutely not.

During initial setup with a heavily planted tank I get a max of .25ppm ammonia for 1 day. And little to no nitrItes that last only a day also. Plus the plants are consuming carbon dixide and returning oxygen. The opposite of my experience with prime. I do get a bump up in nitrates which lasts for 2-3 weeks as the aerobic bacteria builds up. Then nitrates drop down to unmeasureable levels as the plants run out of ammonia to consume and start consuming nitrates.

All in all chemicals are not for routine operation. Especially with tanks where plant life is balancing out and stabilizing the system.

So you decide and I hope you don't do that "beaslbob" screw up.


my .02
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So I should stick with no water conditioner for the time of cycling the tank? Let the plants do their part?

Is it best to always use gloves with cleaning the tanks? I was wondering if I need to buy some or if clean hands was ok. It's so easy to accidentally add something to the tank water without knowing :(
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top