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 What's the best substrate?

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Jane.Dempsey



Posts : 3
Join date : 2011-09-14
Location : Springfield

PostSubject: What's the best substrate?   Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:49 am

I'm a newb to the aquatic hobby scene and have an empty 55 gal complete set up with everything but the "fun" stuff like a substrate, decorations, and of course the fish, etc. I'm wanting to go with a South/Central American Cichlid tank. Love cubans, texans, managuense, jack dempsey (of course), frontosa, red terror. And a few randoms like peacock bass and really pretty catfish. I had a vision of doing Cubans (or Texas or maybe black/white convicts) and another really colorful cichlid, black tahitian moon sand, and really light colored wood and rocks. What's the best substrate for these types of fish, and where's the best/cheapest place to get it? I went to The Wet Spot in Portland on Friday and they had Black Tahitian Moon Sand (so pretty and shiny!) for $2/lb. And I'm assuming I would need at least 50 lbs. so that could get spendy. Any suggestions on a substrate or anything?
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Syklyd
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Title : I am the Walrus.

Posts : 213
Join date : 2011-06-26
Age : 39
Location : Eugene, OR

PostSubject: Re: What's the best substrate?   Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:27 am

Tahitian Moon is a favorite of mine. I use it in a tank with Firemouths, Honduran Red Points, and Rainbow cichlids. Their colors really pop. $2 a lb though, is about twice what you'd pay most places. A 20lb bag of it from Petco online, is $17.99 right now, though there may be a hefty shipping charge. Your local Petco or Petsmart probably carries it for about that price though. I haven't seen it much cheaper, as it is an expensive specialty sand wherever you find it.
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Jane.Dempsey



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Join date : 2011-09-14
Location : Springfield

PostSubject: Re: What's the best substrate?   Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:30 pm

Okay if I were to get half tahitian moon half black rock would that complicate the cleaning process? I think it might be interesting to see different textures combined. Or maybe a different colored sand? Would two different types of media have an effect on the fish?
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Syklyd
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Title : I am the Walrus.

Posts : 213
Join date : 2011-06-26
Age : 39
Location : Eugene, OR

PostSubject: Re: What's the best substrate?   Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:04 pm

LOL

That is precisely what I have in my tank. My tank is heavily planted as well (my cichlids are plant friendly), so that means less cleaning of the substrate. But the parts I do clean, I basically have to wave my gravel vac/water changer over, kicking up the debris trapped underneath. Burying the vac in the mix as you would with gravel will just suck out all your sand. My fish love the mix, and have built spawning pits just fine in it, so it must not be too bad! I once tried mixing some lava rock colored eco-complete substrate with a tan sand, and it just made the sand look like it was dirty even though it wasn't. The black on black has a really nice look to it, and brings out the colors of everything else in the tank much more. White on white would look nice too, but I would imagine it would drown out colors, and show dirt more.

The most important thing to keep in mind if mixing like that, is to evenly mix the substrates together prior to putting them in the tank. Do not put gravel down, and then a layer of sand over it. Doing that creates the perfect conditions for food & waste to get trapped under the sand layer, which can decompose over time and create pockets of gas deadly to fish when they make their way through the sand. Even with a gravel/sand mix, you need to be sure and stir the substrate up every so often to break up any air pockets where the gas might form.
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Sprwoman



Posts : 11
Join date : 2011-08-02

PostSubject: Re: What's the best substrate?   Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:56 am

With my sand tanks I use the gravle vac and bucket to drain (instead of my python) but keep a thumb over the end to regulate the flow so that the sand isnt sucked out. Takes a little practice to not make a serious mess xD but I'm used to it.
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