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Sand as substrate


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G'day team.

Ive just set up a 5x1.5x1.5 and have painted the bottom and back of the tank black and it looks good but im thinking about putting white sand as substrate because it looks a bit dark at the moment

Do i have to empty my tank before i add the sand or can i just switch off my filters and dump it in?

Will the fish freak out?

Currently i have about 15 venustus juvies (soon to be 6) and an 18cm leichartdi.

Powered by 2 cannister filters (both 1000l/ph) with 2x 1000l/ph power heads.

Is this adequate?

If i was to put sand as a substrate would i have to clean the tank more frequently?

How do you get the waste off the bottom of the tank without sucking up all the sand?

I ask these questions because i have built this tank into the wall so it requires effort to take the tank out and clean properly.

thanks in advanced


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I have sand in all my tanks and have no problems with it ...

Just need to siphon the top of the sand as all the crap settles on the surface ... ( Dont need to siphon the actual sand though )

Just make sure you wash it throughly as its very dirty usually, and then switch the filters off and slowly add the sand using cups or smaller buckets so as not to create too much disturbance....

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Here's my quick guide to washing sand (or crushed marble - if it is for rift lake cichlids.

1. Wash

2. Wash

3. Wash

4. Wash

5. Have a nap

6. Wash

It's VERY dirty as mcloughlin2 says. So for luck, I'd recommend one final wash.

You can add it slowly to the tank (with the filter off). Dont turn the filters off for too long though.

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If it was me, I'd take the fish out while putting the sand in, because even washed, the tank will be a bit mucky for a while. Also turn the filters off, especially if you have impellers, as the sand can get into them. After the sand has settled you should be right although sand CAN get into impellers if there is not too much between impellers and water e.g. Aquaclear hang-on.

Just siphon off the top of the sand, as said. You may find you get sand siphoned up but you can put it back in when you are done - that's what I always did.

I never had the sand too deep. 1 - 2 cm or so. Probably closer to 1 than 2, except where it made drifts.

The fish loved it but it got into too many filters and I don't use it any more.

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