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Tazz Knight

Gravel Vs Sand

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I am not sure if I am posting this in the right place, but here goes it.

I have a few tanks that I experimented with(tropical tanks). I have black sand in there and it seemed to be good for the fish and the plants. I never tried it with goldfish before. I know that Goldies love to forage through the gravel looking for the "food that got away" from the earlier assualt. Would sand be an issue with goldfish? Has anyone had any experience with this...I ask cause I am moving the few tropical fish I have into a smaller tank(I used to have 10 in a 20 gallon and now I have only 3 left) so I think I will place them in my QT 10 gallon tank. That way I will have a 20 gallon tank to move my goldie fry into as they are starting to get big in their 2.5 gallon tank. Any suggestions...I dont want my fry to have issues witht eh sand in the tank I am going to be moving them to in a few weeks.

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There is debate as to weather sand is safe to use with goldfish or not. Here's an old thread about it, you can see how the two schools differ on the subject.

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/73377-experiences-with-sand-irritating-gills/page__p__812035__hl__sand__fromsearch__1entry812035

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I agree. It's hotly debated, with both sides *sure* that they are right.

The best thing you can do is read through the thread and make your own decision.

To be fair, that thread was started by a troublemaker. And it got VERY heated VERY fast. So take it all with a grain of salt. ;)

Edited by ryukin girl

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Thank you two for the fast responses and link...I will read it...I will probably just have to take all the sand out the tank and have a gravelless tank for my goldfish fry...will keep you posted...just looking ahead...got at least 2-3 weeks...I wanted to use that tank because its is already cycled and ready to go..with plants in it that the goldies cold nibble on

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I have a thin layer of course playground type sand, maybe 3/8ths of an inch thick on the bottom of my 100G tall show tank in the living room.

It's well stocked & been running 5 years witth fat happy healthy GF in it.

The sand has never irritated gills, nor been any problem at all.

Matter of fact, the GF spend about 25% of there time foraging in it for leftovers from feeding time.

IMHO, sand is better than gravel, because it has less void space than gravel.

So, leftover food pretty much stays on top the sand, where fish can find & eat it.

With gravel, food can sink into it & rot, if not vac'ed often.

I also believe a mixed sand adds micro/macro mineral trace elements, which gives you better water chemistry.

Not to mention, most sand has some calcium carbonate in it, which buffers pH.

Also, from time to time here, you see a 911 post RE: a piece of gravel stuck in a GF's mouth.

Which doesn't happen with sand.

I have seen fancy GF that spend summers in outdoor ponds, forage in mud/silt/sand on a pond bottom, creating a cloud of muddy/turdid water around them.

But, they kept right on foraging right there.

That did not seem to me to irritate their gills, otherwise they would not continue doing it.

I also don't care for a BB tanks looks & a thin layer of sand gives a tank a more natural look IMHO.

In nature, GF will suck in sand & blow it out their gills, to clean them, or to remove debris, or parisites attached to gills.

But, we all have our own train of thought on the subject of sand as a substrate.

Go with what you think best.

My tanks have drilled overflow bulkheads about 5 inches below the water line, so getting sand in my W/D T/F filter system was never an issue.

If you run a powerfull canister filter, keep the intake as far away from the sand, as possible.

As sand will damage a pump impeller & plug a cannister filter, if allowed to suck it up.

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Their are good arguments for both sides. Gravel will be unlikely to get in the gills, whereas I have seen sand-irritated gills before, where coarse sand has become lodged between the gill filaments. But sand has less 'fill space' and hence debris is less likley to lodge itself in their to decompose. I have also heard on occasion, goldfish may swallow a peice of gravel and choke, where as sand does not allow this. Some goldfish also seem to enjoy taking a mouthful of sand and 'blowing' it through the gills, perhaps to clean them? Because of this I offer my fish a small amount of fine sand in a dish every week or so, and they usually end up doing afew 'sand blasts' before losing interest.

I have to be honest and say I use neither sand nor gravel for substrate anymore. I use small smooth pebbles called 'river pebbles' our local $2 shop stocks in the goldfish tank. Their all natural, no dyes that can leak into the water or anything. I do this because the coarse sand had caused problems with gills in my fish with the out-turned gill covers and plates, and my fish will pick up gravel in their mouths and shift it to a corner of the tank. The shifting is annoying, but the danger of them choking on a peice made me change the substrate. This way (with the pebbles) they can't shift the rocks with their mouths, though they can push them around to forage, and I don't have to worry about sand. The only issue is I have to do a quick siphon for debris every day, otherwise it gets between the rocks and decays. Plants root well in it, their roots will spread through all the gaps between the pebbles and tap into any debris I may have missed. It offers an interesting texture to the tank floor too, and the java moss spreads all through it through the gaps.

I suggest finding a happy medium between the two (sand/gravel) and going for 'fine gravel' it's about as large as coarse sand, but offers the weight and reduced lack of accidental inhalation that gravel gives. You should get the best of both worlds.

A finer point is whatever substrate works for you in your tanks is a good one, regardless of other's opinions.

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Their are good arguments for both sides. Gravel will be unlikely to get in the gills, whereas I have seen sand-irritated gills before, where coarse sand has become lodged between the gill filaments. But sand has less 'fill space' and hence debris is less likley to lodge itself in their to decompose. I have also heard on occasion, goldfish may swallow a peice of gravel and choke, where as sand does not allow this. Some goldfish also seem to enjoy taking a mouthful of sand and 'blowing' it through the gills, perhaps to clean them? Because of this I offer my fish a small amount of fine sand in a dish every week or so, and they usually end up doing afew 'sand blasts' before losing interest.

I have to be honest and say I use neither sand nor gravel for substrate anymore. I use small smooth pebbles called 'river pebbles' our local $2 shop stocks in the goldfish tank. Their all natural, no dyes that can leak into the water or anything. I do this because the coarse sand had caused problems with gills in my fish with the out-turned gill covers and plates, and my fish will pick up gravel in their mouths and shift it to a corner of the tank. The shifting is annoying, but the danger of them choking on a peice made me change the substrate. This way (with the pebbles) they can't shift the rocks with their mouths, though they can push them around to forage, and I don't have to worry about sand. The only issue is I have to do a quick siphon for debris every day, otherwise it gets between the rocks and decays. Plants root well in it, their roots will spread through all the gaps between the pebbles and tap into any debris I may have missed. It offers an interesting texture to the tank floor too, and the java moss spreads all through it through the gaps.

I suggest finding a happy medium between the two (sand/gravel) and going for 'fine gravel' it's about as large as coarse sand, but offers the weight and reduced lack of accidental inhalation that gravel gives. You should get the best of both worlds.

A finer point is whatever substrate works for you in your tanks is a good one, regardless of other's opinions.

Do you have any pictures of your tank?

And thank you, OLDFISH...if it wasnt fry, I would definitely give the sand a try...but with them being small....I dont want to get it logged in their lil' mouths

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Sorry about the long reply time!

I don't have a photo of the current set up, as I am still constructing it (waiting for the java moss to spread, and all plants to establish and grow) but I'll take afew pics tomorrow of it and post them up for you.

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Sorry about the long reply time!

I don't have a photo of the current set up, as I am still constructing it (waiting for the java moss to spread, and all plants to establish and grow) but I'll take afew pics tomorrow of it and post them up for you.

kewl, i look forward to seeing them

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