maintenance, care, compatibility
If you decide to choose sand as a substrate, you should carefully study all the characteristics of different species.
- River. It is used for aquariums for a very long time. Contrary to the well-established opinion about its harm, many aquarists call river sand almost the best soil for an aquarium. You can buy it at a pet store, or you can dial it yourself using two sieves – to screen out particles that are not suitable for size.
- Quartz. It is produced by crushing white quartz. The main advantage of this type is chemical resistance. Quartz sand is neutral: it does not affect water hardness. Another plus is that it neutralizes harmful substances that can form in an aquarium, such as iron oxide and manganese.
- White aragonite. This species is formed from fragments of mollusks and corals. But it is important to remember that such a soil affects the hardness of the water, so it will not work for fish that require soft water.
- The black. It contains grains of magnetite, ilmenite and hematite. It is formed as a result of natural leaching of lighter rocks. This soil is good because, like quartz sand, it does not affect the hardness of the water.
- “Live”, or marine. It is mined in the coastal strip, often closer to coral reefs. Sea sand got its name because of its extraction technology: it is packed without drying, and as a result, the microflora remains in it. Such a soil is ideal for marine aquariums.
Sandy soil needs to be prepared for laying in an aquarium. Especially if you use the river or sea sand, extracted by yourself.
With it, the risk of introducing dangerous bacteria and other microorganisms is very high. White and quartz sand, bought at the pet store, is also better to process.
First of all, the substrate must be washed. To do this, you need a plastic bucket or a deep basin. The effect will be better if you pour sand into the portions – in time, of course, longer, but the quality of washing is higher.
In the tank, the substrate is carefully rinsed under running water. Actively stir the sand with your hands or spatula.
It is necessary to do all this until the water becomes transparent.
Try not to clean the sand using household chemicals. The soil can absorb the substance and it will be extremely difficult to wash it.
But over time, in the aquarium, the tool will begin to stand out in the water and may harm the fish. Instead of chemical treatment, it is better to turn to boiling or calcining sand, which is quite realistic to accomplish on your own.
It is necessary to boil the soil for 15 minutes, stirring continuously. Sand is calcined in the oven: it is evenly distributed on a baking sheet and left for half an hour at a centigrade temperature.
Prepared sand is poured into the aquarium layers of three to five centimeters, not more.
The use of sand as a soil in an aquarium contributes to a more comfortable environment for its inhabitants and good rooting of plants. Three types of sand are used in aquariums – river, aragonite and quartz.
Many are wondering – is it possible to use quartz sand in an aquarium? In fact, quartz is silicon oxide, which does not react at all with water and has no effect on it.
It participates in the digestion of certain categories of fish, provides greater softness of water.
Only the particle size of quartz sand is important. Too fine sand sours faster and plants grow worse in it.
For the rest, quartz sand for an aquarium is an ideal and most common filler.
What color is better to choose quartz sand for the aquarium as a primer? We all came across white, black and colored sand.
Experienced aquarists say that white quartz sand for an aquarium does not create the necessary contrast with the inhabitants, which is why the fish do not stand out against its background and look somewhat amorphous.
But black quartz sand for the aquarium is a more attractive option. It does not distract attention from the fish, at the same time they look brighter and more interesting with it.
Colored sand distracts attention to itself, so you look less at the inhabitants, and more admire the bottom of the aquarium. Alternatively, you can mix the colors of the sand.
For example, a black and white combination looks quite harmonious.
Regardless of whether you used black, white or colored sand as a primer, you need to keep an eye on it and clean it periodically. For this purpose, a siphon is used – a hose in which a vacuum is created, thanks to which dirt is sucked out of the aquarium together with some part of the water.
Clean the sand at the bottom of the aquarium should be as it is polluted. Avoid stagnant debris on the bottom, because in this case ammonia can form, which has a detrimental effect on the fish.
Sand for an aquarium is one of the most popular types of soil involved in creating an aquarium landscape. Regardless of which type the aquarium belongs to – freshwater, reef or sea – the sand will organically fit into any design.
Perfect soil – coarse dark river sand
In addition to the decorative function, it plays the role of a nutrient substrate for aquatic plants, and also serves as a haven for useful aquarium microflora. Some time after the launch of the aquarium, the sand becomes a real biological environment, continuously engaged in waste management and thus creates favorable conditions for the development of plants.
What soil is needed for an aquarium? It is recommended to use for a freshwater aquarium, for example, black, gray or white large river sand, building sand, small pebbles or run-in gravel.
More specifically, the size of the grains of sand should vary between 2-3 mm. Pebbles for the aquarium may be larger – 2-8 mm.
Fine sand is placed on the bottom (the size of the grains of sand is 1.5-2.5), then a layer of coarse sand (size 3-4.5 mm).
It is not advisable to make a more dense base for the aquarium, since it will provoke the accumulation of organic residues, the formation of large quantities of rotting and decomposition products, which will release hydrogen sulfide into the water. To prevent soil compaction, you need to place large pebbles on the bottom of the aquarium under the sand. Despite the fact that small grains of sand will seep down, the pebbles will improve the flow of the soil.
For the same reason, it is not recommended to use fine marine quartz sand as a primer. Washed river sand is much easier.
If your choice is pebbles, then know about the difficulties that may arise when sucking debris out of the aquarium with a hose. Small pebbles are likely to block the hose, and you will not be able to carry out the cleaning procedure. How to avoid a similar problem?
It is necessary to use a larger diameter hose or use a transparent hose. In the first case, the pebbles will not get stuck, in the second – you will see where the traffic jam occurred.
There is another way – to use a siphon with a funnel.
Which sand to choose: color, black or white – of course you decide. But it is necessary to take into account the advice of experienced aquarists.
White is not recommended, because it does not create the necessary contrast, the fish do not stand out against its background, the aquarium looks too calm, and its inhabitants are amorphous. Black is a much better option, it does not distract attention from the fish at all.
Colored attracts attention, lying on the pet shop window, but while in the aquarium, he rather distracts this attention.
However, it is possible to find a middle ground by mixing colors. How many can they use? Answer the question as much as you can, rather a question in color compatibility.
Gray quartz sand and white – a harmonious combination, black and white – a traditional duet. In general, white is often used to decorate an aquarium.
Before you choose and place nutritious sand, pebbles in an aquarium, you need to think carefully. To all the previously listed rules add the following:
- On the counter of the pet store you can see different varieties: black, white, color. But it is worth remembering that the best of the whole variety is not a color, but a natural nourishing soil that is not colored by anything. Colored soil, being in aquarium for a long time, loses its color, and the dye, respectively, dissolves in water. A modern manufacturer, creating colored sand, does not use toxic materials, but does not use completely harmless ones. So, red and yellow soil contains iron oxides, which can adversely affect the health of fish. Keep this in mind when purchasing the color version;
- soluble materials, such as limestone, are not used as soil;
- a full change of soil in the aquarium or its washing is carried out 1 time in 5 years;
- do not use colored river sand as a base: do not put red or yellow in the aquarium.
It is not enough to choose the right sand, it is equally important to correctly put it in the aquarium. Laying soil in an aquarium should help recreate the look of a natural reservoir. It should be laid with a slope to the front glass in the aquarium.
What’s the point of this? Thanks to this simple reception, it will be easier to remove the dirt that accumulates in the recesses of the soil. The thickness may be different, but in the range from 3 to 8 cm.
In addition, in the front glass in the form of plexiglass sides it is permissible to build a small area that will be free of soil. In this place of the aquarium, a tubule or bloodworm can burrow.
For this purpose, a transparent glass vessel can be placed in an aquarium.
Soil for aquarium with fish and plants: the rules of preparation
Nutrient soil is extremely important to put in the aquarium. How to do it?
If you collected the soil for the aquarium with your own hands, did not purchase it in the store, then you need to prepare it. How to do it? Rinse and boil.
This is the so-called ground cleaning in an aquarium before it is placed. It is necessary to prepare also sand, pebbles, bought in a pet store.
It is enough to wash and process with boiling water.
An error will be washing with the addition of domestos or other chemicals. How can this affect the constancy of the aquarium?
The fact is that sand, pebbles are well absorbed by chemical compounds, it will be very difficult to wash them after processing, which means that they will gradually be released into the water.
After the selection of soil for the aquarium, it can be placed in the aquarium with fish and plants. You can do this immediately: rinse and still wet place in the aquarium.
Black, colored, quartz, as well as a different sand needs care. How to clean the soil in the aquarium, how to monitor its cleanliness?
The soil for the aquarium, along with the plants must be periodically cleaned, in other words, siphon. Externally, the siphon is a hose in which a vacuum is created and by means of which dirt is sucked in with water.
Sand, pebbles need to be cleaned as it gets dirty.
Now you know how to choose sand, pebbles, how to prepare them, how to clean the soil in the aquarium and a lot of other useful information. One thing remains: choose the appropriate option and apply all the knowledge gained in practice.
While admiring the swift fish and water plants swaying pensively, we sometimes forget that an aquarium is a real miniature ecosystem. And of great importance in it is the substrate covering the aquarium bottom, in which the vegetation is fixed and microorganisms function.
Both gravel and sand are popular as a primer for an aquarium; we will focus on the more natural of them, the second.
Sand in the aquarium as a primer
The obvious advantages of sand as a primer for an aquarium are its natural appearance and the fact that plants take root better when it is used. On the other hand, it should be borne in mind that for use as soil in a river sand aquarium, it must first be washed thoroughly for a long time.
In addition, debris will be clearly visible on the sand surface, and the aquarium will need to be cleaned quite often (although cleaning the aquarium with sand coating makes it much easier to siphon over the bottom without even touching it).
It is not recommended to use exclusively white sand for decoration of an aquarium – on its background the fishes turn pale, which creates an overall impression of depression and inhibition. The black color of the sand, on the contrary, is considered more advantageous to create a solid image – it successfully emphasizes the brightness and liveliness of the inhabitants of the aquarium.
However, you can always experiment by combining several colors.
As for the sparkling coral sand, despite its spectacularity, it is not suitable for every aquarium. It is used in the event that it is necessary to increase the hardness and acidity of water, due to the high content of lime in it.
The reason for such measures may be excessively soft water in the region or the preference of hard water to specific fish.