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I have a 5ft tank with African Ciclids, It currently has black and white gravel. My daughter wants the black and white for her new 3ft tank she is getting for xmas so I was going to take the opportunity to change mine over to white sand.

After doing a few searches on here I wanted to clear up a few things:

I read that the white sand can cause the fish to lose their colours - fact of fiction?

Should I look at getting calcium cabonate or is white sand from bunnings is fine?

How many kgs of sand for a 152cm long x 39cm wide tank?

How do I change it over? do I need to get all the fish out, try and save the water empty the stones, put in the sand, put back the old water and put the fish back in?

Would be great if some of you can post up a few picks of your substrate as well :)

I'm a realative newby when it comes to fish so be kind :)

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Hi dorris095,

I have just recently changed my gravel from black to white/black speckled in my 4ft Jack Dempsey tank as an experiment, to see if it would affect their colouring at all.

Findings: it did dramatically. They are all now much paler in colour.

So... I will change it back to black again.

I normally take all the fish out and put them in a bucket (with a battery operated airstone) to ease the stress from me removing all the gravel from the tank. I take it out with a net (much easier) and syphon the remaining bits.

I leave the water in and then just put the new washed gravel in.

I let it filter for about an hour, recheck my water quality, perhaps a partial water change to boot and they are fine.

As long as the water is not cloudy at all, which it shouldn't be if you have kept your tank maintained and washed the new gravel really well.

This is only my opinion but "I prefer black gravel."

One can only assume it is highly sought after for this reason in the LFS hence the price.

However, I have bronze gravel in my community tank and the fish colours are still vibrant.

It is all a matter of personal preference!!

In my breeding tanks I have no gravel at all.

To see gravel in tanks take a look at the Photography and Video section.

Best of luck with it all.

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1. Sand or light coloured substrates can affect a fishes colour, but you can have dark elements in the tank as well eg rocks to try combat this

2. Calc carb is the dearer option and will keep the ph up high so it is really only suited to africans. play sand from bunnings is fine as well a pool filter sand from the local pool shop.

3. to work out your sand use this formula: 152 x 39 x (depth required) /1000 x 1.6 = weight of required sand. sand weights about 1600kg per m3.

4. you would be best off saving as much water as possible. get a min of 60% so that a water changed is done at the same time. remove the rocks with some water left in so that way it is easier to suck all the crap out of the tank thats left in there after removing all the rocks. double/triple Wash the sand before adding to tank. When you fill the tank with water place a nice big saucepan on the sand so that you pour the water into that, it will overflow and fill the tank. this stops the sand from getting excessively stirred into the water. do not clean your filters at this time either as they will be needed to help with the overall biology of the tank.

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After pondering back and forth I am leaning towards going with Diamond Black which is a quatz substrate in my 5 footer. Although I did change my mind to sand again this morning over breakfast but then changed it back again .,...


The formula above that brockssracer posted to work out sand weight , is it the same formula for the stones ? The price is what is stopping me at the moment at $39 /10kg bag.

My scaping skills are really pitiful and I know I will have no success in getting my tank looking like the bidkev's above :( mine would look more like a dogs breakfast. I will try the sand in my daughters 2 foot tank that she is getting for xmas and see how it goes :)

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hey mate. smart for asking. i went srait ahead and did it.

1. the fish DO NOT lose there color! my fronnies have come out in color and been more active since i changed to bunnings sand.

2. i had the cal carb substrate at first and swapped to bunnings white play sand. i found my ph dropped from 8.0 to 7.2 which was a downer. and still am trying to bring it back up.

3. i used 60kg of the stuff, cost me $27.50 i have a 4x2x2

4. i left my fish in the tank while i scopped out my old gravel and left them in there while putting the sand in. also i did a 400ltr water change everyday for 3 days and cleaned my cannister and internal aswell.

after washing the sand for 4 hours and doing all that cleaning and water changing my tank water is finally clear its exactly a week tomoza since i made the change.

its alot of effort but the fish love it. and its also eaiser to maintain the waste aswell considering it doesnt get through the sand.

all the best mate.

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