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Sand Update

Posted By: Mr Leadfoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Tuesday, 3 December 2002, at 8:04 p.m.

Well, it's been over a month now, and thought those considering sand might like to hear an update:

Sand is kicking butt! I keep having to rebuild the slate caves, cause the plecos love to dig deeper down inside the caves and shoot the sand across the tanks with their tails. And, they're never satisfied. They dig deeper and deeper til the cave collapses on them. It's really funny to watch. Of course, these are small caves of thin slate, being that plecos are a one-to-a-cave type dweller, for obvious territorial reasons! :-)

Clowns are still burrowing around in it, seemingly to look for food. Sometimes they look more like ostriches. Obviously, I haven't had to stir it at all, what with the loaches and plecos constantly stirring it, and algae is not a factor, either.

The added bonus, besides not having to stir it up, is the ever-changing landscape. I love the enigmatic qualities of sand. It never gets boring because everytime you turn around, it's different. Rolling hills and valleys one minute, mounds and mounds of sand the next. You gotta love it!

I've got corkscrew vallis runners all over the place in one tank, and I've only had them for 3 weeks now. In another tank, a cryptocoryne wendtti brown exploded at the rhizome. In 6 weeks, this plant that was about 3 inches wide and 3 inches tall got to 6 inches wide and 8 inches tall, 'til my tiny one-inch rubber-nose pleco decided it looked too much like algae, and completely decimated it overnight! He hasn't touched my swords, java ferns or anachris, though.

Anyway, the fish waste seems to slowly skim across the sand in the current, then lodge itself at the base of the plants. No wonder the plants are booming!

If that's not enough, lastly, I used to clean the poop up that collects on the sand in some spots not near plants, but now, I don't even worry about it. As the tank is becoming more and more mature with the sand in it, it seems that the poop is breaking down on it's own quite quickly, and piles in the collection zones seem to disappear. I suspect it's liquifying quickly and then it's being circulated through the filter where the bacteria is breaking down the toxins. This would never happen in a gravel tank!

While some people are skeptical of sand, if this keeps up, I'm never going back to gravel...ever! But then again, I'm always going to have loaches and plecos, so the sand is really low maintenance, and that works for me. Sometimes I find myself now wondering if I missed something, since my cleaning only involves water changes and filter cleanings. (No algae cleaning off the glass, thanks to the plecos!) Yeeeeeehaaaaaaw!

Kelvin
 

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