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Sand substrate?

Moozillion

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I’m moving ahead with my plans to give Jacques a bigger aquarium. She’s currently in a 20 gal, and I’m going to upgrade her to a 40 Breeder. I’m also goi g to add some fish that might be safe around her, specifically a school of corydoras. [emoji2]
Since the sandy bottoms of our bayous and ponds is her natural substrate, I am planning on continuing with sand.
In my researching I see 3 types of sand used: play sand, pool filter sand and blasting sand.
Anyone have experience or opinions on the filter sand or blasting sand?
 

Markw84

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Why are you wanting to stay with sand other than it being close to her natural substrate? Although it is indeed, more natural looking, it also is a perfect trap for organic matter settling down in the tank. IF you are fighting high nitrates - that will add to that problem. Even siphoning the sand regularly, there is still organic matter trapped in the sand particles. Since you are not forcing water flow through the sand - there is not enough oxygen there for beneficial bacteria. That is one of the primary causes of high nitrates.
 

Moozillion

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Why are you wanting to stay with sand other than it being close to her natural substrate? Although it is indeed, more natural looking, it also is a perfect trap for organic matter settling down in the tank. IF you are fighting high nitrates - that will add to that problem. Even siphoning the sand regularly, there is still organic matter trapped in the sand particles. Since you are not forcing water flow through the sand - there is not enough oxygen there for beneficial bacteria. That is one of the primary causes of high nitrates.
AHA!!!! Good to know this!
What substrate would be better for me to use than sand?
 

Markw84

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AHA!!!! Good to know this!
What substrate would be better for me to use than sand?
For the easiest to keep clean and water quality - no substrate at all. I have bare bottom in my tanks and pond. For a tank that I really want the look of a substrate I use 1/2” - 1” rock. Big enough to siphon easily and big enough gaps between rock for better oxygen penetration.
 

Moozillion

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For the easiest to keep clean and water quality - no substrate at all. I have bare bottom in my tanks and pond. For a tank that I really want the look of a substrate I use 1/2” - 1” rock. Big enough to siphon easily and big enough gaps between rock for better oxygen penetration.
Thanks bunches. Jacques' tank is due for another 50% change later today, and the sand will be GONE.
 

Moozillion

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I'm backing off on my plans to get the larger tank right now.
I think the bigger issue is to stabilize Jacques. I will get her new tank once she is eating and is back to her usual self.

So tonight's plan: the scheduled 50% water change; remove ALL the sand substrate; Add some snails and ghost shrimp.
 

Markw84

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Sounds like a good plan. You find the larger the volume of water, the easier to keep water chemistry in balance. A turtle is a much bigger bioload than fish are. Snails and ghost shrimp will add a bit to the bioload, but they also will do cleanup constantly around the tank to offset! Plus they can be a snack if they get lazy! I think you will find Jacques will probably eat the snails once he starts feeling more himself again. Most of my turtles really like those small aquatic snails. Hard for me to keep a colony going. I use the big filter in my pond - where turtles and large fish cannot get - to keep a nice colony of snails going.
 

Moozillion

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Sounds like a good plan. You find the larger the volume of water, the easier to keep water chemistry in balance. A turtle is a much bigger bioload than fish are. Snails and ghost shrimp will add a bit to the bioload, but they also will do cleanup constantly around the tank to offset! Plus they can be a snack if they get lazy! I think you will find Jacques will probably eat the snails once he starts feeling more himself again. Most of my turtles really like those small aquatic snails. Hard for me to keep a colony going. I use the big filter in my pond - where turtles and large fish cannot get - to keep a nice colony of snails going.
The only snails my local stores have are Mystery and Black Racer Nerites. Will those do, or are they likely to be too big for a mud turtle?
 

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