What Substrate?

  • Norika
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Norika created the topic: What Substrate?

I am new to Oscars. I have been keeping and raising Discus for some years bu never kept anything else other that these beautiful fish. I now have a large spare tank and am thinking of getting one or two of these adorable pets. I was wodering however; since Oscars are such 'messy' creatures, what is the best substrate to use. I prefer the look of sand but how does one siphon the debris during the w/c without also collecting the sand?

Excuse the stupid question but do understand that I only keep my discus in bare bottom tanks so I am also new to the sand substrate business..

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  • OFL
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OFL replied the topic: Re:What Substrate?

I prefer sand over gravel any day. Not just because I think it looks better, but because I am absolutely convinced sand makes for a healthy and cleaner tank. People seem to have a real problem cleaning sand. Sand is obviously a lot lighter and finer than gravel so of course a gravel vac is going to suck it up quite easily. Debris doesn't get imbedded underneath sand like it does with gravel so you don't need to push the vac right into it. The trick with cleaning sand is to literally hover just above it, not too close so as to suck it up, but close enough so the debris get sucked up. It really isn't difficult, it is just a case of practice makes perfect.

What to got to remember is that it will be mainly bits of food that the Oscars expelled, such as little bits of pellet or fish waste that you will be removing, both of these are very buoyant, more buoyant than sand.

I may not always be right, but I am always the BOSS :-)

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ashley1984 replied the topic: Re:What Substrate?

well i had the same question asked to myself a few weeks ago i had gravel at first with just 1 oscar in it and he had a lump on his chin and ppl were telling me its from the grvel but then other ppl were telling me that they get it wen they are mature butany way ive just now switched over from gravel to sand and and i think or should i say i know its alot harder to keep clean but like OFL was saying its practise makes perfect i will explain it like OFL explained to me ok???
can you remember years ago the game the kids used to play with i think its called OPERATION where theres is a patient laying down and you must collect all the pieces from the body without it beeping and buzzing, well thats EXACTLY what its like if you can understand wat im saying you have got to hover the vac jus as close as you can above the sand for it to collect all of the debris to go up the vac, but then again i dont have a external filter .....have you???
if so then the external filter will drag all the debris and crap up into the filter this way it will be easier to keep clean,
ive got 3 internals and im telling you its a nightmare to keep clean every morning i wake up and i gotta clean the sand
its not a chore or anything its so that i know that there is no crap or debris on the surface of the sand,
one more thing i was saying earlier on that i had an oscar with a lump on his chin well wen i used gravel the lump on my oscars chin always look reallly red, sore and very inflamed, but now since ive got the sand the lump on my oscars chin really improved the redness came out and the lump eventually went down, ive got rid of that oscar now and got 2 baby tigers have a look at this slideshow, you will see wat i mean by the lump on his chin,
but i rekon that oscars would prefer to feed and live over gravel any day of the week, a big THANKS to OFL who made me switch over FROM GRAVEL TO SAND!!!! B)


270 ltr 4ft (FLUVAL 405)
6 baby blue acaras , 1 male and 1 female geophagus eartheaters...
2 plecs.

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delboybully replied the topic: Re:What Substrate?

I think the only substrate for oscars is gravel. Oscars love to dig.

The good thing about sand is the ease of cleaning, however often the tank can look dirty.

With gravel is doesnt look dirty however you will have to clean the gravel with a gravel vac. There is a solution to this,it is to install an undergravel filter with an external filter pushing water down the uplift. Put 1in gravel, then a gravel tidy then another 1in gravel. You dont have to clean the gravel at all except for sucking out the large bits of waste when doing a water change

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