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Hello,
Well I've had both in my tanks. The gravel never looked quite as good to me as the sand but the water was clearer and I think the gravel would provide better surface area for bacteria to grow on. Also the waste will go down into the gravel to be broken down and I siphon it out later. I know the sand has alot more surface area but unless you stir it constantly or have water flow through it then it would not help much. What do ya think?
 

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If money is no object then.....

........buy some play sand and use the left over money to buy some kick ass P's!
 

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ive got sand for the first time in a 20g planted tank i just started about a week ago with just a few 1-2" cichlids... i just used play sand from home depot which was way cheap. it looks awesome but i dont know how easy it would be for my p's as far as cleaning goes - thats my main concern that keeps me away from sand for my p tank... any more input in this from somebody who keeps sand in a bid p tank would help us all a lot!
 

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heres some pics of the new planted sand tank i mentioned... cheap lighting too i used a 4" work strip light from home depot with a daylight bulb and one of those gradient flourescent light covers you see in paneled building ceilings that spread the light i just cut to fit the tank... total lighting = $14
 

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Awesome pics by the way. Now just get some support under that tank and take off the Tim Allen light.
) Just kidding. I just think gravel gives a better bioload with more available surface area. Plus with big eaters the debris will down into the gravel to be vacuumed out with water changes. With the sand, my Caribe's used to go into panic mode and create a huge sand storm which then went into the filters. The other problem that occured was that even with perfectly washed sand, I with time the water never seemed as clear as with gravel.
 
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