Sand or slate?

joxters

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Hello!

I ordered a 55-gallon tank for my axolotl. I hope to fill the bottom with slate, however my dad keeps arguing with me that it’s dangerous for the axolotl because of stuff getting under it. I tried to tell him that I’ll clean it, but he’s insistent on sand.

So, sand or slate? My axolotl is used to sand, but will she be okay with slate? Is slate better, or worse?
 

Dragonfire

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I'd prefer slate, since I like bare bottom setups. Just seal them to the bottom of the aquarium so no waste can get trapped under them, then you can just siphon up any waste you see.
 

joxters

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I'd prefer slate, since I like bare bottom setups. Just seal them to the bottom of the aquarium so no waste can get trapped under them, then you can just siphon up any waste you see.
Okay, thank you!

Is there any kind of slate you recommend? I’m nervous about picking out one that can leech chemicals into the tank
 

AMurry24537

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Speaking from my own experiences, I would recommend against sealing anything to the bottom unless you are an expert. Let me explain:

When I was setting up my first tank, I decided to use ceramic tiles, sealed with a silicone sealant (same stuff as what's used to seal the glass panels of the tank together) after a lot of research which indicated that these were the safest and most secure option (in this direction). I rinsed, soaked, and baked the tiles to remove any extra chemicals and to then get rid of the moisture. I watched all sorts of videos on how to apply th sealant properly and when I was done, I was really happy with it, perfectionist though I am.


About 9 months after setting everything up, I was moving and completely cleared out the tank, and was looking at the bottom. There was no water underneath the tiles, which was exactly as expected, but there was something much worse. I had used light-colored tiles, so I could clearly see tiny black dots of mildew. It wasn't much, but though everything was very well sealed, moisture had still infiltrated, and if it can get in, it can get out. You don't want those spores in your tank, no matter what.

Basically, I'm with your dad on this. I firmly believe I did everything I could have to avoid this situation and it happened anyway and I had to start all over. It was not fun.

You could try just not sealing it down, but you'll want to make sure that the pieces are too big/heavy to move in any current that might be generated (especially while cleaning/trying to catch your axolotl) because you don't want them to pinch together on his toes or anything. You'll also have to make sure that ammonia-filled air/water doesn't get trapped underneath and then cause problems if accidentally released/disturbed. Frankly, I would just go with sand, but it's up to you to weigh the pros and cons.
 

JM29

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Hello,
I once had a tank filled with natural slate, with some very coarse gravels to break some strait lines (see picture).
It had a good look and I kept it like that for months.
Unfortunately, dirt and poop accumulated under the slates and were impossible to reach and clean (my slates were not sealed).

I finally decided to change for sand but the main reason was I wanted to keep my axies in a heavily planted tank.

Also be aware that whatever the color of the slate, it will be covered by micro-algae which will give it a brownish colour.
 
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