I think you'll get different opinions from different people depending on what they prefer. The up side of using sand seems to be both that live plants grow better and the food and fish waste that settles to the bottom of the tank will stay on top of the sand so it's easier to remove. I prefer the gravel because when I do use a siphon to clean out the food and fish waste not drawn into the tank filter, the gravel doesn't get sucked up with the waste like sand will do. I also prefer the look of the natural colored stones better than sand. Whichever you decide to use, be sure to buy it at a reputable pet store so you're getting a clean product and one that won't contain chemicals, etc that will poison your fish.
no, you fish might swallow the sand. Use pebbles or marbles. too big to got inside their mouth
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