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Old 01-03-2006, 10:50 AM   #1
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Dirty Sand

Hello. I bought an 8 gallon nano about a year ago. I was not and still am not very familiar with saltwater tanks so I thought that the nano would be a good start. I asked the person at my local fish store if I needed to do anything similar to vacuuming the rocks at the bottom of a freshwater tank, with the sand in a salt water tank. She said no, that I just leave the sand. However, a year later the sand has become somewhat dirty and kind of takes away from the appeal of a nice little saltwater tank. I bought a "cleaning crew" with the snails and crabs but the ones that borough themselves under the sand don't seem to be doing much to mix it around and keep the sand clean. What should I do? Any suggestions? Please let me know, I would really appreciate it!
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Old 01-03-2006, 11:22 AM   #2
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Well ...

Some people would say that a "Nano" tank is harder to keep than a larger tank, this may be somewhat true in the sense that there is more maintenance required to keep chemical levels stable. As long as you stay on top of tank maintenance you should be good!

As far as the sand goes ... are you getting algea growth or Diamtom Blooms or Cyano???? Just dirty really doesn't tell much, if it's cyano your dealing with there are multiple causes and fixes ... algea and Diatoms are different in that they can more than likely be controlled with a cleanup crew and a more strict feeding routine. Please elaborate as to what it is your refering to as "Dirty".

As for Cleanup crew what do you have? I have a 12gal and I keep about 6 small Nassarius snails, 3 Scarlett hermits and 5 Turbo snails. My sand bed is not completely clean, but overall well kept. During my bi-weekly water changes I also try to syphon out the piles of detrius that accumulate in certain areas the best I can without syphoning to much sand!

Good luck!
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Old 01-03-2006, 03:04 PM   #3
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A good cleanup crew will help your sand bed. Nassarius snails, cerith and maybe a brittle star would help. Never siphon or clean the sand bed as it could create more problems. But like the other poster said dirty dont tell us much.
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Old 01-03-2006, 03:28 PM   #4
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If as Jermz79 suggested, you can siphon very carefully any buildup of detritus, as this will lead to higher than wanted levels of nitrate and phosphate. Other than that, if by dirty you mean that after this long the sand has become gray or darker than the nice white that it was when you started, then that is normal to some degree. For instance my tank has been in operation now for 3 years and the sand looks nothing like it did when I put it in there.. Dirty? well that would be a matter of opinion.. I think it looks rather natural. However I do have quite the workers in there...

I would also look into a good crew for the tank, as others have suggested, some sand sifting detritus eaters would be good, i.e., snails, hermits, stars (not too big). Keep in mind also that some of the sand sifters will wreak havoc on your microfauna...
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Old 01-03-2006, 04:11 PM   #5
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Syphoning with a length of airline tubing would help you clean up the silt from your sand and rocks without sucking up alot of your sand.
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Old 01-03-2006, 04:20 PM   #6
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Fluff, In your opinion would you clean the sand or would you let your cleanup crew do that? Everyone has there own opinion but I thought the majority wont touch the sand.
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Old 01-03-2006, 04:24 PM   #7
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Personally, I let my nassarius snails stir the sand for me. They've always done a bang up job. But, if its something that is really unsitely to you, I think it's ok to syphon the surface. I like a more natural looking tank so yeah, I let stuff grow where it would drive other folks crazy.
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Old 01-03-2006, 05:01 PM   #8
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Drillsar ....
Like you have stated most people don't like to "STIR" up the sand, but trust me if you have piles of detrius in a Nano tank ... your actually doing more harm by letting it sit than trying to carefully syphon it out.

When I syphon my Nano I don't get any sand storm at all ... I place the airline over the pile and just let it gradually suck the detrius out. I'm not actually cleaning the sand, just removing built up detrius which in my opinion is crucial in such a small tank!
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