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Old 07-21-2006, 08:02 PM   #1
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Removing Sand from Tank

This is going to be a nightmare and I haven't been ambitious enough to do so. We have approx 40lbs of Playsand in our tank that was topped with 20lbs of Live Sand. I am finally coming to the conclusion that the playsand is harmful to the water quality and clarity.

Is there anyway to teardown the tank and remove the sand without ruining the 7+ months that the tank has matured? I know I'll lose all the pods and beneficial stuff that is in the sandbed.

This is what I would plan to do.

Drain half the water (25 gallons) into a rubbermaid container. Setup a extra powerhead and heater to maintain the temperature. Add all of the live rock, crabs, snails, shrimp, goby, clownfish.

Drain rest of tank into the washbin until there is just sand and some water left. Proceed with the pain in the neck job of scooping all of the sand out and disposing it. Rinse out as much as possible.

Add 40lbs of new Live Sand to the tank. Add the Live Rock back to the tank. Add approx 20 gallons of pre-mixed RO/DI water to the tank. Wait for things to settle. Then add the fish / inverts back into the tank and then the rest of the water from the rubbermaid.

Does this sound ridiculous? I am having so many algae / tank clarity problems that I'm willing to go through all this. But don't want the fish and inverts to die / get sick in the process.
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:17 PM   #2
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I am surprised that playsand is causing all of these problems. Was it aragonite sand? Even if it was not, I could see problems with some inverts and Ph buffering ability, but not problems like this after 7 months. I am just a saltie newbie so I was just making sure you know this is the problem before you do all this work. Many people here use aragonite play sand with no problems. I am in the learning process so I could be wrong

I am sure the pros will chime in.
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:31 PM   #3
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I sure hope so, cause that is a lot of work. hehe. The sand is brownish color and my live sand on top is white. They never really mixed together, and the live sand gets blown around and moved by the snails and shrimp. So I have exposed patches of the brownish playsand.

I am just frustrated I guess. After all this time and research I just can't get it right.

Thanks for the reply Mike.
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:05 PM   #4
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I was thinking about doing the same thing in my tank due to some algae problems. Instead of doing all of that work I finally decided to try to solve the problems "naturally" by adding the appropriate pieces. I have a hair algae problem and decided to go with a fuge with some macro algae and a phos-reactor to be sure. Ive never used playsand so im not sure what affects it would have on the tank, I would just consider trying to fix tha problem naturally before you go through all of that work.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:56 PM   #5
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Man, I wish I had room to do a sump and what not. A lot of people seem to get by with just a Protein Skimmer and Live rock. Just doesn't work in my case, the algae is out of control. I added my 3rd powerhead today (all maxi-jet 1200's) to really get that water crashing. Hoping that will help some with the combination of Ro/DI water changes and every other day feeding.

Still thinking about taking a sledge to the tank when I see all that algae. LOL.
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Old 07-21-2006, 11:03 PM   #6
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Hold that sledge hammer. The RO/DI and feeding every other day will help. you`ll need some time. When you do a PWC take a tooth brush and rubber band it to your siphon hose and gently scrub the rock where the algea is and siphon it out as you are doing the PWC. Slowly but surely you will see a change with the changes you made. Good Luck
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Old 07-21-2006, 11:07 PM   #7
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I would try what melosu58 said first. If that doesn't work you can try removing the sand about 1/3 at a time. I know you won't get 100% of it but you will get a lot of it. By doing it about 1/3 of a tank at a time, wait 1-2 weeks, this should let the beneficial bacterias and substrate dwelling critters have enough time to "migrate" to the new sand. I did this when I swirched mt CC/LS to LS.
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Old 07-22-2006, 09:29 AM   #8
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Hmmm, that's a good idea Melosu. I tried attaching a 1/2" siphon hose to one of my Maxi-Jets, and using the Maxi Jet to vaccum the rocks... witht he other end of the house going to a bucket outside the tank. Didn't work very well cause it sucked too much water too fast. heh. Didnt have time to get much of anything off the rocks. I'll give the toothbrush idea a try!
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Old 07-22-2006, 10:49 AM   #9
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Vanphyre, i just thought of something that might help you. Use the same maxijet+syphon combo but don't suck the water out. Keep the maxijet in the tank and put some kind of sponge in front of the output tube. That way, you don't waste ur SW while u can filter out all the nasty stuff that comes out of the rock. HTH
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Old 07-22-2006, 02:53 PM   #10
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i took the big part of the syphon off and used the toothbrush with one hand and syphoned right after i scrubbed with the other. i tried the toothbrush to the syphon way and altho it did work, i couldnt get into the all the crevises and such.
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