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Old 10-17-2013, 09:13 PM   #1
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Replacing gravel with sand

I'm going to replace my gravel with sand. Any information will help, I've never had sand before. What's the best sand? I was thinking of PFS. Best way to switch them. Anything, thanks!
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:44 PM   #2
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Hi EBenns. I am a big fan of sand and when the right sand is chosen, the tank can look stunning. I don't have access to PFS myself, not many pools over here!!. It is a very popular choice with other members though. Personally I like to strip the tank down when changing substrate. I find it less messy and easier to get it right first time. It can be done with the water still in but I don't do that as I find it to awkward.
When you remove the gravel, you'll be surprised or even shocked how much crap gravel hides, even if you vac very regular and very well. This is another reason I prefer to strip it.
Personally I use kids playsand but the method is the same. The key to sand is to make sure you wash the stuff REALLY REALLY well. This step is vital is avoiding future issues. Get some decent size buckets for your fish/heater/filter media to be stored in while you switch. It can take a few hours or more to switch, depending on the tank size. Have the sand pre-washed before remove the fish/décor etc to save time. The washing too can take a few hours. The longer/more you wash it the better. Washing it cleans away the small dirt particles and the light sand that floats. This will help reduce/eliminate it in the tank, preventing cloudiness. When you replace the substrate, fill it back up and use a plate/bowl to pour the water onto. This will stop the sand being churned up. Get some clean hard plastic and gently rake the sand. This is best done before you add anything back into the tank. This will reduce the amount of air pockets trapped in the sand. Give it an hour or more for any sand to settle before you switch back on the filter(s). If you can, put some filter floss in your filter. This will help remove the cloudiness, which will happen. When the tank is pretty clear the fish are good to put back. Remember to temperature match the water, treat them like you just bought them. It might seem a bit daunting but it's not really and is really worth the effort.
Expect to spend all/most of the day doing it!!!
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:51 PM   #3
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I had recently changed from gravel to sand. I used Kids play sand because I could not find pfs.

When I made the change, I washed the sand in a bucket and power hose till the water cleared. Then I placed my plants and snails (I didn't have fish in the tank) in a bucket of conditioned water that I have sitting around for water changes. Then drained my tank half way using a gravel vac, carried it outside and dumped the rest if the water. Took the gravel out and scooped the sand in. Wiped down the tank, took it back inside, and filled it with the bucket water, half way I put my plants and decor back in. Then filled to preferred line with more conditioned water. If you have fish, you may want to put them in their separate container. But anyway, thats how I did it. If your running a filter, make sure it can't suck up your sand and get clogged.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:54 PM   #4
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I had recently changed from gravel to sand. I used Kids play sand because I could not find pfs.

When I made the change, I washed the sand in a bucket and power hose till the water cleared. Then I placed my plants and snails (I didn't have fish in the tank) in a bucket of conditioned water that I have sitting around for water changes. Then drained my tank half way using a gravel vac, carried it outside and dumped the rest if the water. Took the gravel out and scooped the sand in. Wiped down the tank, took it back inside, and filled it with the bucket water, half way I put my plants and decor back in. Then filled to preferred line with more conditioned water. If you have fish, you may want to put them in their separate container. But anyway, thats how I did it. If your running a filter, make sure it can't suck up your sand and get clogged.
Yeah I forgot the 'washing the sand in a bucket with a hose' bit...haha
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:55 PM   #5
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It is a mess right now with the floating ludwigia repens. But I also dirted this tank. The sand is a cap

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Old 10-17-2013, 10:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EBenns View Post
I'm going to replace my gravel with sand. Any information will help, I've never had sand before. What's the best sand? I was thinking of PFS. Best way to switch them. Anything, thanks!
I have been thinking along those same lines. Let know how it goes...maybe some pics?.........
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:13 PM   #7
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Thanks so much I really appreciate it! What's the best way to clean the sand? I heard filling a bucket half way with sand and letting water run in it and stirring it around a bit to let the dirt and stuff overflow. How big should the bucket be to keep the fish? I have 11 three inch African cichlids and a four inch pleco. Does the water have to be completely clear before you put the fish in? Any tips on taking care if the sand in the future?
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:17 PM   #8
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I have been thinking along those same lines. Let know how it goes...maybe some pics?.........
I might be doing it next weekend and I will certainly be posting pictures of my progress. Should I make a new thread or keep it in this one? Lol
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:24 PM   #9
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Thanks so much I really appreciate it! What's the best way to clean the sand? I heard filling a bucket half way with sand and letting water run in it and stirring it around a bit to let the dirt and stuff overflow. How big should the bucket be to keep the fish? I have 11 three inch African cichlids and a four inch pleco. Does the water have to be completely clear before you put the fish in? Any tips on taking care if the sand in the future?
That's exactly how to clean it. I would just fill the bucket 1/3 with sand, it makes it easier to wash/stir. The water doesn't have to be crystal clear. Slightly cloudy will be fine. With the floss, it will clear pretty well in an hours or so. I used a 20g storage container for mine. They won't be in it for too long anyway....

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I might be doing it next weekend and I will certainly be posting pictures of my progress. Should I make a new thread or keep it in this one? Lol
I would just update this thread. It's the same topic....
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