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Old 08-10-2011, 08:18 AM   #1
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Question Cleaning Aquarium Sand ?

It's been about 12 yrs since I last had an aquarium. Back then I used aquarium gravel and an undergravel filter as part of my set up along with regular vacuming of the gravel as part of the cleaning.
Now a days it seems like a LOT of people are using sand in their aquariums and not many people use undergravel filters.
So my question is how do you clean the sand, nothing would be left if I vacumed it?
Also, how often do you clean the sand since it holds less debris?
I've seen remarks about sand getting into the working parts of filters, etc
and ruining them. So how does that problem get solved, buy larger grain size of sand or what?

All answers are VERY much appreciated!!!
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:25 AM   #2
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I've got 3 tanks with sand and have never once had sand clog up my filters (2 HOB and 1 canister).

As far as cleaning, I much prefer it over gravel, it's actually so much easier. I hold the python about 1/4 inch above the sand and it sucks up the fish poo and any debris very nicely. I never lose sand up the Python either. So, once you lose the mindset that you're supposed to do a "gravel vac", you're good to go.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:16 PM   #3
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As LyndaB said, sucking up sand with a Python or similar shouldn't really be a problem unless you have pretty high water pressure coming out your faucet that really draws the water up through the Python Even then, you'd need be sticking the Python down in to the sand and holding it there.

When you first start up a tank with sand, you might have dust in the water from the sand if not thoroughly rinsed that typically will accumulate in the filter media and would need rinsing off, but you shouldn't have huge amounts of sand actually swirling around in the tank and clogging anything up.
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Old 08-14-2011, 01:18 AM   #4
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What about maintaining the sand? I read an article about having to "churn" up the sand every 8-16 wks to prevent trapped food and gasses from becoming toxic. It also says that once the trapped food and gasses are released I may even smell a "rotten egg" smell!
Sand for the Aquarium
Is it recommended for churning the sand every 8-16 weeks like this article states?
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Old 08-14-2011, 01:30 AM   #5
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I stick my python about a half inch to an inch into the sand to let it sift around and unpack the sand. I use pool filter sand so there isn't much packing to start with.

After the vacuuming, I use a rake that came as part of a 3 piece set. I got it at Petsmart, it has a glass scraper attachment, a scrubber attachment and a rake attachment. I rake the sand around, getting somewhat deep into the sand.

With really fine sands you will have packing and gas bubble problems. I had some black aquarium sand once that was nothing but trouble. With PFS (pool filter sand) I've never had an issue.
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Old 08-14-2011, 01:37 AM   #6
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Wouldn't you know I was leaning towards black sand! I'll have to give that one some thought now. I knew I liked the sound of pool sand vs play sand but I never thought about the fine aquarium sand! I'll also have to look into that 3 piece set you mentioned as well, it sounds perfect for the job!!
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:43 AM   #7
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I been using a #2 silica sand in my tanks, I like it because if your careful you can basically vacuum it like regular gravel but it doesn't get dirty like gravel, it doesn't cloud the water, food won't go into it so bottom feeders get better nutrition, it allows for better water flow to make bio filter more effective, it's all around a pretty good sand, I'd only go one size smaller but I'd have to think about it really hard because it has been wonders and I never have to churn it up and only vacuum every two weeks. I've had gravel for years and tried fine sand and I'll never go back to either, they probably have their place i just can't find it lol this is in my experience I've only worked on under 20 tanks though do not have a lot of experience compared to some pros here, good luck with your choice
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberkat View Post
Wouldn't you know I was leaning towards black sand! I'll have to give that one some thought now. I knew I liked the sound of pool sand vs play sand but I never thought about the fine aquarium sand! I'll also have to look into that 3 piece set you mentioned as well, it sounds perfect for the job!!

For black sand there's the Tahitian black moon sand, Eco-Complete sand, Flourite black sand and I've heard Estes reef sand. None of them are supposed to compact like the sand I had which was made by Dowell.

The Eco Complete and Flourite are great for planted tanks.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:37 PM   #9
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The Tahitian Moon sand does not compact like some other sands do in my experience. You do need to stir sand of any kind up once in a while, or it will develop anoxic zones.Thus the rotten egg smell (hydrogen sulfide). If you release a large enough amount in to the tank it can be dangerous to your fish. Keep it agitated once in a while and you should be fine.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:11 PM   #10
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Any idea how much my kuhli Loaches will stir the sand up, I'll have 4 of them? I'm thinking that between the Kuhli's and me there shouldn't be any problems; I hope!! I really like the Tahitian Moon sand but its pretty pricey, I'm hoping to find something at least half that price. Dragonfish71 made a suggestion of several different types of sand including Tahitian Moon sand and Flourite black sand so far my hardest decision is on which type of sand to use!!
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