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Old 12-07-2014, 12:38 PM   #1
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Exclamation Emergency! Sand problem!

Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, anyways, I am currently having a huge problem! So a week ago I purchased a new 37gallon aquarium kit as well as two bags of CaribSea black sand (Tahitian Moon Reef.) As I was cleaning the sand, I noticed a strange film on the surface of the water in my bucket. It resembled and smelt like oil but I figured it would go away. So I cleaned the sand (which also dyed my hands and the bucket greyish-black) and then began to put it in the aquarium. Keep in mind, I thoroughly cleaned the sand, removing all of the strange substance, but the odour remained. The sand dyed the water grey so I called the shop I bought it from and they said this was normal, I just needed to turn the filter on for a while. The filter has been running for 5 days and it is still somewhat discoloured. I don't mind the discolouration, but there is a strong smell similar to that of oil.

So my question is, is this sand toxic to my fish? What is wrong with it? And how do I fix the problem?

Side note: My betta has been living in the tank for four or so days and it seems to be doing fine, but he is pretty resilient. I really need to move my axolots into this tank but I am worried it will kill them!! Please help!
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Old 12-07-2014, 01:26 PM   #2
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The moon sand is not toxic, but that doesn't mean that there's not something wrong with your particular bags. I've used it and I've never encountered a smell. Staining the bucket a little? Yup. Clouding the water? Yup, though washing the sand well enough will prevent that. I know you washed it but you have to REEEEEALY wash it to keep the water from clouding at first. It will go away though. How long depends on how much dust was still in the sand and how much the sand gets disturbed. You can add a micron type filter media to try to remove it or simple water changes will do the trick. Probably won't be an overnight fix though.

The smell.... Hmmm. By any chance was it the "live" sand that contains bacteria to jump start the cycle?
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Old 12-07-2014, 03:10 PM   #3
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The moon sand is not toxic, but that doesn't mean that there's not something wrong with your particular bags. I've used it and I've never encountered a smell. Staining the bucket a little? Yup. Clouding the water? Yup, though washing the sand well enough will prevent that. I know you washed it but you have to REEEEEALY wash it to keep the water from clouding at first. It will go away though. How long depends on how much dust was still in the sand and how much the sand gets disturbed. You can add a micron type filter media to try to remove it or simple water changes will do the trick. Probably won't be an overnight fix though.

The smell.... Hmmm. By any chance was it the "live" sand that contains bacteria to jump start the cycle?
I don't think it is live sand, but I'll check to see. I am glad to hear you had similar experience with the dye, I was worried that I had gotten a dud package (this was my first time ever getting sand as a substrate). I have noticed that the intensity of the smell has decreased, however, it is still present. Thank you for your help!
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Old 12-07-2014, 04:04 PM   #4
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Washing it in hot water helps get more of the excess dye out. You can put some charcoal in your filter and it will help clean it up. The charcoal "sheets" work really well for that.
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Old 12-07-2014, 07:08 PM   #5
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It's not dye - it's a super fine dust.
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Old 12-07-2014, 07:24 PM   #6
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Try filter floss to help clear the water
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Old 12-07-2014, 09:45 PM   #7
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Will do ^ The problem isn't the discolouration for me though. It is just the unusual smell that concerns me, I'm not sure if it is safe for my axolotl.
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