I made a thread on this and I hope that as an article this can reach more people who may want to use Flourite Sand or any other Sand and ain't quite sure how to clean and prepare it for the tank. The way I did it saved me a ton on water! I used to clean sand the "old" way, where you pour sand into a bucket, fill it with water, mix it around, empty all that cloudy dirty water, and then repeat the process over and over again until the water is clean and clear.
I am writing this to hopefully help other people who want to use Flourite or other similar substrate, save time and a good chunk of their water bill.
Last Week I finally started to get my brand new 33 Long set up. I knew I wanted another planted tank and didn't want to use Fluval Stratum, as I used it before and I love it, but I wanted a different look for my new tank.
Many people will say why didn't you use PFS(Pool Filter Samd) or PS(Play Sand). As they are WAY cheaper than what I paid for, using Seachem's Flourite Black Sand. I paid $27.00 per bag for 3.5k or 7.7lbs. and I purchased 6 bags to get about a 1 inch depth.
The way I rinsed my sand probably saved more than half the water I would have used if I rinsed it in the traditional way, of filling a bucket, stirring, and emptying, over and over again until the water was almost clear.
You will still need some rinsing but IMHO nowhere close to the old fashion style of preparing substrate.
These are the things I used........and the Things I did..........
6- Bags of Seachem Flourite Black Sand
1- Weco Brand Fine Mesh Media Bag (use large size. I believe I have a 6x10 size)
1- Colander with only the spout part having very thin slits in them. You can probably find them in an Asian store.
1- 5 gallon Bucket
1- Water hose with spout
What I did was I cut only a small part of the bag, to pour into the media bag. That was more of a humbug than it being useful. What I did after was I just cut straight across the bag and got a large kitchen spoon and spooned the Flourite into the media bag.
Note: Weco makes a zipper and non-zipper bag. I used the zipper bag because it was what I use in my canister filters.
Get the hose and put it into the media bag itself and (SLOWLY) turn on the water. You want a good steady stream of water but NOT too where it is shooting full blast.
I rinsed the Flourite this was for about a minute and while doing this I gently massaged the media bag to move the Flourite around.
Now this is where you can see why the media bag is useful. You can see all the slit on the bottom of the small bowl.
I know some are going to say why not just use a panty hose, well the panty hose will stretch and your smaller grains of Flourite will come out. All you basically want to come out is that silt. It's the silt that will cloud your water.
Now I filled up my 5 gallon bucket with water and then took my media bag and just moved it up and down in the bucket. While I moved the media bag I also squeezed it softly to push out the silt. As you can see the water in the bucket will turn color BUT the silt will drop to the bottom of the bucket. I did this for about 2-3 mins. You don't need to be rough or squeeze the media bag hard. If you do, you take the risk of smashing the Flourite itself.
As you can see when I emptied the Flourite back into the colander, the water is a little dirty but watch what happens next......
After I emptied the Flourite back into the colander there will be lots of Flourite stuck to the media bag. DO NOT try to shake it off! You will only fly your Flourite all over the place and waste it. Instead dip the bag back into the bucket of water you just used to rinse your rinse your media bag in. Don't worry about the Flourite for now just DONT throw away this water!
Now this is why that colander with those slits come in handy. Take that bucket with the left over Flourite and slowly pour it into the colander. There might be some left over Flourite stuck to the side of the bucket, slowly rinse it into the colander.
Now take your water hose and slowly fill the colander with water and slowly stir in a clock wise position. The neat thing about this is that when you are stirring the silt will spill through the slits, while the Flourite stays in the colander. I did this for less than a minute and you can see how clear the water is!
I guess it's almost like panning for gold. Where you want the "junk" to flow out of the pan, while the "good stuff" stays on the bottom of the pan.
I placed all my Flourite into my tank and waited until the next day to fill. I didn't have time to fill it on the same day, as IMHO it would not make any difference to the clarity of the water.
But by using the colander it helps dissipate the water so the water does not hit the substrate and disturb it and clouds the water.
As you guys can see the water is pretty clear. And at this point I had my brand new Fluval FX-4 running not even for 5 mins before I took this picture.
I hope that this can help some of you save money on your water bill and save time by having a shorter substrate cleaning time.
I do have to say that it looks like it took me a long time from start to finish. There are things that I had to do in between pictures and I would assume that if I could do it straight, it would have taken me about 1.0-1.5 hours to do all 6 Bags of Flourite Sand.
If you have any questions or comments please let me know!
Keep planting and tanking!
UPDATE: I recently put together a tank for my breeding Occys. For the substrate I used Aragonite sand and I put the sand in the media bag and rinsed it that way. I also filled a 5 gallon bucket with water and used this to help rinse the sand. This method works great for Aragonite sand and helps get the sand clean the best it can. As far as I know Aragonite sand will never get "clean" when rinsing, but it came as clean as I wanted it to be. If you understand what I mean by that.