40 Gallon Tank Changing from sand to gravel

acerrato

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I have very light colored sand in my 37g Freshwater tank. It is gorgeous but it just doesn’t stay clean at all- it constantly has debris/waste sitting right on top. I’d really love to switch to gravel or even black sand. I’ve read up on switching from gravel to sand but can’t find much on switching from sand to gravel- or even swapping sand colors. Can you guys give me any tips?

Also- if I removed the current sand, how much BB would I be removing from the tank? Too much?

Thanks!

Also- I forgot to add- I’ve been vacuuming the top of the sand almost daily to try to keep it clean. My siphon just won’t pick it all up.
 

Islandvic

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acerrato , maybe you need more flow in the tank from the filter?

Apparently the fish waste isn't being sucked into the intake tube.

A 37g is basically a tall 29g. What filter do you have and how much space is there between the bottom of the intake tube and the sand ?

If you put gravel in there, all the fish waste and uneaten food will just sink into it. When it decays your nitrates will always be spiking in my opinion.
 

jpm995

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acerrato said:
Also- I forgot to add- I’ve been vacuuming the top of the sand almost daily to try to keep it clean. My siphon just won’t pick it all up.
I'm using sand for the first time on my 55 gal and if I vacuum it sucks up the sand. I gave up on cleaning it but it's black sand.
 
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acerrato

acerrato

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Islandvic said:
acerrato , maybe you need more flow in the tank from the filter?

Apparently the fish waste isn't being sucked into the intake tube.

A 37g is basically a tall 29 gallon. What filter do you have and how much space is there between the bottom of the intake tube and the sand ?

If you put gravel in there, all the fish waste and uneaten food will just sink into it. When it decays your nitrates will always be spiking in my opinion.
I have a Tidal 55 HOB in the tank. There’s definitely at least 12inches between the filter intake and the bottom of the tank.
 

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acerrato said:
I have a Tidal 55 HOB in the tank. There’s definitely at least 12inches between the filter intake and the bottom of the tank.
I would definitely extend the intake by at least 6 inches
 
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acerrato

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KingJamal2 said:
I would definitely extend the intake by at least 6 inches
I actually made a mistake. It’s about 8 inches from the top of the sand. I’m wondering if I should get one of those internal sponge filters that sit on top of the substrate.

KingJamal2 said:
I would definitely extend the intake by at least 6 inches
The arm on my filter doesn’t extend down any more than it already is. Is there something I can purchase to extend it? I’ll take a look on Tidal’s website
 

Islandvic

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acerrato , Not sure if Tidal has an extension for the tube. Maybe Cichlidude knows?

If there isn't one, maybe try taking the intake tube down to the hardware store and see if some thick walled 3/4" I.D. vinyl tubing can slip over the end with the strainer removed. A short section of that will extend it down to where you need it. You might be in luck and find some black tubing that works. If it's a tight fit, run hot water over the end of the vinyl hose and it will make it soft enough to slip on the intake and strainer on the ends.

Even if you extend the intake strainer down a few inches more, that still may provide enough suction. The Tidals have the skimmer, so 100% of the suction doesn't come from the strainer. You may need to take the motor housing off and cut a bit of block foam sponge to fit inside where it intakes for the skimmer. The replacement Aquaclear refill sponges are good for doing this.

You asked about sponge filters. This may work very well on the opposite corner of the Tidal, but not all sponge filters are the same. Most sponge filters use a fine foam sponge material which is great for primarily biological filtration, though it takes a while to mechanically filter the water since the water flow through it is slower.

The best bet is to get one with a coarse foam sponge material and a decent airpump. The coarse foam will allow for a higher flow of water through it and catch a lot of muck.

Both Aquarium Co-Op website and the ATI brand have coarse sponge filters. I think all of Cory's sponge filters he sells @ the Co-Op site are coarse. With the ATI brand, their models with the name "Pro" use their coarse foam sponge material.

Also, the Swiss Tropicals website has a huge selection of their "Cubefilters" where you can select the sponge porosity. 20ppI would probably give you the most flow through it. Their "Jetlifter" up-lift tubes work different than the typical "stick an airline w/ an airstone down the tube and call it a day" type sponge filters. The Jetlifters are supposed to offer superior efficiency, with I believe an output of 4 to 1 ratio of volume of water to air supplied.

For example, in our 55 gallon African cichlid tank an ATI "Hydro Sponge III Pro" is in the corner with an ATI HS-II stacked on top. The coarse HS-III Pro on the bottom pulls in a lot of fish waste. I have the fine foam HS-II stacked on top to provide extra biological filtration and I can detach it and place it in a temporary quarantine/hospital tank as needed, while leaving the HS-III Pro in place .

Strategically placed plants and/or rocks can be used to help hide the sponge filter.

Finally, one last option you may look into is adding a small powerhead placed down low on a side wall and connected to a timer. Something like a Marineland Maxijet 750 or 1000 (160 and 230gph respectively) can be found on Amazon for $7-$9.

Place it on a mechanical for timer maybe 15 minutes every hour or 2 during the day time and off all night. That way the current can stir up anything laying on the substrate, allowing it to get sucked up by the filters. It being off at nite gives the fish a break so their can rest. I've seen fishkeepers on YouTube do this with cichlid tanks.
 
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acerrato

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Islandvic said:
acerrato , Not sure if Tidal has an extension for the tube. Maybe Cichlidude knows?

If there isn't one, maybe try taking the intake tube down to the hardware store and see if some thick walled 3/4" I.D. vinyl tubing can slip over the end with the strainer removed. A short section of that will extend it down to where you need it. You might be in luck and find some black tubing that works. If it's a tight fit, run hot water over the end of the vinyl hose and it will make it soft enough to slip on the intake and strainer on the ends.

Even if you extend the intake strainer down a few inches more, that still may provide enough suction. The Tidals have the skimmer, so 100% of the suction doesn't come from the strainer. You may need to take the motor housing off and cut a bit of block foam sponge to fit inside where it intakes for the skimmer. The replacement Aquaclear refill sponges are good for doing this.

You asked about sponge filters. This may work very well on the opposite corner of the Tidal, but not all sponge filters are the same. Most sponge filters use a fine foam sponge material which is great for primarily biological filtration, though it takes a while to mechanically filter the water since the water flow through it is slower.

The best bet is to get one with a coarse foam sponge material and a decent airpump. The coarse foam will allow for a higher flow of water through it and catch a lot of muck.

Both Aquarium Co-Op website and the ATI brand have coarse sponge filters. I think all of Cory's sponge filters he sells @ the Co-Op site are coarse. With the ATI brand, their models with the name "Pro" use their coarse foam sponge material.

Also, the Swiss Tropicals website has a huge selection of their "Cubefilters" where you can select the sponge porosity. 20ppI would probably give you the most flow through it. Their "Jetlifter" up-lift tubes work different than the typical "stick an airline w/ an airstone down the tube and call it a day" type sponge filters. The Jetlifters are supposed to offer superior efficiency, with I believe an output of 4 to 1 ratio of volume of water to air supplied.

For example, in our 55 gallon African cichlid tank an ATI "Hydro Sponge III Pro" is in the corner with an ATI HS-II stacked on top. The coarse HS-III Pro on the bottom pulls in a lot of fish waste. I have the fine foam HS-II stacked on top to provide extra biological filtration and I can detach it and place it in a temporary quarantine/hospital tank as needed, while leaving the HS-III Pro in place .

Strategically placed plants and/or rocks can be used to help hide the sponge filter.

Finally, one last option you may look into is adding a small powerhead placed down low on a side wall and connected to a timer. Something like a Marineland Maxijet 750 or 1000 (160 and 230gph respectively) can be found on Amazon for $7-$9.

Place it on a mechanical for timer maybe 15 minutes every hour or 2 during the day time and off all night. That way the current can stir up anything laying on the substrate, allowing it to get sucked up by the filters. It being off at nite gives the fish a break so their can rest. I've seen fishkeepers on YouTube do this with cichlid tanks.
Thank you so much! So I went out and purchased one of those internal fully submersible filters. I took the insides out and cut a piece of black foam and stuck it right in there. I put it at the opposite end of the tank and it definitely seems to be helping blow the debris upward. As you said, I will definitely have to turn it on and off daily- it’s making the “current” a bit too strong for my pristella’s. This will definitely help for now! Thanks so much!
 
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acerrato

acerrato

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Islandvic said:
acerrato , Not sure if Tidal has an extension for the tube. Maybe Cichlidude knows?

If there isn't one, maybe try taking the intake tube down to the hardware store and see if some thick walled 3/4" I.D. vinyl tubing can slip over the end with the strainer removed. A short section of that will extend it down to where you need it. You might be in luck and find some black tubing that works. If it's a tight fit, run hot water over the end of the vinyl hose and it will make it soft enough to slip on the intake and strainer on the ends.

Even if you extend the intake strainer down a few inches more, that still may provide enough suction. The Tidals have the skimmer, so 100% of the suction doesn't come from the strainer. You may need to take the motor housing off and cut a bit of block foam sponge to fit inside where it intakes for the skimmer. The replacement Aquaclear refill sponges are good for doing this.

You asked about sponge filters. This may work very well on the opposite corner of the Tidal, but not all sponge filters are the same. Most sponge filters use a fine foam sponge material which is great for primarily biological filtration, though it takes a while to mechanically filter the water since the water flow through it is slower.

The best bet is to get one with a coarse foam sponge material and a decent airpump. The coarse foam will allow for a higher flow of water through it and catch a lot of muck.

Both Aquarium Co-Op website and the ATI brand have coarse sponge filters. I think all of Cory's sponge filters he sells @ the Co-Op site are coarse. With the ATI brand, their models with the name "Pro" use their coarse foam sponge material.

Also, the Swiss Tropicals website has a huge selection of their "Cubefilters" where you can select the sponge porosity. 20ppI would probably give you the most flow through it. Their "Jetlifter" up-lift tubes work different than the typical "stick an airline w/ an airstone down the tube and call it a day" type sponge filters. The Jetlifters are supposed to offer superior efficiency, with I believe an output of 4 to 1 ratio of volume of water to air supplied.

For example, in our 55 gallon African cichlid tank an ATI "Hydro Sponge III Pro" is in the corner with an ATI HS-II stacked on top. The coarse HS-III Pro on the bottom pulls in a lot of fish waste. I have the fine foam HS-II stacked on top to provide extra biological filtration and I can detach it and place it in a temporary quarantine/hospital tank as needed, while leaving the HS-III Pro in place .

Strategically placed plants and/or rocks can be used to help hide the sponge filter.

Finally, one last option you may look into is adding a small powerhead placed down low on a side wall and connected to a timer. Something like a Marineland Maxijet 750 or 1000 (160 and 230gph respectively) can be found on Amazon for $7-$9.

Place it on a mechanical for timer maybe 15 minutes every hour or 2 during the day time and off all night. That way the current can stir up anything laying on the substrate, allowing it to get sucked up by the filters. It being off at nite gives the fish a break so their can rest. I've seen fishkeepers on YouTube do this with cichlid tanks.
Also, I do have the skimmer turned all the way down. I do have floating plants and their roots kept getting sucked into the skimmer so I turned it as low as it would go!
 

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