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How Can I Make My Sand Bottom Aquarium And Betta Fish Coexist In Peace? 10 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Anna Christine, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Anna Christine New Member Member

    Hello everyone,

    So here is my issue, I have a ten-gallon aquarium with a HOB filter. It's a lightly planted tank that contains one singular veil tail betta fish and a plethora of ramshorn snails that hitched a ride on a few of the live plants in my tank. Everything has been going fine except for one thing--the sand substrate on the bottom of my tank is atrocious.

    See the problem is that it seems almost impossible to keep the sand on the bottom of my tank clean. I've read the trick to keeping sand clean in your tank is water flow, but if I turn the water flow on the back of my tank all the way up so that it kicks all the nasty poop around it also unfortunate kick my poor betta around too. Also, the sand in my tank keeps turning grey in certain areas. I've asked before when it first showed up and someone said that it was anaerobic bacteria and to just leave it alone. Well I did and it went away, but it keeps coming back. Usually, after I clean my filter material, which is just a giant sponge in the back of the HOB. But sometimes it just randomly goes away and shows up again in between cleanings. (I ring the sponges out in some aquarium water to clean them.) I'm starting to think I need to cut the sponge in the back in half so I can clean it twice as often, but only half at a time so I'm not losing so much bacteria at once. I also have a sponge on the filter intake, so if I rotate around cleaning those maybe it will help. I don't know.

    Anyways, I wanted to know if anyone had any idea how I could keep the sand clean without causing my betta fish to live in chaos and if there is any way I could possibly keep this grey stuff from popping up in random places on my sand. (I say random but it's really not it always comes in the same specific spot.) Would a deeper sand bed help? (My sand bed is only 1in deep.) Do I need to do more water changes in my tank? (My tank is fully cycled and I haven't run into any ammonia spikes or anything yet.) I usually do a 25%-50% water change after two weeks. I changing the water too much? Too often? I honestly don't mind the stuff being there if it's helping keep things clean and not harming my fish, but it looks atrocious. And I'm really worried about keeping my sand clean because I don't want it to be gross and cause my fish to get sick or anything.

    I should mention that the sand in the bottom of my tank is pool filter sand. And my tank has been up and running for about six months.

    Here's a random picture of my fish for your trouble.

  2. DuaneV Well Known Member Member

    Youre probably changing too little not enough. Most people do 50% or more once a week. That seems to be the general consensus.

    As far as your issues, I only use sand substrate and Ive never experienced what youre describing. Sand is great because all the garbage that needs to be vacuumed out sits right on top of it so you can get it easy, unlike gravel, where all the poop and garbage creeps down into the cracks. Maybe you need to vacuum more/better?

  3. kallililly1973 Well Known Member Member

    Beautiful Betta. You could always make a diverter on your output like a piece of plastic from a water bottle. there are a lot of vids on Youtube that have simple solutions. Also in between water changes you can take a turkey baster and blow the stuff towards your filter. or suck it up and remove it that way
  4. Anna Christine New Member Member

    I'll start changing the water more often then. One of the reasons I haven't been changing the water as often is because since it is a ten-gallon tank with only one fish the nitrates tend to stay pretty low. But maybe it's still a problem. I'm thinking about just tossing all the sand it the bottom of my aquarium and starting with some fresh sand. I believe one of the problems it that at one point and time a bunch of poop and stuff got mixed in the sand somehow and that's one of the reasons there is a buncha anaerobic bacteria in it. Do you have any advice on how I could be vacuuming my sand better? I usually just take the gravel vacuum and hover it over the sand to try and get all the nasty out, but it can be hard to get it close enough to pick all the nasty up without getting the sand too. It's a weird balance.
  5. DuaneV Well Known Member Member

    I vacuum the same way. If you had a bunch of garbage mixed in it, that will be an issue for sure since you cant shove the vacuum into the sand without sucking up a ton of it. Definitely try more frequent and larger water changes.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  6. Anna Christine New Member Member

    I've actually tried the turkey baster thing before. But all the nasty seems to fall out before I can lift it out of the tank. Maybe I'll try blowing it closer to the filter. There are some tricky spots in the tank after all.
  7. Algonquin Well Known Member Member

    It takes a little longer, but you can always use a section of airline tubing as a siphon. Just tie a chopstick (or something similar) to the end of the tube for support. Put that end in the tank, suck on the other end till the water starts to flow, and then quickly stick it into a bucket. The water will flow fairly slowly, because the diameter of the tube is so small, but it will provide enough suction to 'spot clean' your sand. I learned this method here on fishlore, for cleaning a shrimp tank, but I also use it in my other tanks for a quick spot clean if I'm not doing a water change. It's also a handy method if you want to vacuum in areas that your regular siphon is too big to get into, like between plants etc, or if you want to do a w/c or vac without disturbing the tank inhabitants :)
    I would suggest you try this a couple times a week (or as needed) to clean up the sand, in between water changes (which should be done weekly). Should keep your tank looking good! :)