How To Take Care Of Sand

Caroline J

Member
Hello! I ordered a bag of sand as the substrate for my 20 gallon and it arrived today. Before I wash it and put it in, I was wondering if anyone had any tips on taking care of sand, and any past mistakes you’ve made. Yes, I have read articles and watching videos already but I wanted to see if anyone else had anything else to offer for advice. Thank you in advance! -Caroline
 

NavyChief20

Member
Caroline J said:
Hello! I ordered a bag of sand as the substrate for my 20 gallon and it arrived today. Before I wash it and put it in, I was wondering if anyone had any tips on taking care of sand, and any past mistakes you’ve made. Yes, I have read articles and watching videos already but I wanted to see if anyone else had anything else to offer for advice. Thank you in advance! -Caroline
If its pool filter sand it won't need much rinsing. Otherwise, rinse repeat rinse repeat. During water changes skI'm the sand surface and then stir it with a plastic stick. Helps turn it over abit.
 

Bryangar

Member
Try not to overfeed it, it tends to get bloated easily. I believe it likes to be in groups of 100k+ so 3” or more is recommended. Pretty easy to care for tbh
 
  • Thread Starter

Caroline J

Member
NavyChief20 said:
If its pool filter sand it won't need much rinsing. Otherwise, rinse repeat rinse repeat. During water changes skI'm the sand surface and then stir it with a plastic stick. Helps turn it over abit.
I don’t believe it’s pool filter sand, it’s from the brand CaribSea! Yes absolutely, thank you so much for the advice! How often would you recommend stirring it?

bryangar said:
Try not to overfeed it, it tends to get bloated easily. I believe it likes to be in groups of 100k+ so 3” or more is recommended. Pretty easy to care for tbh
Sorry I believe you might have posted this on the wrong question! Mine was wondering about any experience with sand for freshwater aquariums.
 

JamieLu

Member
Caroline J said:
Sorry I believe you might have posted this on the wrong question! Mine was wondering about any experience with sand for freshwater aquariums.
It was a joke, bryangar was talking about taking care of the sand as if it were a fish lol
 

NavyChief20

Member
Caroline J said:
I don’t believe it’s pool filter sand, it’s from the brand CaribSea! Yes absolutely, thank you so much for the advice! How often would you recommend stirring it?
I do my sand with every water change. So its all day sundays for me.
 
  • Thread Starter

Caroline J

Member
JamieLu said:
It was a joke, bryangar was talking about taking care of the sand as if it were a fish lol
Oh! Man that was a good joke and I didn’t even get to appreciate it lol. I didn’t see the 100k part. Thanks for the laugh, I needed it

NavyChief20 said:
I do my sand with every water change. So its all day sundays for me.
Ah ok that’s a good idea, thank you so much!

NavyChief20 said:
If its pool filter sand it won't need much rinsing. Otherwise, rinse repeat rinse repeat. During water changes skI'm the sand surface and then stir it with a plastic stick. Helps turn it over abit.
Oh hey if you don’t mind I had one more question- would I be ok rinsing the sand with tap water? I’m assuming so, but I wanted to make sure. Should I douse it with tank water after I’m done?
 

FishMommer

Member
Hi, I already made my first mistake with it? Not sure maybe or maybe not. On the bag it actually recommends cutting a whole in one end (and the other) putting a hose in to rinse and letting it leak out the other end. Then you have it all contained already when it is time to put it in the tank? Instead I did the bucket method, not sure that was the best method for This sand? Also wondering if I might prefer pool send next go around.

Anyway, as I was rinsing it I felt like I was really just losing the sand I purchased. Water was not so dirty and seemed to clear up as the sand settled? So I put it in the tank this evening and will see. Just scooped it out of the bucket with an old large mcD's cup I have been using. Only filled half with water and will finish tomorrow. As the time passes it is settling and cloudiness is going away. Filter is not on yet. Tomorrow for that too. Did it all with tap water. Not conditioned yet either.

Hope that is somewhat helpful? Or someone can tell you how wrong I was and help even more maybe? Live & learn.
 
  • Thread Starter

Caroline J

Member
FishMommer said:
Hi, I already made my first mistake with it? Not sure maybe or maybe not. On the bag it actually recommends cutting a whole in one end (and the other) putting a hose in to rinse and letting it leak out the other end. Then you have it all contained already when it is time to put it in the tank? Instead I did the bucket method, not sure that was the best method for This sand? Also wondering if I might prefer pool send next go around.

Anyway, as I was rinsing it I felt like I was really just losing the sand I purchased. Water was not so dirty and seemed to clear up as the sand settled? So I put it in the tank this evening and will see. Just scooped it out of the bucket with an old large mcD's cup I have been using. Only filled half with water and will finish tomorrow. As the time passes it is settling and cloudiness is going away. Filter is not on yet. Tomorrow for that too. Did it all with tap water. Not conditioned yet either.

Hope that is somewhat helpful? Or someone can tell you how wrong I was and help even more maybe? Live & learn.
Ahh ok I’m actually using the bucket method right now! I wouldn’t exactly be completely inconvenienced if I had to purchase another bag from loosing some sand, but I would be rather frustrated. Thank you so much for your experiences, I really appreciate it!! Let me know how it goes, goodluck!
 

FishMommer

Member
Yes. Good luck to you!
 

kallililly1973

Member
also during your WC's if your using a water changer ( Python or the like ) you can take a turkey baster in one hand an the WC apparatus in the other and that will stir the waste around as it will sit on the surface more so than in crevices like gravel at least how it is with pool filter sand.. And when I do it I usually work the turkey baster towards my filter intakes to help it get sucked up if any is missed by my water changer
 
  • Thread Starter

Caroline J

Member
kallililly1973 said:
also during your WC's if your using a water changer ( Python or the like ) you can take a turkey baster in one hand an the WC apparatus in the other and that will stir the waste around as it will sit on the surface more so than in crevices like gravel at least how it is with pool filter sand.. And when I do it I usually work the turkey baster towards my filter intakes to help it get sucked up if any is missed by my water changer
Ooh that’s a good idea! Thank you so much, I’ll definitely keep that in mind. I appreciate it!
 

FishMommer

Member
How did it go? I am curious.

Go figure things did settle over night but still much cloudiness this morning. So I emptied the cloudy water but at least the sand was not in the water (or little compared to when I rinsed with the bucket. Will work on it later. Still need to set up filter etc. too.
 

tfreema

Member
I have added sand (pool filter and black diamond blasting) to many many tanks. The trick is to rinse, rinse, rinse in a bucket with a hose that has a sprayer to really churn it up. As the bucket fills up, pour off the excess to get the smaller particles dumped out. You will lose some sand this way, but it is worth it to not have that clouding up your tank. Keep that up until the water is running clear.

I do not stir my sand after initially adding it, but I have sand sifters in most tanks and I keep the depth to 2.5" or below. It is deeper sand beds that really have a potential to trap and produce anaerobic gases which can be fatal to fish once released. I do initially use a rake to stir up all areas releasing air bubbles trapped when adding the sand. Once that is done, I leave it to settle on its own.

During weekly water changes, I stir up the very top layer a little bit by getting the vacuum as close as possible while not sticking it down into the sand. Most debris will sit on top, but smaller particles do settle into the very top layer, especially if you do not have something like cories to keep it fresh (my ADF and rabbit snail tank is the worst so I actually move the top layer around a little bit and some sand gets sucked up into the python).
 

Mary_Selix

Member
I disconnected the siphone chamber from the hose for cleaning gravel and used a rubber band and attached a plastic fork to it. Just the forks prongs about 1/2" stuck out past the hose (to shuffle the sand surface) like a rake. I used the ball to start syphone action and clean up food and waste then syphone the remainder of the water for your WC. I am considering buying another entire syphone system and using a hot glue gun to heavily use the glue to attach the fork end to just the hose itself for sand surface lol. I'm a believer in redneck ingenuity lol. But that's what I use. Works great AND makes the sand look so clean with the fork marks. Best of luck.
 

Mirplayer

Member
I don't touch my sand. I repeatedly read over at the saltwater forums not to touch it, and even seen them mocking us freshwater people for stirring it up and vacuuming it. I haven't touched it in over half a year except to even it out as it tends to move with the current. It helps home extra denitrifying anaerobic bacteria, and is a pretty good medium to stick some plants in.

*Just to add, my sand also still has it's nice yellow colour and looks clean. Either stuff breaks down and gets buried in the sand and eaten by bacteria and plants, or it just dissolves and becomes mulm in the bottom of my filter. Probably a process of both.
 

Sharkaroid

Member
How thick must be the sand layer so that bad anaerobic gases don't accumulate?
 

Fanatic

Member
Sharkaroid said:
How thick must be the sand layer so that bad anaerobic gases don't accumulate?
I typically don't recommend exceeding an inch for a non-planted tank, or about 2-2 1/2 for a planted tank, but if you are really diligent with vacuuming then you may be able to go deeper depending on the plants you have.
 

mgm53

Member
To help with the cleaning of sand and not have it siphoned out, what I do is to get a powerhead (doesn't need to be expensive) designed to go on a lift tube. The end on the powerhead should be tapered so it can fit into a number of different sized openings. Get a small disposable bottle used for drinking water and cut the bottom off. Put some filter floss into the bottom and insert the powerhead tapered end into the top of the bottle. If the bottle openig is too large wrap some electrical tape onto the tapered end. When powered on you can pass the bottle bottom over and into the sand in your tank. Any sand will get trapped in the floss and not enter your pump. After some use you'll be able to use the pump without pulling up any sand up. When dirty remove the plastic bottle and rinse the floss for reuse.
 

radar

Member
I only use thin layer of sand 1" or so. Still use yard stick to stir sand up. I really don't worry about picking sand up while skimming sand. When I dump old water I use sprayer to clean sand and reuse it. Pool filter sand is inexpensive but "waste not,want not" I was told as a youngster.
 

Thunder_o_b

Member
Filtration, filtration, filtration.

Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.
 

SpartanMark

Member
Thank you all for the great ideas!!! I'm getting surface algae on my sand in one of my tanks. At least I think it's algae! I really don't mind the look but I'm wondering if it could cause problems. Thanks in advance for your input.
 

H2O Concierge

Member
In my experience when preparing the sand rinse, rinse, rinse. And then rinse again. I have Carib Sea African Cichlid Mix that wasn't too difficult to get rinsed so as not to create cloudy water. How you "take care" of your sand depends sometimes on the type of setup you have. I too used to vac my sand , being accustomed to unplanted gravel substrates, but not any more. All my tanks are planted and they use the nutrients in the sand and or gravel to grow. As mentioned earlier...be careful not to over feed. If you do it will cause water parameters to change and eventually can cause pockets of decaying matter to release gases harmful to the fish. But as with most things nature has a way of correcting it's imbalances. Surprises surprise. One night you turn your lights on and the glass is covered with DREADED MTS. So you reduce your feeding, try to remove the snails, and go buy some ASSASSINS. That is if you don't have other snails that you care to keep. I thought snails were a curse, but in the right numbers I have found them to be beneficial in keeping the sand sifted, being an indicator of what is going on in my tank, as well as taking care of dead plant matter. Hope that this helps.
 

BitsNbobs

Member
Caroline J said:
Hello! I ordered a bag of sand as the substrate for my 20 gallon and it arrived today. Before I wash it and put it in, I was wondering if anyone had any tips on taking care of sand, and any past mistakes you’ve made. Yes, I have read articles and watching videos already but I wanted to see if anyone else had anything else to offer for advice. Thank you in advance! -Caroline
Caroline J said:
Hello! I ordered a bag of sand as the substrate for my 20 gallon and it arrived today. Before I wash it and put it in, I was wondering if anyone had any tips on taking care of sand, and any past mistakes you’ve made. Yes, I have read articles and watching videos already but I wanted to see if anyone else had anything else to offer for advice. Thank you in advance! -Caroline
I switched from gravel to "Caribsea Super Naturals" substrate...Every since, all my community guys, (especially AD-frogs), are much happier/healthier! Tank looks much prettier too. In transitioning to sand, I recommend you read the bag instructions very thoroughly, esp. where it says you can bypass cycling because all the bbb is built-in it; therefore, I didn't rinse it more than a few times. Water changes are not an issue. I've never lost too much sand in my 20 gallon tank, very little if any.


 

H2O Concierge

Member
BitsNbobs said:
I switched from gravel to "Caribsea Super Naturals" substrate...Every since, all my community guys, (especially AD-frogs), are much happier/healthier! Tank looks much prettier too. In transitioning to sand, I recommend you read the bag instructions very thoroughly, esp. where it says you can bypass cycling because all the bbb is built-in it; therefore, I didn't rinse it more than a few times. Water changes are not an issue. I've never lost too much sand in my 20 gallon tank, very little if any.


Good choice. For fish who require a higher ph and hardness I use
. My Tanganyikans love it. In my smaller tanks that I don't want to buffer the ph I use.
 

Whits17

Member
Hoping I can just pop in here with a question.

Thinking of changing my substrate from eco-complete to sand in my 75 gal. In the tank I have:
4 x clown loaches
3 x yoyo loaches
7 x black widow tetras
1 x angelfish
1 x moonlight gourami
1 x BN
1 x blue acara
Plants don't stay very long in the tank so only have plastic ones.
After reading the above posts and the trouble with algae (lights are turned on for 3 hours each night, and the tank is near the kitchen so has incidental light in the morning).
Parameters are: Ph between 7.6-8 Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 30.
If I purchased any snails the loaches would make quick work of them, so wondering if it would actually be possible.
Thanks.
 

BitsNbobs

Member
H2O Concierge said:
Good choice. For fish who require a higher ph and hardness I use
. My Tanganyikans love it. In my smaller tanks that I don't want to buffer the ph I use.
H2O Concierge said:
Good choice. For fish who require a higher ph and hardness I use
. My Tanganyikans love it. In my smaller tanks that I don't want to buffer the ph I use.
I didn't think about the chemistry involved, thanks; but, all my guys /girls seem to thrive living on the sand! The mortality rate went down as soon as I made the switch, especially my 4 frogs. They are all over the 1 year mark and 2 are going on 2 years old! My plants don't do very well in it though; eventually, they all get covered in black algae. Maybe because of the higher ph and hardness factor?
 

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