Question about using sand in aquariums

PearsonRealize

I have been maintaining a large tank for around a year so I’m not new to the aquarium hobby... but that one uses gravel.

I recently got a smaller tank and decided to use some fluorite sand on the bottom of it since I plan to have a lot of plants and because it was just something different, and I’m having issues with the cloudiness.

I expected it to be cloudy, and it settles after around a day, but it settles on the limited amount of plants I have in it right now and shaking the sand off the plants seems to create just more cloudiness. I also had to shake it off some wood I had in there. When I woke up this morning, the water was pretty decently clear, but now that I’ve shaken the sand off the stuff it’s back to being really bad.

So, my questions are:

  1. Over time, will the sand be less easily disturbed? I know I’m going to have to vacuum it out and have to put plants and stuff in it and if it gets this cloudy at the drop of a pin endlessly, I might want to rethink using sand.
  2. and if it doesn’t get less easily disturbed over time, and I have to replant some plants or other things that will shake it up, will it harm the fish?
  3. and should I keep the filter off? Right now it’s off, but say I have to clean off a plant and it gets slightly cloudy. Should I turn the filter off then?
  4. if cloudiness is going to be an issue for a while, are there better alternatives that still allow for plants?
 

Ryngwrayth

Did you pre rinse the sand until the water ran clear?

I only have experience with pool filter sand and if rinsed well the clouding is minor and only for a few hours. My tank is planted and my sand does not move unless I move it or the bristlenose moves it.

my tank is 60 gals and has two AQ70’s running full time, sand doesn’t move.
 
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Diane 007

It sounds like you didn’t rinse it well enough before adding to the tank. I would keep the filter running and add in some filter floss.
 
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Evergreen2

I got about 15 Ibs of the stuff for a 20G long that I did back in July. I was not happy with it. I rinsed the stuff for a good hour for the entire amount. Still ended up with a cloudy tank after turning the filter off overnight, for a good week afterwards. I ended up draining the tank, and then capping with some black blasting sand.


Had I rinsed it till it was clear, I'm pretty sure there wouldn't have been much left...
 
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PearsonRealize

It sounds like you didn’t rinse it well enough before adding to the tank. I would keep the filter running and add in some filter floss.

I will try filter floss, thanks. I didn’t rinse it for a few reasons, one because I have actually tried rinsing a similar product in the past before adding it and it only made it worse, and two, the bag said rinsing is not normally needed. If I were to take all the sand out and rinse it, before putting it back in the tank, would that help?
Did you pre rinse the sand until the water ran clear?

I only have experience with pool filter sand and if rinsed well the clouding is minor and only for a few hours. My tank is planted and my sand does not move unless I move it or the bristlenose moves it.

my tank is 60 gals and has two AQ70’s running full time, sand doesn’t move.
No, I didn’t. I wish I did. Do you think taking all the sand out, putting it in a bag and rinsing it will help or will it be pointless?
 
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ProudPapa

Do you think taking all the sand out, putting it in a bag and rinsing it will help or will it be pointless?

I wouldn't. At this point I'd just leave it and eventually it will get better. One thing you might try; next time when you see the fine particles settle on plants or wood try swirling your gravel vac over them instead of just shaking it off. Hopefully that will suck it up instead of just putting it back into the water column.

I'll agree with the comments above about using pool filter sand in the future. I've used two different brands. One of them doesn't need any rinsing, and the other needs so little I don't bother, since any cloudiness is gone the next day.
 
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