Best way to clean sand? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 11 Old 03-08-2013, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
Best way to clean sand?

Hello fish fanatics,
I am wondering what is the best way to clean sand without to much disruption of a tank. All of my tanks have sand in them as substrate and I am wondering what is the most effective and efficient way to get rid of the waste/poop build up on the sand? I have tried a couple of things but I am sure that there is a better way!
Any suggestions, hints or tips would be greatly appreciated :)


Posted via Mobile Device
chirpchirp is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 11 Old 03-08-2013, 11:17 PM
MoneyMitch's Avatar
dont think theres really a "easy" way to go about it, all ive ever done is get the siphon as close to the sand as you can and that will suck up all the loose nastys.
MoneyMitch is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 03-08-2013, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
the syphon I have is a gravel one as I used to have gravel in the tanks is it the same deal or smaller maybe?
Posted via Mobile Device
chirpchirp is offline  
post #4 of 11 Old 03-08-2013, 11:28 PM
jeaninel's Avatar
You can use the same syphon. Just hover it over the sand about 1/2" and it will suck up debri on top. Not hard at all.
Posted via Mobile Device
jeaninel is offline  
post #5 of 11 Old 03-09-2013, 12:01 AM
One of the best ways I know of to clean sand is to use your fingers and lightly stir up the sand on top. This causes organics to suspend in the water and the fall down/settle. Then you can take something like a python, or a gravel vac, hold it above the sand and suck up the organics but not the sand itself.
Sanguinefox is offline  
post #6 of 11 Old 03-09-2013, 12:35 AM
jaysee's Avatar
Originally Posted by chirpchirp View Post
the syphon I have is a gravel one as I used to have gravel in the tanks is it the same deal or smaller maybe?
Posted via Mobile Device
They are one and the same. However, i would suggest removing the vac tube part. All you need is the hose - you'll get better suction that way and will be easier to get specific spots. Often, waste will collect in certain spots.

Weak filtration and circulation also contributes to waste build up in the tank, as does over feeding.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
jaysee is online now  
post #7 of 11 Old 03-09-2013, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
The tank is all good with filtration / circulation and I probably slightly underfed but its from the snails mostly I think, they eat fish poop but not their own unfortunately.
I shall give it a go, thanks for the advice guys sounds easier than what i've been doing :)
Posted via Mobile Device
chirpchirp is offline  
post #8 of 11 Old 03-09-2013, 08:13 AM
JDM's Avatar
I bought the narrowest vac I could find, see pic. It's a python product. It works great but the only issue is if I try to pickup dead leaves, sometimes they get stuck in the hose.

I wave the end of the tube over the area I want to clean, any crap gets stirred up I just suck it up while its suspended. I actually have so very little detritus build up that I have all but stopped trying to stir it up anymore. I just go around the dead spots, corners and beside the rock and around the driftwood. I honestly would have expected that over twenty fish would produce more crap based on what others say about their tanks.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg image.jpg (46.8 KB, 33 views)

Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
JDM is offline  
post #9 of 11 Old 03-09-2013, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
That looks like a good one mine is much wider probably the standard gravel vac size i'm not sure. I'll have to hunt down a narrower one.
My fish don't produce too much waste either but none the less I find my current methods rather tedious but I like the idea of a narrower tube would be much easier to pin point dead areas instead of drawing too much up at once.
Still tricky around plants but no doubt the narrower tube will make it a bit easier too
Posted via Mobile Device
chirpchirp is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 03-09-2013, 11:03 AM
The gravel siphon, hovered and/or swirled just above the surface is your best method of removing mulm...if you need to. However, if you have rooted plants, don't over look that this material makes excellent organic fertilizer for those plants as it feeds the substrate bio-filter.
If there is larger plant waste that may clog the siphon hose, I'll sometimes swirl a fishnet to collect it prior to using the gravel siphon.

Some feel that mulm on the substrate is a sign of insufficient circulation or filter flow but this material that settles is best kept out of the filter. Why? IMHO, because the filter with high velocity water flow and decomposition bacteria very quickly erodes, dissolves and converts this material into dissolved organic compounds (DOCs) that pollute the water column. Excess DOCs encourage an abundance of unwanted heterotrophic bacteria and if not cloudy, water that has a yellow or brown tinge and sometimes a fishy or foul odor. The filter is best reserved for collection of suspension 'floaters' and purifying the water.

If/when left on the substrate, mulm decomposes very slowly and feeds the substrate beneficial biology that in turn feeds any rooted plants OR is very easily siphoned away during weekly water changes.

Father Knows Best but Abbey knows everything! I once knew everything, then I asked one question.
` ...><((((>` . . ` . . . ><((((> . ` .. . ><((((>
AbbeysDad is offline  

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Play sand - how clean is "clean enough"? iamgray Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 7 06-02-2012 12:57 PM
Can you clean sand indoors? Grimmjow Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 2 12-29-2010 09:17 AM
best way to clean sand bed? michelleandbrett Saltwater Aquarium Equipment 3 12-30-2008 07:57 PM
clean sand Rogergolf66 Beginner Saltwater Aquariums 3 05-07-2007 05:55 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome