Best way to rinse sand? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
Best way to rinse sand?

I've looked around a lot of places for ideas on how you are supposed to rinse sand before putting it in an aquarium set up. So far I've heard that you can take something like panty hose and use it to strain it, or just put it in a buck it and use your hand to sort of swish it and drain till the water empties clear.

I am wondering what tactics do you all suggest that is both realistic when it comes to cost and time for doing this? What do you all do when you rinse the sand? I will be adding sand to a 75 gallon aquarium once I get the tank in. Also are there benefits of natural colors over more bright colors? Also are there certain brands to avoid? Sorry if I ask so many questions, I'm upgrading my tank and going sand this time and I cannot afford to mess up since my two Bichirs will go into this new aquarium.
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post #2 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 09:37 PM
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I stick it in a pillow case and hose inside until the water starts to clear up. Place it in the empty tank and place a bowl inside, slowly fill with water so the water overflows the bowl and into the tank so it doesnt stir the sand up as much. Leave it settling for about an hour or more if you can and then run your filters. 24 hours later you should be able to see the back of the tank. This obviously depends on what grain of sand you have. Most of my newer sand i just place in the tank and fill with the filters running straight away....ive wasted way too much time rinsing sand to last me a lifetime !
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post #3 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 09:46 PM
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The method I use gets very clean sand (no cloudiness at all!) but is messy and wastes a lot of sand. Since I use super cheap play sand, this doesn't bother me much. But if you're using the fancy stuff from the pet store, don't try this at home! Well, not unless you're rich.

I do this outside. I use a 3 gallon bucket. I put about 2 or 3 inches of sand in the bottom. I have a nozzle on my garden hose that allows for a single pressurized stream of water. I aim the the water at the sand and blast it to kingdom come! I make sure to blast each area of the bottom, and make sure that the spray moves all the sand so that I can actually see the bottom of the bucket where the water spray is aimed (if that makes sense). It helps to have a bucket that is a much different color than the sand. (I use tan sand and a blue bucket.) That way I know I'm getting all the sand up and moving around. When there's about 3 inches of water above the sand, I stop the water and immediately tip the bucket and pour off the dirty water. I repeat this about 5 or 6 times. You'll start to see when the water isn't as cloudy. Then for about 5 or 6 times, I squat down and actually get the nozzle down in the sand, making sure to really move the sand around with the force of the water and being sure to get all areas. Again, I pour off the water immediately after switching off the spray. Then when I can see the water is getting kinda clear, for maybe 5 or 10 times I let the water and sand settle for about 10 seconds before I pour off the water.

I strongly recommend eye protection! This method sometimes shoots sandy water into the air, if you hit the side of the bucket right. I use sunglasses. And, bonus, you'll look cool.

Then I scoop the sand into an empty tank. I put a bowl on the sand, and pour water into the bowl to fill the aquarium.

With this method, I get crystal clear water from the start. I have used this method on different tanks ranging from 10g to 55g, and always have excellent results.

For a 75g tank, I would recommend 3 bags of play sand, which will cost you about $9 to $12. The only real downside to play sand is that it only comes in shades of tan (which varies between brands but also varies between batches of the same brand), at least where I am. This method also works with pool filter sand and blasting sand, which are more expensive. I have no experience with these types, and I would be very careful about the sharpness/abrasiveness of these products.

"My dither fish need dither fish!"
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post #4 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 09:54 PM
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Warning! Don't run your filter on a tank that is cloudy due to sand if you have an HOB style filter! You'll kill your impeller in a hot minute! This method is only safe with canister and sponge filters!

Also, if you have an HOB, you'll want to fit a sponge over the intake tube. In an HOB, the water goes past the impeller before it hits the mechanical filtration that would screen out sand. So this is why sand kills the impellor. On canisters, the water goes through mechanical filtration before it hits any moving parts. And sponge filters don't have any moving parts, of course. So fit a pre-filter sponge over your intake tube on an HOB in case a fish kicks up some sand while the filter's running. Bonus, the sponge will increase your biofiltration and increase the longevity of your mechanical filtration.

Good luck!

"My dither fish need dither fish!"
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post #5 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 09:56 PM
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Or to save you the hassle of all of the above I would recommend

White sand - Leslie's pool filter sand located all over the states
Black sand - northern tool supplies black diamond sand blasting sand . Both come in bags of 50lb and cost less than $10 and neither need a serious rinse.

Or for a cool unique look throw them in together for a salt and pepper look !
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post #6 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 10:10 PM
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Also, to add re: bright substrate colors...
Fish deserve a natural habitat, and this produces calm, comfortable fish. Their habitat is what they've evolved to expect from their environment, and they have evolved adaptations to that specific environment. For example, a freshwater fish's color will reflect its comfort with its environment. An example of one way the color is a gauge for comfort- A fish kept on a light substrate with have lighter colors and be more nervous, and a fish kept on a dark substrate will have richer, more vibrant colors and be calmer (all things being equal).
We want to strive to do our very best for the fish in our care, and to keep them in the most compassionate and humane way possible. Bright colors are unnatural to them. They are most comfortable with natural, dark colored substrate. Lighter natural colors can be used if the substrate is covered by heavy planting or leaf litter. Like, I use tan colored sand, which is pretty light, but two of my sand tanks have leaf litter which effectively darkens the "floor", and the other is heavily planted and has driftwood and rocks, so neither me nor the fish can see much of the "floor" anyway.
The other aspect is that unnaturally colored substrates are sometimes synthetically dyed or coated. I would worry that these dyes or coatings can negatively impact the fish when the finish becomes old or scratched. For example, I have some black gravel from years ago that isn't actually black rock, its some sort of white rock coated in some sort of black stuff. And over time this coating has flaked off, now its black and white gravel! What effect does the flaked off coating have on the fish? I don't know, but I can't imagine it would be positive. (Also, on a economic level, it is much wiser to purchase natural rock or sand that will never degrade rather than synthetically colored ones that will have to be replaced periodically.)

So that's my thought on that!

"My dither fish need dither fish!"
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post #7 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
Wow I appreciate all the great responses. I think I will definitely go with a darker color substrate. I will look into getting a sponge thing to go over both my filter's intake. I will also look into the different options for the darker colored sand.
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post #8 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 10:51 PM
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Tahitian moon sand is a good option for dark substrate...

10g Fry / Hospital / QT tank (as needed)

75g Saltwater Reef, Ocellaris Clownfish, Lyretail Antias (baby), Lemon damsel, Longtail Fairy Wrasse, purple dottyback, snails, crabs and a few LPS corals.

220g Still sitting empty (come on Lottery I need the numbers to come up!)
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post #9 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
Originally Posted by Tazman View Post
Tahitian moon sand is a good option for dark substrate...
I'll have to check that out when I look into the local stores and their prices.
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post #10 of 19 Old 03-09-2012, 12:31 AM
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If you're planning to have any type of bottom feeders or substrate fish, or fish that like to sift through the sand, be very careful with your choice of sand. Sand is DEF ideal for these types of fish IF it is the right kind of sand. I've heard of people having problems with sand blasting sand and Tahitian Moon Sand. People have reported barbel erosion and infection with these sands in substrate fish, and gill inflammation in sifting fish. I'm not sure about other types of sand. I can say that I haven't heard bad things about play sand, and my own experience has been trouble-free.

The planning stage is so exciting! Good luck!

"My dither fish need dither fish!"
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