I just changed my tank to a sand subtrate recently too, I love it, it looks great and brightens up the tank a little bit. I used the play sand from home depot too, it's tan but look great. I'm getting another tank soon and I plan to go with white play sand if I can find some. It may be a seasonal thing.
Not washing the sand is not a huge deal, it will just take a lot longer to settle. Pretty much all your doing when you rinse out your sand is getting rid of all the small debri(twigs, sticks, dirt) which is what is floating in your tank right now, be patient and it'll settle.
Originally Posted by watts300
I think I'll fill it up the rest of the way and then turn on the filter. I haven't added any water conditioner yet. I'll wait till it's clear first.
I would wait until the sand settles in your tank a little more...if you still have some sand floating around, it might burn out your motor on your filter.
If you just added the water to your tank, are you going to do a fishless cycle? It's reccommended, it takes about 3-4weeks to fully cycle, here's a link to read up on it, you and your fish will appreciate it later. Wait on adding the fish until it's cycled or else you're setting yourself up for a lot of water changes Fishless Cycling Made Easy
As far as cleaning, you can still use a gravel vac, you can't just jam it in there like you did with gravel. I usually just hoover over the sand and it picks it up just fine.
Cories are great, I just picked some up this last weekend, got 6 of them and they love it!