06-02-2012, 11:56 AM
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I'll pass along my trick to shortcut this a tad. In a 2-3 gallon pail, only clean maybe 3 or 4 cups of sand max at a time. Rinse maybe 6 or 7 times, swishing the sand and pouring off the cloudy/dirty water. After 6 times, I run the water in without swirling and if I can see the sand through the water I consider it OK. After dumping all the sand in the tank and leveling it, fill the tank about 1/3. Arrange the wood, rock, etc. (this stirs up the sand again); if the wood/rock came from an existing tank, use a dechlorinator when you add the water to preserve bacteria, otherwise not necessary. Plant. When wood/rock is finalized, siphon out the water as much as you can, down to the sand (make a small depression somewhere to get as much water as possible). Then fill the tank, adding the dechlorinator, and using a clean soup bowl or similar to avoid disturbing the sand. It will not be crystal clear, but it won't be bad. This usually clears in a couple days.