Tips for cleaning sand prior to use... - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 29 Old 05-08-2011, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
Lightbulb Tips for cleaning sand prior to use...

In June, I am planning on re-doing my 29 gallon's aquascape. Its currently gravel and a bunch of artificial plants and a fake driftwood log. I am going to redo the substrate to natural colored sand (playsand) and all live plants and am hoping to go to a local lake and find a nice medium sized piece of driftwood (and some native live plants). Waiting until June because this month I am finishing up the planting on my 15 gallon.

Anyways... I had a heck of a time cleaning the aquarium sand for my 15 gallon, and I plan on using playsand in the 29 gallon (much much cheaper!!!). So I am looking for tips on the easiest & quickest way to clean playsand for first use.

Thanks in advance for any tips & advice for cleaning the playsand for the future re-aquascape.

*They call me, Amanda*
Tank 1: (29 gal planted) empty
Tank 2: (15 gal) empty
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post #2 of 29 Old 05-08-2011, 10:51 PM
i was just prepping sand for my 1g tank, way smaller scale than your 29g, but i put the sand in a bowl and had my sink running lightly into the bowl so it was overflowing at the sides and then slowly stirred the sand. I think the same idea can be done with sand in a bucket with a hose and a stick. gets the light dust out and keeps the denser sand.
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post #3 of 29 Old 05-08-2011, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SinCrisis View Post
i was just prepping sand for my 1g tank, way smaller scale than your 29g, but i put the sand in a bowl and had my sink running lightly into the bowl so it was overflowing at the sides and then slowly stirred the sand. I think the same idea can be done with sand in a bucket with a hose and a stick. gets the light dust out and keeps the denser sand.
Unfortunately, I live in a 2nd floor apartment, so a hose isnt an option.

When I did the sand for the 15g, I put it in my water change bucket and did what you described in my kitchen sink with it in the bucket. It was just one bag of Super Naturals Aquarium Sand, and it took an hour of cleaning it in the bucket, then it took like 4-5 water changes in the tank. I know it will be twice as much effort for the 29g, but I have never used playsand, and I dont know how it compares to the aqauarium sand...or if its just a way for a large profit for the makers of it.

Did you use playsand? Is it harder to clean and use, or the same?

*They call me, Amanda*
Tank 1: (29 gal planted) empty
Tank 2: (15 gal) empty
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post #4 of 29 Old 05-09-2011, 12:46 AM
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Would not clean sand over sink or tub, where fine grains could clog plumbing.
Would get a small ten or twnety gal gal tote or rubbermaid tub, and rinse the sand outdoors or take the sand to carwash and do it there on rinse cycle.
The larger the tub, the more you can rinse at one time.Once you have a n amount rinsed,,scoop it out into a five gal bucket or bucket's and then clean some more in the larger tub.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #5 of 29 Old 05-09-2011, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
Car wash place...great idea!!!

*They call me, Amanda*
Tank 1: (29 gal planted) empty
Tank 2: (15 gal) empty
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post #6 of 29 Old 05-09-2011, 02:12 AM
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i put about 3-5 pounds of sand in my 5 gallon bucket. sat on the edge of the patio, and sprayed water into the bucket with the spray nozzle on the hose. i sprayed it directly on the sand, at a high pressure, and when the bucket became about a third full, i would quickly start to pour the water out, and all the silt would still be floating around, and dumped out, while the bigger pieces of sand stayed at the bottom. i would do this about 6-7 times for each 5 pounds, and when it looked clean i stopped. i added it to my tank, and haven't cloudiness at all, even later the same day i added it. i might have lost 1-2 pounds of silt out of the 50 pound bag. i can see it on the ground next to the patio still.


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post #7 of 29 Old 05-09-2011, 12:15 PM
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I recently used playsand, the methods described work. I used a 3g pail in the laundry room sink. Fill the pail with water (I find less sand makes it easier but takes longer, if that makes any sense), stir the sand, wait a few seconds and pour off the cloudy water (you won't see anything it is so cloudy, and this for a dozen or more rinsings). Eventually when filling the pail under the tap, without stirring, if I could see the sand reasonably clearly, I considered it done.

I had scarcely any cloudiness in the tank beyond the normal slight haze in a new tank for a few days.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 29 Old 05-09-2011, 12:54 PM
For my 6g tank, slightly courser sand than playsand, i just used the clarified that came with the bag. If you dont have fish it works well, i just mixed it in, ran mechanical filtration for 24 hrs, and it was clear. Then i drained it and planted.
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post #9 of 29 Old 05-09-2011, 03:14 PM
I'm thinking play sand is usually really fine, making the fines, uhm, finer...?
I'm wondering if construction sand wouldn't be better, like what's used to set patio blocks ??? (Just wondering)
Also, I think the pressures at the car wash would be too high and at the rates they charge, not all that practical. Better off to find or make a friend that has a house with a hose bib and won't mind a little sand in the yard !

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post #10 of 29 Old 05-09-2011, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
I'm thinking play sand is usually really fine, making the fines, uhm, finer...?
I'm wondering if construction sand wouldn't be better, like what's used to set patio blocks ??? (Just wondering)
Also, I think the pressures at the car wash would be too high and at the rates they charge, not all that practical. Better off to find or make a friend that has a house with a hose bib and won't mind a little sand in the yard !
You have to be careful with the sharpness of the sand. Playsand is meant for kids to play in, so it is relatively smooth grain. Mine certainly is, the Corydoras hastatus and C. pygmaeus aren't having any problems.

Construction sand, depending upon its intended use, can be more rough, so the particles bind for their purpose. This is what it appeared to be at Home Depot. I'm sure both need multiple rinsings to remove the dust, dirt and what-not.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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