Removing Sand Bed? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-21-2011, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Removing Sand Bed?

Does anyone have any suggestions about removing my sand bed? I just cant stand getting sand on my rocks or my coral its just dirty overall. I noticed a lot of stores have fish tanks without sand beds. Is it okay without one? And i know there are some good things about having the sand bed but can i get them from something else? thankss
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-23-2011, 02:44 AM
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It is quite easy to change out a sand bed, but I would not suggest doing without one. The animals need the benefits of the filtration from the sand bed, as well as the "critters" that are found there. A store tank is not a home/permanent environment and should never be used as an example of one. Stores often use bare tanks for ease of catching animals. Stores also tend to use different types of maintenance methods and routines which would not be practical at home.

To change out the sand bed get yourself a siphon hose and a couple of buckets. 1/2 - 1 inch hose usually works the best. Start your siphon and put the hose down into the sand, vac it up until the bucket is near full. Let the first bucket settle as you begin the 2nd. Go back to the first bucket, pour off the water back into the tank, and dump out the sand wherever you wish to dispose of it. Continue this process until you have vac'd about 3/4 of the sand. Before topping off the water in the tank, replace the sand with fresh live sand. This will reseed your tank with fresh organisms and help make for a healthier tank.
When adding the new sand, cut only the corner off the bag, pour out any liquid from the bag. Hoist the bag so you can hold the cut end closed with one hand, lift and pour into the tank in 1 place (usually a corner works best for this) until the bag is empty. Get the opening of the bag down into the tank as close to the bottom as possible before you release the sand, this will help give you control. The sand will spread a bit on its own as it pours from the bag into the tank, then use your hand to push it where you want/need it. The water will cloud, don't panic. If left alone for 24 - 48 hrs it will settle on its own and will not hurt the animals. Check for ammonia when complete to make sure the new sand wasn't old and in case any liquid from the bag was put into your tank. A small water change can be done, but keep it small and let things settle on their own.

This may sound complicated, but once you begin to go through the motions, its really pretty easy. At worst, it takes a bit of time to do it all, so plan ahead.

You also can do a standard gravel vac in a marine tank if needed, but be sure to use a small manual vac & bucket, not the python hoses that hook to the sink and don't do the entire tank at once. This can help to remove algae and larger organic waste build up that happens over time. Keep control over the water flow and how much sand is pulled up by pinching off the hose as you work. When the sand level goes too high into the gravel vac end, pinch the hose for a minute and watch the sand settle back down before beginning again. This is also pretty simple but can be a little time consuming.

I hope this helps.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI

Last edited by bettababy; 03-23-2011 at 02:47 AM. Reason: typo
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-26-2011, 05:46 AM
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not to hijack the thread but why dump the water in the bag out? im only asking cause iv always put it in the tank =S
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post #4 of 4 Old 03-26-2011, 01:03 PM
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When starting a new tank it is ok to add it if you wish. The liquid in the bag tends to have a high ammonia level to it, especially the bags that have been sitting in warehouses and on store shelves for any length of time. In a brand new tank this can help contribute to cycling the tank, but in an established tank, it can cause a lot of upset in water chemistry and harm to the animals.
If you'd like to see how high the levels are, pour that water by itself into a cup and use it to run a series of tests. (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH)

Aside from ammonia, that liquid also tends to have a high level of organic waste. Not stuff you want dumped into an established tank....

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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