Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   I'm a Convert. Sand is the Way to Go. (

Sam Crow 05-09-2012 11:27 PM

I'm a Convert. Sand is the Way to Go.
I used to hate sand. I hated it because I was scared to use it. I was like those rambling idiots on cable news who use fake outrage in order to cover up their ignorance. Unlike those like Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann, I can now admit my insecurities and ignorance.

My wife talked me into finally trying sand. We researched and priced all sorts of sand. Again, I was scared and ignorant. We decided on pool filter sand. One problem, our local stores were either sold out (summer time in Florida), or the sand was some weird orange color. We bought play sand (silica sand) instead.

I know some have a problem with play sand, but the majority I've talked to and read about love it. Let me tell you, I went overboard on cleaning the sand. I rinsed it for 12 hours. No joke, 12 hours. I filled up a bucket with sand and water, swirled the sand around, let it sit, poured the water out and did that more times that I can remember. I the left he hose in the tank for 30 minutes while the water poured over the top of the bucket. I used a sifter and combed that sand. I picked out the undesirable bits with my fingers. I put it in a pillowcase with a water hose tied to it and treated it like a filter. I rinsed in the buckets again. I finally drained all the water again and added treated water and let it sit for an hour. I drained it again and was ready to add it to my tank.

Yep, I was insane. I went overboard. That being said, I have the worlds cleanest sand. I had a large bucket ready for my fish to go in while I switched the substrate and cleaned the tank. I put one of my two filters from my 29 gallon on the bucket along with a heater. I put the fish in there and was off the the races.

I took out the gravel, added the sand and slowly added the water. I was prepared for a cloudy tank filled with sand. I knew I would have to wait an hour before turning on my filter while the sand settled. Turns out, there was no sand kick-up. No cloudiness. Just pure crystal clear water and beautiful sand.

Once the levels tested correctly (which was on the very first test) and the water was to temperature, I put my fish friends back in their home.

THEY LOVED IT. It was like Christmas morning. The cory cats (who should have been in sand anyway) had a ball. I mean they were playing, sifting, and loving life. The other fish loved it as well. They kicked it up with their tails and a few even seemed to roll around in it(in a fish way).

I did this a few days ago, and it only gets better. My tank is cleaner (believe it or not). All the poo seems to get kicked up by the fish and just filters away. I'm hard pressed to even find any poo on the sand floor. I've continued to have crystal clear water. My fish actually seem happier (especially the cory cats). I even added more cory cats to my brood (emerald/green corys). My levels are all perfect. I make sure to test constantly, but I've had ZERO problems since moment one.

Yep, I've seen the light. I'm now a 100% sand convert. Gravel will never touch my tanks again.

The question my pop up, so I'll just answer that now. I've researched and seen tutorials on how to clean the tank with sand in it and vacuum the bottom, ext. I'll be sure to follow the proper cleaning routine (including turning off my tanks when cleaning).

CinBos 05-10-2012 01:17 AM

Very nice! Any pictures?
Posted via Mobile Device

Sam Crow 05-10-2012 01:23 AM


Originally Posted by CinBos (Post 1075708)
Very nice! Any pictures?
Posted via Mobile Device

I'll take some tomorrow and add them.

CinBos 05-10-2012 01:30 AM


Originally Posted by Sam Crow (Post 1075717)
I'll take some tomorrow and add them.

Appreciate it.
Posted via Mobile Device

Geomancer 05-10-2012 06:40 AM

Yes, Cory's do love sand =)

Search your local Petsmart/Petco for some Malaysian Trumpet Snails. They'll burrow into the sand and help keep it aerated. You won't see them much, during the day they mostly hide under the sand and then come out during the night. Petsmart/Petco will give them to you for free, they are considered a pest snail since they can self-reproduce. Some local stores may charge for them.

You may decide to just not clean the sand at all... I never do, but I also have planted aquariums. Everything breaking down is just nice natural plant food and with all the snails I don't really see anything but plant debris anyways.

AbbeysDad 05-10-2012 07:08 AM

Calm down there sandy sam! :-)

Like so many things, the key is good preparation. Glad it all worked well.

Byron 05-10-2012 09:29 AM

Sounds familiar Sam. Until about two years ago I avoided sand too. Now I have play sand in 5 of 7 tanks.:lol:

thekoimaiden 05-10-2012 12:58 PM

I'm getting ready to switch a tank over to sand, also. I'm a little excited and a little nervous. Glad to know your experience was good. It gives me hope. I'm searching for black pool filter sand. I was going to go with some black sand from CaribSea, but I heard it was not good for bottom-dwellers like my kuhlies.

rhymon78 05-10-2012 02:20 PM

urghh you guys are making me so jealous! I would love to convert to sand, don't really like the gravel (which is on the larger size) that I have, and I would love for the corys and loaches to have some fun in the sand!

But the logistics of netting all my fish, which would be no mean feat! transferring them to another container, taking all the plants out, and the gravel, then adding the sand and replanting all the plants.... oh man, that gives me the heebee jee bees..... would love to though!!

how does this work with the bacteria, does it throw your tank back into a cycle?? and with a tank full of fish isn't this a bit scary?

thekoimaiden 05-10-2012 02:43 PM

When I switched over my goldfish tank to a larger pebble size, I just switched out half the gravel. I waited a month before switching out the other half, but you can't do that with sand. You put some of your gravel in a mesh bag (or pantyhose) and hang it over the side of the tank for a few weeks. If you keep an eye on your parameters and have some live plants, you shouldn't have much to worry about.

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