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watts300 02-26-2009 07:30 PM

A couple questions for the 20 gallon I'm putting together.
So in my clicking around, I found that people are getting white play sand when they want a sand substrate.

Today from Home Depot I bought a "regular" bag of play sand. It's not white, nor does the bag indicate a color. Is this not acceptable? Is there a difference with white sand? I like the tan color to "hide" the unpleasantries a little more. I'm aiming to get some corries ... I don't want to mess up. (yes this is from a diff thread seemed pertinent to make a new one.)

Also, I was unsure of the method to fill the tank. I first put the sand in there. Then the water.... I knew it would stir up the sand significantly. Since I didn't know what would happen after that (perhaps I'd change my mind about using sand) I didn't fill the aquarium all the way with water -- a little less than half way. It's been several hours and it's still murky. Will it ever settle? Should I turn the filter on to help? I know the filter will get bogged with sand debris though.

One more question, what will happen when I try to clean the sand substrate? I have a small gravel vacuum that works well with gravel... but what will happen with the lighter more unstable sand?

adpierin11 02-26-2009 08:41 PM

The play sand at Home Depot or wherever only comes in one color that I particularly know of. Mine is tan as well.
But it in a large bucket and rinse the sand out before adding it to your tank, once the water looks a little more clear coming out of the bucket then add it to your aquarium. It will still be cloudy and most likely will clear up by the morning may take longer but that's ok... (I just did this about two weeks ago in a 20g long too). Ya just gotta be a little patient...
When cleaning don't even touch the sand, lightly hover over it and the food or whatever will come up pretty easily. Some sand will get sucked into the vaccuum, but that's ok. Having about 40lbs left of play sand, I personally can spare some being sucked up in the vaccuum.

watts300 02-26-2009 08:43 PM

Hm. I didn't rinse it because I saw on the bag that it was screened, washed, and dried. I thought the manufacturing wash would be good enough.

adpierin11 02-26-2009 08:45 PM


Originally Posted by watts300 (Post 176032)
Hm. I didn't rinse it because I saw on the bag that it was screened, washed, and dried. I thought the manufacturing wash would be good enough.

No big deal, it just may take longer to settle in your aquarium. You aren't doing anything wrong....

watts300 02-27-2009 06:03 AM

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.

JohnnyD44 02-27-2009 07:18 AM

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 (Post 176134)
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!

JohnnyD44 02-27-2009 08:15 AM

Actually, i thought about this.....if you didn't wash out your sand....those fine particles that you should have washed out may never settle.....I'm not positive though. I'm guessing that the imporant aspect of washing your sand is to remove all the small stuff I mentioned above. You wouldn't believe the stuff that is not sand that's in that bag (twigs, rocks, dirt and other small debri). If at all posisble....if you have no fish in your tank, and it's just plain tap water settling with no filter running(first time setting it up) it might benefit you to start over from scratch and rinse the sand really well.

When i did my 20L I put the sand in a 5Lb bucket and filled the water 4 inches over the level of the sand and moved in the sand in the bucket, then waited about 5 seconds and dumped the water slowly. Waiting that 5 seconds or so helps to keep all the small particles in suspense while the heavy stuff sinks. I did this baout 20 TIMES!!!! with that single 5 gallon bucket.

Here's an incredibly imformative post done by Tyy on sand'll cover everything you want to know!! It's great

pkennedy0219 02-27-2009 08:47 AM

i didnt clean my sand and it was cloudy when i put it in. took about a day to clear up. But sand is an awsome substrate.

watts300 02-27-2009 09:35 AM

Well.. I don't think I'm going to fishless cycling route because I'm going to transfer my 10 gallon "stuff" over in a couple weeks probably.

It's basically a young tank, about a month. It's really close to being finished and it has three fish in it. I know transferring it will disturb it and I'll have to go slow again; that's fine with me. I think the only thing I won't take out of it is the gravel. I'll reuse the filter for a while to help transfer all that bacteria.
I'd keep the 10 gallon going but I know some one that wants it and I don't really have the motivation to maintain two aquariums. One is perfect, plus it looks weird on my counter with two. ;)

I think I might try out washing some sand though. There's still a horse load left in that bag.

This is all good. I found a picture of an aquarium in this forum that I want to duplicate. (My level of creativity sucks.) At least I know I've got the right start.

JohnnyD44 02-27-2009 10:16 AM

when i rinsed my sand about 20 times in that 5 gallon bucket...It settled in about 1 hour

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