Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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JohnnyD44 03-04-2009 08:07 PM

Removing gas pocket in sand subtrate
hey everyone,

this is only the 2nd time I've done my water change since doing my switch to a sand subtrate two weeks ago. I am using the "plastic fork" method and pretty much combing the sand....there are air bubbles coming up everywhere...I'm assuming thats what I am suppose to do. Sorry if it's a stupid quesiton, but like I said it's only the 2nd time i've done it. am I doing it right??

also, do you need to keep raking the sand until ALL the air bubbles are out of the sand every week? or just get a majority of them??


watts300 03-05-2009 01:58 AM

Hm. I would also like to know why removing them is important. I would imagine an occasional bubble is not a problem.

JohnnyD44 03-05-2009 05:24 AM

i'm just assuming that the air bubbles are the gas pockets that build up in the sand

Twistersmom 03-05-2009 06:56 AM

I think you are doing it right Johnny.
I dont find any air pockets in my sand, but I think the fish and snails are doing it for me.

aunt kymmie 03-05-2009 10:50 AM

I get those same air bubbles when I stir my sand. I keep stirring my sand until I see no more air bubbles being released.

1077 03-05-2009 10:51 AM

I have been told that if sand depth does not exceed three inches that gases (hydrogen Sulfhide) are less likely to develop. Some claim that the sulfhide reacts almost instantly with oxygen in the water and thus has little chance of harming fish. As for me,, I have around an inch of sand in 29 gal along with corys and trumpet snails who both do an excellent job of sifting the sand yet, I still sift through it on regular basis with plastic fork. I don't believe everything I hear and it gives me peace of mind to know that there is no chance of any toxins building up in dead areas harmful,, or otherwise.

JohnnyD44 03-05-2009 12:00 PM

thanks guys! I thought I was doing it right, just wanted to make sure!!!

willow 03-05-2009 01:01 PM

because i'm little,i can't reach the bottom of my tank very well,:oops::lol:
so i use a long garden bamboo cain.or a planter stick.

cerianthus 03-05-2009 01:58 PM

I dont know the thickness of sand bed but seems too new to have develop anaerobic activities to produce Hydrogen sulfide(rotten egg smell). You can always look from underneath the tank to see if black patches are formed which can be easily removed/disturbed with slow/gentle vacuuming, even any/most toxic gas can be sucked out.
Hydrogen sulfide is very toxic gas even in small quantities as it binds to hemoglobin thus no gas exchange in their respiratory system, pretty much same process with carbon Monoxide poisoning on us and how nitrite (NO2) will have an effects on fish. I dont think if they will bond with O2. Extra aeration will drive out any gas faster from water though.
Bubbles that are escaping from sand when disturbed w/o odor can be N2 gas being released due to denitrification process where NO3 is taken and converted/reduced to N2.
Unless have deep sand bed (DSB), routine weekly vacuuming will ensure no dead zones are created..

Tyyrlym 03-05-2009 02:01 PM

I've been looking into the science of it lately and frankly I'm not convinced that stirring the sand is necessary. That said it's also not going to hurt anything. When I stirred my sand I used a plastic kitchen fork, the kind with two prongs. I don't believe its necessary to get every bubble out every time. Just give the sand a good once over each time you do a water change. So long as you do regular water changes you'll probably catch most of the bubbles before they become "problems".

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