Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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JKoral 10-04-2009 09:08 AM

Adding Play Sand Into Cycled Tank
Ok so I couldnt resist getting two Angelica Botia at a bargain deal at the local pet store. I have read they like EXTREMELY fine substrate to keep from damaging their sensitive mouth barbs. I currently have a mixed variety of natural looking medium size substrate. I have also read that play sand can be used as a substrate as well if properly rinsed and raised. Can I add it into the tank with the fish still in??? Or will this cloud the water enough to kill my fish???


Twistersmom 10-04-2009 09:36 AM

It would probably not kill them, but I would remove them during the change. Adding sand can get a bit messy.

JKoral 10-04-2009 12:32 PM

Thanks TwistersMom, the play sand addition was a success. I left them in and all was well. I made sure the Sand was VERY clean and little clouding occured. The Angelicus Botia love it!! The only problem is that when I turned my filter back on when all seemed settled it started making noise after about 15 minutes. I took the impeller out and apart cleaned the shaft and the "part that spins". It did the trick but now after another 30 minutes its started making the noise again. Will the sand eventually settle and not get into my impeller as often, or is this going to be a daily ritual????


Twistersmom 10-04-2009 12:40 PM

Glad to hear it all went well. You must have washed that sand like crazy!
The sand will settle, but be careful not to burn up the filter. I burnt up one of my filters not waiting long enough for the sand to settle.
I have read that some people place something over the intake to catch the sand particles, maybe some type of sponge. Can't remember right now, maybe someone will come along with that advice.

JKoral 10-04-2009 03:16 PM

Thank you Twist. I sure do hope the sand settles. Im on my third impeller rinse and its getting older with each time : P...Any more suggestions would be much appreciated. I really like this filter and would hate to have to replace it.

Thank you,

Amphitrite 10-04-2009 03:43 PM

A piece cut up pantyhose securely attached to the filter will stop sand from getting in without restricting water flow. I kept sand successfully for years using this method and never lost a pump in the process. For anyone changing to a sand substrate, it's always a good idea to keep a bag of the old gravel the tank for a while to prevent another cycle since a lot of good bacteria is in the gravel.

JKoral 10-06-2009 09:31 PM

OK...So, I had my filter intake about an inch away from the Substrate originally. I shortened the intake pipe making it about 5 inches away and added the "Pantyhose method". This worked for about 12 hours...but still it eventually came up with the same result of clogging my filter impeller. I took the time today to talk to some much more fish savvy people than me at my favorite fish store. I thought "I know they have sand in their display tanks with emperors running full tilt. What am I doing wrong??" So I asked just that. Come to find out that play sand is the worst possible kind of sand to use with this kind of filtration. It tends to be finer than anything else available. Making it inevitable that these tiny particulates will find their way into every nook and cranny. Ever have sand crack at the beach??? Kind of like that xD!! Anywho, so I just went throught the painstaking task of removing all the sand from the tank without disrupting the cycle. This was not easy. So any of you thinking of adding Play Sand to this kind of filtered tank...DON'T!!! The constant impeller cleaning and replacing isnt worth the bellyache or the cost. I also found that most Botia have no problem on coarse fact they have found that their barbels just get thicker and stronger from constantly moving larger objects. Not a bad thing at all (Well...maybe for snails). So when its all said and done, Im back to the coarse substrate a clean filter with new impeller and sand all through my apartment plumbing. Thanks for all the input anywayz...and I hope this saves someone else the trouble in the future.


jeaninel 10-06-2009 09:45 PM

Hmmm....I have play sand in my 37 gallon with an Emperor 280. The tank's been running for well over a year with no problems whatsoever. I did leave the extension off so my intake is at mid level of the tank. Maybe different brands of play sand have a different coarseness? Mine is not too fine and settles pretty quickly.

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