Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Ianwp 03-13-2014 01:51 PM

Tips to clean sand substrate

I recently setup a 55 gallon tank with sand substrate. This is my first time using sand and i really like the look of it, until a ton of fish poop is all over it. Yesterday i cleaned the tank and got all of the waste off the sand, after about 4 hrs it looked worse, the fish pooped everywhere. Today, it actually looks a bit better, not sure if this is due to some breakdown of the poop and the filters picking it up.

I was just curious if anyone had any tips to keep sand clean. Or is this just the way sand is? i was also wondering if air stones near the sand surface help to send the poop up to the filters?


jaysee 03-13-2014 02:03 PM

I use heavy filtration from multiple filters in conjunction with bottom dwelling fish and malaysian trumpet snails to keep my tanks free of fish poop. Having multiple intake pickups means a stronger suction at multiple points. Too, I have my filters create a circular flow within the tank, which means one filters outflow pushes water to the other filters intake and vice versa. Having bottom dwelling fish help this because as they swim along the bottom it can kick waste back into the water column to move closer to the intake. Lastly, MTS. They are detrivours, which means they eat fish poop.

Ianwp 03-13-2014 03:09 PM

Ok, I think you suggested MTS on an older post about overfeeding. I got about 10 from CL, since then I have seen maybe 3 large ones and 2 small guys. i was warned that a few can go to tons quickly so only introduce a few. I have 3 filters. but 2 are sponge. The HOB tends to get sand it it and i have to clean it out since I can't stand the noise.

jaysee 03-13-2014 03:41 PM

Sponge filters aren't going to get that job done. I would look into converting your filtration over to 2 small canisters. HOBs are notorious for having problems with sand while canisters are impervious to it.

Ianwp 03-13-2014 08:00 PM

I was considering getting a canister filter, because when the hob gets sand in it at night it wakes me up.

What is your advice for ones that come with UV sterilizers? Never used one.

jaysee 03-13-2014 08:31 PM


Originally Posted by Ianwp (Post 4108546)
I was considering getting a canister filter, because when the hob gets sand in it at night it wakes me up.

What is your advice for ones that come with UV sterilizers? Never used one.

Yeah, that's how I learned that the BB can live for quite a while with the filter unplugged :-)

You'll love canisters. I know they're a little intimidating but once you get familiar it's a dream. The UV that is built into the filters is not adequate to do more than clear green water. The flow is much to fast for the bulb.

My recommendation for filters are the sunsuns available on eBay - I've got 4 I them. I would get 2 of the 302s, which each do 265 GPH. You don't have to get them both at the same time - get one, see how you like it and see if you still need more.

Ianwp 03-13-2014 09:15 PM

yeah that one is not bad price wise for sure, I can get the 303 for 10 bucks more though, more filter capacity might be worth it.

jaysee 03-13-2014 10:06 PM

The 303 will go a long way to keeping the tank clean. If you only were going to get one filter I would suggest that or the 304. If you were going to get 2 filters than the two 302s are the way to go.

atwilson1972 03-14-2014 04:44 AM

i agree with canister filters all the way. after getting my first one, i was hooked. now i have them on all my tanks.
you adjust the return flow to get better circulation and the sand the gets in never makes it to the pumps impeller. canisters are the only way to go with sand.

Ianwp 03-17-2014 07:29 PM

So I ended up buying the 304 b. I guess i wanted a little overkill. It is kind of funny since i started looking for a canister my aquaclear has been silent lol. I think it knows. I am a little worried about electric cost since the aquaclear is 6 watts and the canister is 55 watts. I guess i will see how much of a difference it will make on my next bill.

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