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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So we got a new 60 gal tank from a friend. With great excitement we decided to switch to sand for the first time. I went out and bought two 50lb bags of the quikrete play sand from lowes (by byrons suggestion). Spent the morning rinsing it, to the point where I thought it was throughly rinsed. We started adding water and added the sand as slow as possible, but our water is still extremely cloudy.

We will be switching from our established 45 gal, with an exterior canister filter. This is our only filter, so we cant put one on the new tank to try and filter out some cloudiness.

Where should we go from here? Let it sit over night and see how it settles in the morning? Or keep doing calm water changes to try and clear it up? Also, we have lots of corys, when they rummage through the sand will they kick it up and keep clouding the water?

We're almost to the point where we're considering dropping the idea of using the play sand and buying some
very small grain gravel. We're also very excited to keep at the sand attempt, because we've done our research and think it will work out in the end. Someone please give us some positive reinforcement! ... or a reality check...
 

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So we got a new 60 gal tank from a friend. With great excitement we decided to switch to sand for the first time. I went out and bought two 50lb bags of the quikrete play sand from lowes (by byrons suggestion). Spent the morning rinsing it, to the point where I thought it was throughly rinsed. We started adding water and added the sand as slow as possible, but our water is still extremely cloudy.

We will be switching from our established 45 gal, with an exterior canister filter. This is our only filter, so we cant put one on the new tank to try and filter out some cloudiness.

Where should we go from here? Let it sit over night and see how it settles in the morning? Or keep doing calm water changes to try and clear it up? Also, we have lots of corys, when they rummage through the sand will they kick it up and keep clouding the water?

We're almost to the point where we're considering dropping the idea of using the play sand and buying some
very small grain gravel. We're also very excited to keep at the sand attempt, because we've done our research and think it will work out in the end. Someone please give us some positive reinforcement! ... or a reality check...
Having rinsed my share of playsand . . . I found one tank was a small bit cloudy and with one or two water changes it did get completely clear in a short time. Sand does require more washing than initially from when you think you are "done". Do you have a picture? That can show how "cloudy" you're talking about. Sand is worth it. Keep doing water changes, you'll get there. Fish kicking up the sand does not add any cloudiness, once the sand is clean. Don't give up!

Gwen
 

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You can wait until morning, but the cloudiness is dust like particles and you are prolly looking at a few water changes to resolve. On the up side, it's a new setup so you can do a few 75% water changes with no issues other than the PITA factor ;-)
Good luck - it'll clear up in the end.
 

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I had a bad experience with play sand. YMMV....

I spent hrs cleaning it and mutliple complete water changes over multiple days and it never cleared. I dumped the play sand and got pool filter sand and got it cleaned in a fraction of time I spent on play sand and without the complete water changes I tried before.

I know MANY people here have used play sand but my vote is pool filter sand. Like I said... YMMV.

I have a thread on it here with pictures of my experience of Play sand vs pool filter sand.
 

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sand is sand IMO. A lot of the nicer substates will cloud your water when you add them. Just give the tank time to settle. The smaller the particles the longer it will take.
+1
 

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Agree. It takes time, sometimes longer in some tanks than others. I have now set up 3 tanks with that same playsand (switched from fine gravels), and I intend doing a fourth shortly.

Aside from the cloudiness from the sand itself, which varies as I mentioned, there is also likely a bacterial bloom. My 115g 5-foot tank was slightly cloudy for weeks, unlike the 33g. Just let it establish.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
so after a full day of doing 75% water changes the water is still murky, but less brown. We were stirring up the sand as much as possible and then doing the water change.

I was wondering when it would be safe to do the switch. Since we're keeping the old decor and filter hopefully it will sharpen up the water much quicker, although we'll be watching the water very carefully for spikes in ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. I bought a bottle of seachem stability for the hell of it, even though I think the product is a gimmick and I probably got ripped off.

I guess I'll run through our scenario. We're switching from the 45gal to the 60g. They are right next to each other. This was my logic in pulling off the physical switch: (computer scientist goes aquarist)

When temp, ph of new tank = temp, ph of old tank:
1. Unplug everything.
2. Move filter to new tank
3. move plants/decor to new tank
4. syphon half of old tank water to new tank
5. move fish to new tank, avoid netting them, just trap into cup and move.
6. stress guard (seachem) the new tank

Since we'll only be reestablishing the substrate bacteria, would it speed up the process to take some of the old tanks substrate and put it in a flat tupperware container and lay it on the floor of the new tank? Logic here being that the bacteria would somehow transfer to the new substrate (via floating?)

I've included some pictures of the murky water. When would you think its good?

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Wow that is pretty bad, I've done sand and floramax, never once was my water that bad. Then again I think I rinsed the sand for about 6 hours in multiple buckets with the garden hose. I would shove the hose in the bottom, stir the sand like crazy, dump, repeat. Once I thought it was clean I did it for another hour. I had slight murky water the first couple days but the filter picked it up. Those tiny dust particles are going to do one of three things, sit there until you manually remove (water changes), settle to the bottom only to get stirred up again when you transfer the decor, or get sucked up by the filter, either way I don't think you will see a drastic change until you either do regular water changes or get a filter on the tank.

If you have sufficient amount of live plants I wouldn't worry about seeding the substrate, the plants and what little is in the filter will take care of any ammonia spike. I'm not sure how effective the tupperware would be, I would get a stocking to fill with your old substrate so it is in direct contact with the sand.

The cloudiness won't effect the transfer of fish. Heck I changed my substrate in an established tank, if anything the fish got a kick out of it lol. You should be safe to switch once the temp is the same and the ph is marginally close. That looks like live driftwood in your established tank, so most likely you won't get the ph from the tap "naturally" close to the established tank as the wood probably slightly softened and lowered the ph.
 

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I have Black Fin Tetra, Harlequin Rasbora, and Emerald Catfish in my 29g. The water is decently stained with Tannin from the large malaysian wood I have (clears a bit after water change but comes out pretty red/brown at the end of the week (although slowly clearing up as I assume the Tannin's fully leach from the wood). Anyways, yes, tetra's and Cory's IMO love the murky, still, shaded water. Again, you should be fine. Didn't mean to scare you with the "wow" it will clear pretty quick once you get the filter on there and shouldn't pose any harm to your fish so it's mostly just cosmetic to you. I wouldn't pull it out and re-rinse it at this point. As byron posted it very well could be a bacterial bloom. Just do a few large water changes, let the temp stabilize and move it all over :) You'll probably want to rinse your filter pad/cartridge/floss/whatever pretty regularly as it dissipates though.
 

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Realistically, these fish swim through clouds of dust in the natural environment, correct? (tetras and corys).

I'm almost tempted to take the sand out and re-rinse it.... :oops:
I did that when i set up my 33g. :roll:

Something else that works: once you have the sand rinsed as much as you intend (now, or if you take it out, whichever), arrange any hardscape (rock, wood) and plant any major rooted plants with about 6-7 inches of water; then drain that out completely and carefully refill. Run the hose into a large saucedish or something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
WE DID IT!

We ended up taking ALL of the sand out, syphoning out the last of the dust and water from the bottom of the tank, and hand rinsing small amounts of the sand in the tub. Boy, what a process. After we got the filter on the new tank, it cleared up almost within the hour. The fish are loving it, the corys LOVE the sand.

I uploaded a pic of the prototype setup. The large rocks are from the old tank, and will be leaving when re-established. We got a crazy deal on the massive piece of driftwood. We're going for an amazonian biotope. The play-sand was a little lighter in color than we thought. Looking into getting a nice centerpiece, like some rams or angels, but we have neons so most likely rams.

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Very nice setup! i'm glad you got the sand issue and cloudiness issue fixed! awesome job!
now the next step is to get some black paper to cover up the back of the tank so your colors will pop more!
 

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iv got a aquarist book from the 70's, the cover ripped off and all so i have no idea what its actually called, but i was reading and it said oxygening a tank can help cloudyness. might wanna try runnign some air through?
 

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It looks nice. Love the black tank against your red wall. Didn't I tell you washing sand was a lot of work:lol: LOL. Sounds like what you did sped up the process of waiting for the fine particles to settle.

Enjoy it!

Gwen
 
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