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Old 09-18-2012, 10:12 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North Carolina
Lightbulb Need Sand FAQ!

So I've had about every possible betta set up, tank size, live plants etc, except sand! I absolutely LOVE the way it looks but am scared it is going to be a cloudy hassle. So I was hoping all of you lovely people could give me some tips, step by step, how to make an awesome sand tank, using live plants. At this point I'm looking into a 10 gallon, split for 2 boys. Assuming I would need 10 lbs, wash it well, and when pouring in water just pour onto a plate or something to prevent kicking up all the sand? Also how do you use a filter? I did play sand in a 10 gal a few years ago and it destroyed my HOB filter so hoping to prevent that this time. Also water changes just use a gravel vac over the top? Then occasionally stir up the sand to prevent gas desposits? I feel like I kind of know what to do, but don't want a destroyed filter or a cloudy tank. Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:21 AM   #2 
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Try pool filter sand. Fill up a bucket of water with a hose pouring running water into the bucket. Add sand a hand full at a time by holding it in your and and releasing it. The flowing water should remove the smaller dust particles and the bigger heavier sand should sink. Keep doing this till you have enough sand in the bucket for your tank. This should reduce the amount of cloudiness when adding to your tank. Its best to put the sand in then add water. Pour the water into a bowl placed in the tank slowly. If your water becomes cloudy let it settle before turning on the filter. Make sure your filter intake is about 3 inches or more above the sand and have a foam filter over the intake basket.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:40 PM   #3 
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I'm going to Home Depot to see if I can find some pool filter sand. If I don't then play sand will have to do.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:22 PM   #4 
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Take a look at sandblasting sand its in the concrete section at home depot. I used it years ago on the recommendation of a random message board and it looked great and worked well. It was very fine, I believe its called white silica sand. There are pros and cons google it and you can find many discussions on it.

Last edited by davyj0427; 09-18-2012 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:15 PM   #5 
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Silica sand looks nice, I just find it's not the best for stem plants. They don't always like to stay rooted.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:57 PM   #6 
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I have a beautiful black sand in one of my tanks. Estes Marine Sand. Looks great and works great for all of my plants.

About the filters, sand and HOB's don't mix well. I've been lucky in that my HOB hasn't burned out yet, but it has gotten sand in it before and stopped the motor. I'm gambling with it. Sand is best with a sponge filter (better for betta fins anyway) or a canister filer (overkill on a 10 gal and probably more expensive than the rest of the setup combined).

For water changes you just want to take the gravel vac and catch large things from the top, but you don't actually need to stir the sand. Unlike gravel, poop and dead plants don't get in between the grains (which is why we gravel vac). They stay on the top and decay naturally, but when you stir the sand you allow waste to get in and pockets of gas to form. The plant roots will also help oxygenate the sand, and in a planted tank the substrate shouldn't be disturbed anyway.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:03 PM   #7 
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You could put some stocking or fine filter wool over the intake of your HOB and see if this doesn't help prevent at least some of the sand from getting into your impeller.

I really rinse my sand thoroughly using a kitchen sieve over a bucket and a hose. This is the best way I have found to get out as much dust as possible and avoid the initial cloudiness.

To add water without disturbing the substrate, I use plastic bags (in my case the ones my fish come in) held down with a couple of rocks. I have also used newspaper in the past but that is harder to get back out once it is wet.
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