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Old 04-11-2012, 07:35 AM   #1 
Gen2387's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Montréal, Canada
Question about sand substrate.

I love the gravel in my tanks but I also think that sand looks really amazing but I was wondering how do you clean it? It's easy with gravel because all you have to do is use the gravel vacuum but what do you do during water changes if you have sand?
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:07 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
You still use the gravel vac but you keep it just above the sand so it just picks up the debris and not your sand. With the gravel you can place the vac against the gravel and even stir it a little with the tube but not with sand. It takes a bit of practice.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:56 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Dartmouth, NS
What size tank are you keeping sand in? I have sand in my 3g (though I want to change it to black gravel) and when I do changes (I don't have a vac) I take everything out and swirl up the debris with a fishnet and catch everything. Then I swish up the sand with my hand and get any debris underneath.

I like sand for plants and such but it's a pain in the butt and sticks to everything. I like the smooth look of it but yea... Mine also smells weird sometimes.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:49 AM   #4 
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Boston, MA
I do a planted tank and never clean the substrate ;)

So much easier to maintain and do water changes when you don't have to worry about cleaning all the nooks and crannies.

Without plants though, the best you can do with sand is hover above it like said and get the larger particles. Get too close and you'll start sucking up the sand. Not a problem if you get a little on accident, but over time if you get too much each time you'll find yourself having to add new to replace the lost.

This is a picture of my sand tank, as you can see it's pretty clean even though I've never once used a vacuum on it.

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