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Thread: Substrate Question

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    Question Substrate Question

    Does anybody here use a sand substrate? If so how do you properly maintain the cleanliness of it???

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    MVP Oct.2015 discuspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    That's fairly easy, if you use pool filter sand and no other- #20 or #30 density- to a reasonable, not more than 3" depth - i.e. not excessive.
    Cleanliness is easily maintained if you vacuum the top sand layer frequently - say no less than with every water change at least every 2nd or 3rd day.
    Then, as time goes by and the sand becomes dirtied, or the top layer begins to accumulate a little algae, simply siphon out the top 10% to 15%, and replace it with new sand, and you should be able to keep it looking like brand new.

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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    Just so you know.....my coarser sand is only 3/4 inches deep. Each water change I vacuum all the sand and churn it so all the debris is removed and no gas pockets form. I use that hand pump siphon with a wider stiff tube. The sand goes up the tube abt a couple of inches and falls right back down while the waste and debris gets sucked up and out.
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    MVP Oct.2015 discuspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    Quote Originally Posted by 14Discus View Post
    Just so you know.....my coarser sand is only 3/4 inches deep. Each water change I vacuum all the sand and churn it so all the debris is removed and no gas pockets form. I use that hand pump siphon with a wider stiff tube. The sand goes up the tube abt a couple of inches and falls right back down while the waste and debris gets sucked up and out.
    That's the utmost ideal way to do it.

    My advice was being given to an apparent newbie who needed a little wiggle room to start out with, in order to eventually get it completely straight like you're doing, which takes quite a bit of discipline and a fairly strict routine with little or no negligence or deviation.

    I admire you - I actually do pretty much the same thing as you do - but probably like you, it took me a few years to understand how & why to do it that way.
    Last edited by discuspaul; 09-28-2018 at 10:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    Discuspaul,

    I was not intending to do anything more than let the guy know what I do. I was not intending to knock your comment as you are a wealth of knowledge and a super respected member/fish man. Hope I did not offend you, for surely I would not ever attempt to do so.
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    MVP Oct.2015 discuspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    Quote Originally Posted by 14Discus View Post
    Discuspaul,

    I was not intending to do anything more than let the guy know what I do. I was not intending to knock your comment as you are a wealth of knowledge and a super respected member/fish man. Hope I did not offend you, for surely I would not ever attempt to do so.
    No offense taken - and I offer my regrets if I seemed to move this off the rails a bit - all I was intending to convey was to ensure that the OP, Lou, could breathe a little easier knowing there was an acceptable variance between what he might safely start out doing, and what you, as a more experienced fish-keeper, would do to keep water quality and conditions as pristine as possible.
    Hope you understand why I said what I did, and I recognize that you were simply stating what you did.

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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    This is why I love this forum, people going out of their way not only to help newbies but also to be nice to each other. Respect to both of you and well done to iserrano for asking what to do in the best interest of his fish, by the way if you feel like it you could introduce yourself on the welcome thread
    http://forum.simplydiscus.com/forumd...Welcome-Centre
    Anyways a warm welcome from me

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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    Thank you all for the help/advice!!! Definitely helped!!!!

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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    Is pool filter sand corse enough??? Or is there a different recommendation to eliminate substrate loss???

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    MVP Oct.2015 discuspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    Yes, the grain size & weight of # 20 or # 30 density PFS is coarse enough not to float up into the water column when disturbed (so won't get sucked into the filter & clog it up), nor will it get siphoned out when using an aquarium vacuum tool for cleaning up debris - just hover the vac about an inch over the sand, some of which may get pulled up a bit into the vac tube, but will simply quickly fall back down. None will get siphoned out.

    If you can, get your PFS from a pool or spa equipment supply store to be sure you're getting the real thing - some of the big box stores may sell you 'other sands' (like inexpensive play sands) that are said to be pool filter sand, but they may not be the real thing with proper density.

    PFS is usually available at pool supply stores for around $15. for a 50 lb. bag (some stores may carry 2 or more colors of PFS - white, & various shades of tan/beige - I've even seen pinkish or greyish PFS - depends where the quartz rock is quarried).
    Last edited by discuspaul; 09-29-2018 at 12:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    Thanks again for the help my fish n myself thank you!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by discuspaul View Post
    Yes, the grain size & weight of # 20 or # 30 density PFS is coarse enough not to float up into the water column when disturbed (so won't get sucked into the filter & clog it up), nor will it get siphoned out when using an aquarium vacuum tool for cleaning up debris - just hover the vac about an inch over the sand, some of which may get pulled up a bit into the vac tube, but will simply quickly fall back down. None will get siphoned out.

    If you can, get your PFS from a pool or spa equipment supply store to be sure you're getting the real thing - some of the big box stores may sell you 'other sands' (like inexpensive play sands) that are said to be pool filter sand, but they may not be the real thing with proper density.

    PFS is usually available at pool supply stores for around $15. for a 50 lb. bag (some stores may carry 2 or more colors of PFS - white, & various shades of tan/beige - I've even seen pinkish or greyish PFS - depends where the quartz rock is quarried).

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Substrate Question

    I've been using CaribSea Super Naturals white sand which is a pure white very fine silica sand for many years now without a problem.
    That said, I'm probably in the minority with this approach.
    The reason I like it is because it is very fine and thus compacts very tightly creating an impenetrable surface for any fish waste. All which sit nicely on top of the sand. Now I also keep a nice group of bottom dwellers such as Corys and Albino Bristlenose who will constantly be stirring up the very top layer and that allows the fish waste to be sucked up by my filter.
    A few times per year you will need to shut down the filter and push the sand around for two reasons. One it will pile up in areas, so to get it to look as I want again... and second to eleviate any dead spots that could be potentially harboring an anaerobic bacteria colony. But it has been my experience that getting one to colonize is virtually impossible and requires minimal effort to avoid.
    Now with all that said... I haven't vacuumed the bottom of my tank in years and have no issues with the setup. And except for right after feeding, it always looks spotless except for maybe for some gnawed driftwood created by the bristlenose which takes a little more time to pass on to the filter.

    Good luck. . .

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