Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Northern California
Hello! Newbie to plantedtank.net, but not to aquariums or forums though.
Nice to meet you all!
Well, down to business, I've finally had it with the playsand substrate.
After a large tank re-scape due to finally getting rid of BGA a sudden bloom of Diatoms came.
Coating the plants and glass, and the initial diatoms were tough! They really took some work to scrub off.
After about a solid week of the diatoms increasing they finally started to diminish. It has been about 3-4 days since that turning point and it's gradually retreating.
I'm putting almost full responsibility on the substrate. I know playsand is either silicate based or carbonate based and since my pH is normal it must be Silicate based. Despite washing the sand 1.5 gallons at a time, and 10 rinses for each 1.5 gallons, the substrate was still dirty. Only under the surface however. I'm assuming this is because the sand leeching on top can disperse silicates throughout the water column, whereas leeching in the sand bed just stays under there.
Anyways, every time I uprooted a plant there would be some cloudy water pulled up with it (stark white cloudy, not creamy/brown cloudy say from mulm/decaying matter) and this same cloudiness would appear if I stuck a turkey baster deep in the sand and sucked up water. I'm assuming this cloudiness is the silicates.
My problem is I would like to switch out my substrate with Fluorite Black Sand, however I would like to keep the silicates at a minimal level in the water column.
I only have one idea so far as I have never done this before:
-Start a slow siphon and siphon out the sand.
Also do you think I should leave a little sand in there for the bacteria? And if so then should I reconsider my siphoning plan? And is there anything else I should keep in mind during a substrate swap?
Thanks for reading.