pool filer sand dangers - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-13-2010, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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pool filer sand dangers

well this is just a warning for any one using pool filter sand. i have always been a proponent of its use until this week.

well just a bit of a back ground on Monday i did a water change and a rescape/trim of my Anubis and such. any ways i return to work the next day and see some dead CRS. the remaining CRS BRCS and the snails were hugging the top of the water so i do a water change run the standard gambit of test on the water removed but not before doing a O2 check on the tank to find it low at about 1ppm (normal 10-12ppm). all other tests were 0ppm.

following the water change every one returned to the bottom of the tank and resumed normal activity. i wasn't sure what happened but i just figured the night cleaning crew got to close with the wind-ex.

the tank was fine until Thursday when i see the same thing again so i do another water change same test results so now I'm at loss until about 2pm when i smell rotten eggs the substrate had gone anoxic. nothing i could do at this point but increase surface agitation until Friday. at which point i changed the sand out for turf ace.

to confirm my H2S suspicions, i placed a sample of the sand in a bag and scanned it with LEL (lower explosive detector) this meter will measure the atmosphere in the bagproduced by the sand, and confirmed my suspicions H2S 30ppm NIOSH reaction level 20ppm O2 3ppm NIOSH low O2 reaction level 19.

so sorry about the long post but thought this was good info and to any one using PFS don't disturb the substrate if you suspect anoxic environment.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-13-2010, 11:13 PM
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Any MTS or other 'rooters' in the system?


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-13-2010, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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i have valls that i pulled during the subtrate swap and found that there roots were nearly gone expaling the slow to no growth and i had fert tabs in the sand. The MTS dissapeard about a week ago now i know y they died in the depths of the substrate.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-13-2010, 11:36 PM
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how deep was your substrate?

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-13-2010, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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apx 2.5"

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 12:24 AM
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There has to be some organic matter buried in the sand to cause H2S, must be the dead MTS. Yeah, 100% sand substrate will have issues like this.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 12:35 AM
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I have a small amount of flourite mixed in with mine and the depth being from 1" to 1 1/2". I'll be looking closer in passing by this tank for some time to come after reading your thread.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 01:18 AM
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2-3" PFS substrate here. Going on 4+ years. Never had a problem with it. Although I've always had MTS and 50% of the time rooted plants (crypts).

Bad luck it sounds like.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 01:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
There has to be some organic matter buried in the sand to cause H2S, must be the dead MTS. Yeah, 100% sand substrate will have issues like this.
+1. If you use sand like this you need to have MTS, plus need to poke and prod it to keep it from going anaerobic.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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I have a small amount of flourite mixed in with mine and the depth being from 1" to 1 1/2". I'll be looking closer in passing by this tank for some time to come after reading your thread.
i had florite gravel mixed with mine as well to try and provide some voids to prevent the anoxic environments and i also had MTS but they apeared to have died off about a week ago probly causing this issue

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 05:04 AM
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did you add any chemicals in the tank? over-dosing excel?


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 05:16 AM
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i have had playsand (2+ inches) in my 10 gallon for a year
1 sword plant and a bunch of myriophyllum are thriving
i have a lot (more than 100 i assume) MTS and about 100 red cherry shrimp
never had a problem like this...but will stay alerted
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 07:12 AM
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I have pool filter sand and Soil Master Select (or Turface) in most of my tanks, and have rarely seen (well, smelled) this problem. When the filters slow down I think this contributes. Less water movement above the substrate to remove the tiny trace of hydrogen sulfide and bring more O2 into the area starts a cycle that ends with anaerobic substrate.
Some of the substrate is pretty deep (4") in some tanks. I dig into it top plant stuff, but I think the MTS are at least somewhat responsible for reasonable well aerated substrate. Plants are not so dense in all the tanks to take care of it.

I have more often heard of problems with play sand. Finer material, and mixed particle sizes seem to pack together worse than the same-size material that is pool filter sand.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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did you add any chemicals in the tank? over-dosing excel?
this tank gets no dosing only 50% water changes weekly. its a very low light tank 1.2 watts T-8

I have more often heard of problems with play sand. Finer material, and mixed particle sizes seem to pack together worse than the same-size material that is pool filter sand.

this is y i went with PFS i handnt heared of any one having this problem and it was cheap.

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Last edited by metageologist; 03-15-2010 at 12:01 PM.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-25-2010, 04:09 AM
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Maybe your sand was too deep? I use PFS in all my tanks but I stay under 1.5" depth. Might be all the dead MTS that created such problem.
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