What is the best way to clean pool sand? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2012, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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What is the best way to clean pool sand?

A friend of mine has a tank with pool filter sand. The tank is starting to get a pond smell, even with water changes. How can we clean the sand without messing up the tank to much?

Any help would be great!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Any ideas at all?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 12:11 AM
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Put some mts in the tank. They keep my pool sand tank pristine for me.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 03:41 PM
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I think the reason you're not getting a bunch of responses is because you should not be needing to clean the sand. It is abnormal for it to be smelling like that. Normal maintenance of a sand substrate is to use the gravel vac to suck up the detritus that's sitting on top of the sand, and thats it since detritus normally cannot filter down into the sand due to the sand's tiny grain size.

If the tank is smelling bad, I'd be concerned about the overall health of the tank in general. If there an algae problem? Is the tank clean? Are the plants healthy? What are the water parameters? Why is the sand substrate being targeted as the cause? Something's definitely wrong, but it sounds odd that the sand would be the cause and that cleaning it would be the solution.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 03:45 PM
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+1 on the MTSs...
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 03:32 AM Thread Starter
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I am a little slow when it comes to fish, so what is a MTS?

The tank is really clean looking, with water changes are done on time every week. The plants are healthy, and happy, the fish are doing great. It is just the sand, and I don't know why?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 03:53 AM
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Malaysian Trumpet Snails. My LFS will give them to me if they have any in their tanks.

Standard 10 Gallon (20 x12x12).
Low tech, Sand substrate.
Eheim 2211, and Aqueon Quietflow 10.
Finnex Stingray LED, 20" above substrate
2 Anubias Nana Petite, Christmas moss.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 05:21 PM
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Whats the % of water being changed?


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 06:52 PM
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Are you getting any BGA (blue green algae) in the tank? That has a very strong odor, even in small amounts.

I agree with the statements above....the sand should not be a problem unless you are getting anerobic pockets in the sand. Are you seeing any air bubbles coming up from the same spots in the tank? Any patches of black sand?

Have you tested your nitrate and phosphate levels in the tank? I've found that high phosphates in the water can produce an earthy, organic smell.

I use a siphon and get the hose within several inches of the sand and simply suck up the stuff settled. I never disrupt the sand as I use poop cubes (earthworm casting icecubes) and osmocote caps.


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I have 1 bag of Akadama Double Red Line Medium still available....PM me.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 01:43 AM
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If you think there really is a problem with the sand, and you want to stir it without disrupting the plants use a stick, like a chopstick, or shish-kabob skewer and poke the sand with very little stirring action.
If you see a lot of bubbles STOP. You might have some anaerobic pockets that are the home of bacteria that produce some pretty bad gas that could kill the fish. Do a water change. The next day poke a different area, until you run into another pocket of gas, and do a water change. Keep that up, it might take a week to get over the whole tank, then it is time to go back and do the first spot again.
If you can, remove some of the sand over the worst spots so there can be better water circulation in those areas, under the substrate.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 01:51 AM
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The gas that comes up from anaerobic bacteria has been known to kill fish within seconds of bubbling up from the sand so a water change could be too late. However, iron renders the gas harmless. So if you do have anaerobic bacteria, before messing with gas bubbles while fish are in the tank, dose the tank with iron, then poke at the bubbles and do the water change.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 02:03 AM
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Had to look up the specifics, it's been so long. Anaerobic bacteria converts nitrates into nitrogen or hydrogen sulfides (the deadly gas). Iron binds to the sulfide, rendering it harmless to living organisms.

Therefore, whenever there is a concern of gas bubbles coming up from the substrate due to anaerobic bacteria, it's best to dose iron in the tank as a precaution. The iron won't hurt anything if it's not needed, but can save a tank full of fish if it is.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 05:47 AM
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Great tip on the iron Complexity, never knew that!

I find my tanks have a "fishy" smell but its very unnoticible unless you literally stick your nose directly next to the tank. Is your pond smell really bad?

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for all the help!
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