Play sand won't settle. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Play sand won't settle.

I replaced my gravel in my turtle tank with play sand just as a bit of a change. I rinsed the 30kg of sand a few times and the water was coming out fairly clear. But then when I put it in the tank and filled it, it went extremely cloudy again. I didn't turn my filter on hoping it would just settle but it's been almost two days and I can't see my hand on the back of the tank. Should I just take it out and replace it with PFS? The PFS I put in my 3foot temp tank I didn't even rinse and it was cloudy for only 24-48 hours then clear as crystal. But the play sand just doesn't seem to have changed.

Should I do daily water changes? Just constant water changes till its clear? Or just throw it out and replace it with PFS..?

> we will bring the tidal wave
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 11:36 PM
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Play sand is bad. Too many fines, even if you rinse it. Remove it.
PFS is the way to go if you want sand substrate.
Even coarser sand and similar materials work well, too. You want a graded product so pretty much all the particles are the same size. Some rinsing will help because in the bag some particles may break apart, there will be some dust, but it is nowhere near the amount of dust that you find in most play sand.

Where do they get that idea, anyway? If I was building a sand box for my kids to play in I would want a coarse sand that falls off just by brushing it off. Not that fine stuff, almost like flour.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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My friend has this same play sand in his tank but less then an inch layering the base. I now know why. He suggested I go out and buy some which i did as it looked really clean and nice in his tank.

My first thought when rinsing was that it was super fine. But I figured if I let it sit in the tank it would settle down and I could start cycling the tank again but it just isn't going to happen. I'll throw it out and buy some PFS I think. Will be the quickest and best solution. I don't n ow why I have heard good things about it when my experience has been this horrible!

I've just cleaned my filter and it had some sand through it so I definitely wouldn't want to put fish or my turtle back in there. They would likely suffocate or swallow a tonne of floating sand.

Take this as a warning to anyone thinking of using play sand.

> we will bring the tidal wave
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 11:56 PM
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Play sand never settles especially if you have active bottom dwellers like cory or pleco
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 12:57 AM
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My play sand tanks are clear and they have plecos and corries. I stir mine up with my fingers during each water change and it settles as soon as I stop moving it around. I rinse mine really well. I put it in a bucket and run the hose through it for like an hour. I end up with less sand than I started with so I probably flush out the smaller particles. I'd say take it out and rinse like crazy. Is it possible the turtle is disturbing the sand?

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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I didn't put any fish or my turtle in it since it was so cloudy. Didn't want them to be breathing in lots of little sand particles or scratching turtles eyes or anything. I took most of it out. Left a few mm and capped it with my old gravel after I cleaned it. Waters still a tiny bit cloudy but it's definitely habitable.

> we will bring the tidal wave
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 10:46 AM
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Weird.... My friend has play sand in her tank and it never makes anything cloudy. Even if something digging around in it it just falls back to the bottom mess free right away.
I do remember washing that stuff though. Took forever.
We did it at my house since I have a yard and she doesnt.. Pretty much spent a whole day with a hose stuck in a bucket on full blast.. My dahlias were very happy though.
Maybe you didn't rinse it enough?

I personally think the rinsing is a hassle. I go for PFS if I want coarse sand. Caribsea sand if I want fine sand.
Caribsea rinses quickly but costs a fair bit more. Looks really nice though.
She is cheap so she would rather pay and rinse all day. Lucky she didn't see my water bill lol..


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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 12:11 PM
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I find it is all in the filling. Very slow water flow into a dish usually works. Once it all settles it seems to be fine. I would suck all the water out and refill it. I have always used play sand because it is cheap. I used to rinse it over and over until it came clear, now I don’t even bother. Now I put potting soil under it.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 12:18 PM
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I like play sand and used it in all my tanks, but then I found sand blasting sand and switched to that just because it's black.

You have to wash sand in very small batches to get a good amount of fine out of it. But either way, it will settle, won't hurt anything but the view until then.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 04:03 PM
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I think it's just a matter of not getting it rinsed well. You have to run a hose through the bucket of play sand really plunging the hose to the bottom and letting the dusty particles rise to the top and overflow outof the bucket. Do one bag of sand (or half a bag maybe) at a time. You'll have less than when you started but so what it's like $2.50 per bag.

I like my play sand tanks i have zero issues with clouding or particles suspended in the water column. When I fill my tanks I use a hose. If the tank has a corner without plants to get uprooted then i can turn the hose up higher and the sand moves around in that corner only. I Smooth it out when I'm done. Wait maybe 3 - 5 minutes and turn on the filter.

Since your turtle isn't in yet, take the sand out and rinse it again and you'll be fine.

I like the play sand because it's actually sand and PFS seems like fine gravel to me. Plus I like to take the end off my gravel vac so I can suck up MTS snails. Doing this also sucks up sand (or any substrate) and the play sand is cheap if I need to dump more in.

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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I did rinse it for maybe an hour and a half at a time for each bucket (4buckets) and it was still super cloudy. It might have just been the type of sand we get for ps here in Australia. Like i said I already took most of it out and capped it with my old gravel. I really didn't like how fine it was for such a big active tank. Might try it again on a smaller tank or my next planted tank.

> we will bring the tidal wave
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-09-2012, 09:51 AM
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I have play sand in my tank and it settled fine though there were always black particles that seemed to layer in with the sand. I'm going to switch to something better for my plants soon though as it just doesn't seem to be working for me.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 04:43 AM
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Play sand seems to need so much rinsing (hours of time and many gallons of water) so why not just go with PFS to begin with? Just a quick rinse and ready to go. Almost no product loss unless you get really careless and allow a lot of it to go over the edge of the bucket.

Yes, filling the tank by running the water in slowly over a plastic bag or plate will really help any substrate not cloud the water on initial filling.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-02-2015, 09:48 PM
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I use play sand in my tank, with 3 very active cories stirring things up and have no issues with cloudiness.

When I rinsed it, I planted the end of the tube deep in a 5g bucket half full of sand, after letting that fill I put the lid on the bucket and let it sit for about a week. When I added it to my tank I siphoned out the old water and top layer of sand and it's sitting in my crystal clear tank right now.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-02-2015, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Play sand is bad. Too many fines, even if you rinse it. Remove it.
PFS is the way to go if you want sand substrate.
Even coarser sand and similar materials work well, too. You want a graded product so pretty much all the particles are the same size. Some rinsing will help because in the bag some particles may break apart, there will be some dust, but it is nowhere near the amount of dust that you find in most play sand.

Where do they get that idea, anyway? If I was building a sand box for my kids to play in I would want a coarse sand that falls off just by brushing it off. Not that fine stuff, almost like flour.
Agree 100% - I learned the hard way many years ago. Nothing but PFS for me ever since then, in all my tanks.
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