Cleaning a lot of sand - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Cleaning a lot of sand

I'm getting ready to set up a 300 (8' by 2' footprint) and am going to need a lot of sand. In the past I've used play sand over potting mix which I plan to do again unless someone can make a strong argument for PFS. That said, I don't want to spend an entire afternoon cleaning sand in a 5 gallon bucket. Does anyone have faster methods? I'm considering a paint stirring tool (new) on a drill put in a 55 gallon food-safe drum that I have, but haven't come up with anything else clever.

Always curious.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2014, 12:22 AM
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I have a large 15" colander that I use. It can hold about 25 lbs of sand. With good water pressure I spray into the colander using the water stream to do most of the mixing. The cloudy/dirty water just drains out the wholes Best to dump the sand out onto a tarp and and back in "turning it over" at least once. Takes me about 10 minutes to do each 25 lb batch. so if your needing about 250-275 (for 2 inch deep) that would be 10/11 batches. so say 110 minutes so roughly 2 hours plus set up/clean up - so only 1/2 the afternoon.

The holes on in my colander are 5/32. The smallest I done so far is Flourite Black (not sand). I want to set up a new tank (first dirt)in about a month capped with Black Diamond Blasting sand. I figure if the holes are to big I'll line the colander with window screen If you wanted to make your own "colander" with smaller holes you could drill out a bucket - but there goes the other 1/2 of your afternoon

Also for anyone wanting cheap (free) plastic food grade plastic buckets check out local stores that sell decorated cakes. Around me Walmart and Tops give me the empty frosting buckets for free because they just toss them. On other store wanted to charge me $1.50 but I passed. I've gotten 3 sizes about 2 gal round, and about 3 and 4 1/2 gal square.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2014, 02:34 AM
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I'm not saying they don't exist but I've never seen a colander that wouldn't let most of small grain sand through. I think your best option would be a big barrel or something.

I think unfortunately with such a large tank its going to be a lot of work no matter what you do.

I would encourage you not to use PFS. Its clean and has large grain sizes but it just washes out colors IMO. Its good for accents or pathway kind of areas but not for the whole tank. I think a large tank like that needs a more natural substrate.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2014, 03:04 AM
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I used some pfs from a specific hardware store with an ace up it's sleeve. The brand is HTH aqua quartz. I did not have to clean it at all. The best I ever used because of how clean it was. It was $12 for 50lb bag.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2014, 03:06 AM
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There is a very good possibility that PFS won't need rinsing, or a lot less than play sand would need.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2014, 04:17 AM
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Jc you have seen my tanks, and just about all was pfs. If you check around at different pool supplys you can find varying colors and grits. Never rinsed any before putting in the tank.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2014, 04:36 AM
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Yes the nice thing about PFS is that it doesn't need cleaning. My LFS uses it and when we set up a new tank we add new sand, add water and let it cycle. Any little residual dust either settles or is picked up by the sponge filters.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larams67 View Post
I used some pfs from a specific hardware store with an ace up it's sleeve. The brand is HTH aqua quartz. I did not have to clean it at all. The best I ever used because of how clean it was. It was $12 for 50lb bag.
I hope it's ok to bump an older thread..

I purchased the Aqua Quartz PFS as well. The warning label on the back has me a little concerned. Just wanted to double check that this is ok for the tank?

"Warning!

Contains amorphous silica with varying percentage of crystalline silica. Prolonged breathing of excessive concentration of dust may cause lung damage (Silicosis). May cause eye and/or respiratory irritation. Do not get in eyes, wear goggles when handling. Do not breathe dust, use only with adequate ventilation. Crystalline silica has been classified as carcinogenic for humans (Group 1) by the International agency for Research on Cancer.

Do not use in sandboxes."



Sorry, I'm new to all of this..
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 01:51 AM
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I use the same stuff. Don't inhale the dust and work with it while it's moist and you should be fine.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 02:00 AM
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Got'cha. Thank you for confirmation Monster Fish.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 02:15 AM
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Btw, one 50lb bag will fit in a 5 gallon Home Depot/Lowes bucket so you can easily rinse it all in one batch.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 02:26 AM
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I plan on getting a couple. The store I went to only had one bag of sand, sadly. According to the substrate calc I think I'm going to need close to two (75 gal 48x18x21). I'll be going to lowes tomorrow and getting scotts topsoil and hopefully can find another bag at another store. I just saw the label when I got home and got a little worried. Never knew sand was bad for ya..
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