PFS, how do you clean it? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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PFS, how do you clean it?

Probably a stupid questions, but I am leaning towards pool filter sand in my next tank and I am curious about how you clean it. Can you vacuum it like gravel or is there another method you need to use with PFS?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 02:43 AM
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I normally hover just over the surface when I vac. Easy to see where all the waste is and suck it up. I haven't done more intensive cleaning of the sand itself as I do with my gravel tank.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 04:33 AM
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yeah don't do it like gravel. It's too light and ends up in your bucket :/

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Originally Posted by gonzo114 View Post
Probably a stupid questions, but I am leaning towards pool filter sand in my next tank and I am curious about how you clean it. Can you vacuum it like gravel or is there another method you need to use with PFS?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 01:19 PM
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If you need to get deeper into the sand, and are using a gravel vac:
Hold the gravel vac at an angle so about half of the intake hole is still above the sand.
Also, if you are draining into a bucket, lift the bucket high enough to slow the flow. Then the suction is less, so less sand gets picked up.
Also, keep a hand wrapped around the outlet tubing, ready to pinch it off. This stops the flow so the sand can fall out of the intake tube.

Other than that, once the plant roots get going you should not need to vacuum the whole tank, just skim the surface of the sand between the plants.
Plant roots add oxygen to the substrate, and this encourages the decomposer organisms. The substrate will stay pretty clean where the plants are growing.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 01:41 PM
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What i always loved about PFS was it's weight always kept it from being sucked up into the bucket. Vacuuming success comes down to matching the right size vacuum, and hands on use method that works for your tank, dexterity, hose pinching skills, and depth of substrate. All of which is needed for any kind of substrate vacuuming.

You'll get some of it in the bucket, but from my experience of using it for over a decade is it's very slim, and really i just drop it back in the tank.

I'm not into the image, but into the hobby...
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the guidance, I truly appreciated. I picked up a 50# of Aqua Brite pool filter sand. Says highly pure quartzite sand so think I am good to go.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 05:52 PM
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I never clean my sand.

I use MTS (Malaysian Trumpet snails), corys and khuli loaches to sift/move the sand around. Plus my dwarf crays and gobies dig burrows and move lots around. The minute my MTS population dropped significantly (from assassin snails I bought over 6 months) I got gas build up in the sand bed... You could literally smell the stink bubble up if you turned over the sand.

The big center sand area in my tank always looks crazy clean! But there is one spot in the tank (the gully on the left) where debris and plant matter collects requiring removal.

But the sand always looks good. Its not pure white/tan after 5 years BUT theres no top crust, algae growth or patchy discoloration on the sand.

I think the trick to sand is the right tank inhabitants combined with slight under stocking. I love sand and have used it as my main substrate for 20 years!

I will say when I feed, the amount of MTS that come up out of the sand is astounding... Some may not like that! Me, I prefer a janitorial staff on site LOL!


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 03:09 AM
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whitepapagold. thank you for the tips about the MTS. i will have about 1/3 of my bottom tanks as a sand pit. these snails and tips may come in handy!


in my 5g tank, i have these tiny snail that got picked up from a local pet store when i got some more guppies.... will those work? they are tiny as heck tho...

Last edited by mr.BIG; 09-04-2015 at 03:11 AM. Reason: asking a question
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 05:10 AM
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Only MTS. Look on Google to see pics of MTS. They are easy to identify.

Nothing works better in sand for turn over and aeration.

But beware they multiply like crazy.


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