How often do you need to change the sand bed

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08 Nov 2016 19:52 #1 by barr (declan)
Hi All

I am just wondering how often should a sand substrate need to be changed in a tropical tank.

Is there a time period , after which it would be beneficial for removing the whole substrate and putting in fresh sand.

I have a near empty tank at the moment so now could be my opportunity before I stock up again.

Thanks

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08 Nov 2016 20:21 #2 by gunnered72 (Eddy Gunnered)
You can actually reuse your sand over and over (unless its one of those fancy planted tank peat substrates like Amazonia etc)

Take it out and rinse it in buckets with clean water to get all the nasty stuff out of it....It will be as good as new...

Ive done this many times with sand substrates over the years...Never had any problems....

Just keep rinsing it until the water you empty from the bucket runs reasonably clear...

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08 Nov 2016 21:10 #3 by barr (declan)
Great to know the sand can be re-used , looks like a have a bit of work ahead of me though :)

The sand has been in there 6 years and is looking rather tired at this stage.

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08 Nov 2016 22:03 #4 by gunnered72 (Eddy Gunnered)
It is a bit time consuming but your sand will turn out like new...Its well worth it to give it a good rinse...It will save you money amongst other benefits...

When you fill your tank back up the water will be crystal clear immediately...Alot of people dont wash their sand before use and end up with a grey cloud for days....And when it does clear up the slightest disturbance of the sand bed creates another cloud...Which is very annoying...

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09 Nov 2016 00:44 #5 by Sukahn (Shane Doorley)
The general rule of thumb with sand beds is that every inch will last a year before needing cleaning/changing. So if you have a 3 inch sand bed it will last 3 years before the nitrate and ammonnia levels become saturated and then you need the filter to work harder to deal with it.

I dont really know if this is for reef only of for all sandbeds but this is what ive read up about reef tanks as thats what i have.

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09 Nov 2016 04:19 - 09 Nov 2016 04:22 #6 by gunnered72 (Eddy Gunnered)

Sukahn wrote: The general rule of thumb with sand beds is that every inch will last a year before needing cleaning/changing. So if you have a 3 inch sand bed it will last 3 years before the nitrate and ammonnia levels become saturated and then you need the filter to work harder to deal with it.

I dont really know if this is for reef only of for all sandbeds but this is what ive read up about reef tanks as thats what i have.


Yup I think thats a Marine tank thing cos the sand is live and acts as part of the filtration system (Somebody stop me if im wrong)

For fresh water tanks over time to avoid nasty gas and dirt build up the thing to do is gently poke through the sand and turn it over every once in a while...People sometimes use Malaysian Trumpet Snails to do this job for them....I also believe that roots from live plants will also do a similar job as they continually grow and spread out through the substrate...Again specialist planted tank substrates are a different story and do have a lifespan as regards being resuable...They need replacing completely over time as they exhaust their nutrient supplies...
Last edit: 09 Nov 2016 04:22 by gunnered72 (Eddy Gunnered).

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11 Nov 2016 15:25 #7 by cichlidheaven (graham wynne)
hi

i changed sand out for the first time in 10 years recently. other than topping up with coral sand to give me a PH correction same sand was in tank.
i carried out a elephant snorkel every 2-3 weeks on sand while doing a water change in different spots every time. cichlids were good at stirring it up also.
it is a fine line between taking out bad bugs in sand and leaving some bugs in to allow nitrate/nitrite breakdown on solids waste.

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