View Full Version : Keeping sand substrate clean

01-31-2003, 01:45 PM
How can you keep a sand substrate clean. My sand bottom looked great until junk started to accumulate on it. Waste and debris are bad enough, but the real kicker is the carpet of green algae. What do the rest of you do to keep your sand substrate clean?

01-31-2003, 04:09 PM
I vaccum my sand with 1/2 suction tubing. The small diameter of the tube makes enough power to lift the debris off the sand without taking too much sand with it. I also stir the sand lightly. I use swimming pool filter sand, it is much heavier than the natural stuff. The natural stuff looks better, but I was worried that its fine texture would cause problems. I also try to arrange my rock-work so that the filters have a better chance of catching the debris themselves. Hope that helps. :)

01-31-2003, 04:10 PM
Hi Chet,

The nice thing about sand is that is is very easy to siphon out the debris, as it is easily seen. I have a 55 set-up with sand and never had a algae problem on the sand.

Does your tank get any direct sunlight? What's your photoperiod?


02-04-2003, 11:03 AM
The tank is a 29 gallon with an old 20 watt strip light. The light is on a timer with a photo period of 11 hours. The tank initially had brown algae, but a small common pleco solved that problem. I have since developed a strong colony of the hard green algae on the tank walls, and a carpet of green algae on much of the sand substrate. The green algae clumps together so that it can't be siphoned out, without removing most of the sand. If someone has some suggestions, please let me know.

02-04-2003, 11:16 AM
Can you pick the algae up with your hands and dispose of it?

02-04-2003, 11:37 AM
Maybe, but that's not real practical for my office, particularly on a long-term basis. There's got to be a relatively simple solution to this problem, as several others I have talked to do not have to deal with this.

02-04-2003, 12:02 PM
Sounds like the tank is just to small. Perhaps you should get a 240 gallon with a pair of umbees and the algae will be scared to grow Chet :lol:

02-04-2003, 01:44 PM
I don't know about a pair of umbees, but I beleive a pair of buttikoferi would eat an green algae that was foolish enought to grow in their tank... :D

Rudy, what do you do in your sand bottom tanks?

02-04-2003, 04:49 PM
I use sand on all my tanks Chet and honestly have had no problems. Maybe you could try a phosphate sponge. Get a couple you stick on the bottom of the glass underneath it all. Won't control brown stuff, but if it is green it should work pretty good. I can,t beleive that the pleco is not controlling it though. :idea:

02-04-2003, 05:13 PM
None of my plecos eat green algae, or if they do, they don't do near the job of cleaning it up as they have with the brown algae. I guess the strong adhesion of the green algae may contribute to that. I'll try and post a pic of the tank when I get a chance so ya'll can see what I'm talking about.

Maybe I'll go to a shorter photo period and see if that helps. I have two anacharis plants in the tank which seem to be doing fairly well, inspite of the non-plant friendly lighting. I'm really not sure what to do.

02-05-2003, 08:42 PM
8) An albino bushy nose pleco is the answer to your problem being that it is a algae eating machine and will quickly eat any algae before it has a chance to spread across your tank like a carpet.