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Author Topic: Washing Your Substrates  (Read 2188 times)


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Washing Your Substrates
« on: March 27, 2009, 10:38:43 AM »
All of the aggregate and sand based substrates should be washed before use. This does not need to happen with fertilized substrates for plants as that would defeat the purpose.

It is best if you wash your sand/aggregate outside of the tank as thoroughly as possible. Most people like the bucket with hose method. Crude yet effective :)

Put enough sand/aggregate in the bucket to fill it about 1/3. Then you put a hose in the bucket with a fairly gentle stream and let it fill up. The dirty part will overflow at the top. Once that comes fairly clean you dump and refill and dump and refill a few times to get the heavier particles out.

You repeat this process 1/3 bucket at a time until all the sand/aggregate you want is cleaned. Although this takes some work upfront it really is worth it in the long run.

When you put any sand or aggregate into your tank do NOT run the filter until the cloudiness of the water has calmed down. It will take the particles into the filter and potentially damage the impeller. Give it time to clear, save a filter!

You can always just put the substrate right into the tank and fill with water. This will create a huge amount of cloudiness that can take up to a week to really settle.

Play sand is cheap and effective, but highly dirty with lots of wood and other dirt that doesn't belong. This will take forever to settle if dumped straight into the tank. Other aggregates are cleaner and will take less time to settle. Sand/aggregates that are packaged for a fish tank will be the cleanest, but will still need to be washed or given time to settle.

The colored rocks that are sold in bags also need to be washed. There are some gritty pieces in this that you can clear by washing. I use a bucket in my sink for this since there isn't that much dirt. I always swish it around with my hand to help the process along.

Any rocks or wood you choose to put into the tank should be washed. Some people like to boil the wood to get rid of any bacteria or icky stuff that may be carried in with it. If it is too big to boil then you can put it in the bathtub with the hottest water possible and scrub it down to get rid of all of the loose pieces. You do the same thing with rocks, just wash and scrub them with the hottest water possible.

Do NOT use any chemicals/soaps/detergents to clean your tank or anything that goes in it! This is a sure way to kill off inhabitants. Those things can not be fully rinsed off and will get into the tank. You can safely use bleach if you rinse very thoroughly and leave out until it's completely dry. Overnight is best.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 10:42:24 AM by Obsidian »
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