Aquariums all have a bottom layer. Some are made of colorful gravel and
small rocks, others use fine sand to simulate a tropical look and natural
home for algae and other aquatic organisms. However, over time the bottom
layer of your tank will fill up with detritus, or gunk that causes nitrates
to fill your tank, leading to poor health and possibly even dying organisms.
It might seem logical to think that the sand in the bottom of your tank
has spoiled or gone bad when it gets to this point, but you might be surprised
to learn that sand can usually be re-used. Let’s take a closer look at how.
Rinsing Your Sand
Having to replace the sand in your tank every time you do a major cleaning
can add a major expense to the hobby for aquarium keepers, so if you’re
looking to save some money, re-conditioning your sand is one way to start.
Sand is essentially just microscopic rock flakes, which means it doesn’t
really ever go bad. It also means that detritus can pretty easily be rinsed
off of your sand and washed away, allowing you to simply put the sand
back in your tank where it can stay again for another few years.
Rinsing your sand isn’t necessarily an easy process. While it’s not complicated, it can be back-breaking work, so be
prepared to spend at least an hour or more, depending on the size of your
tank. You will need a hose with a high-pressure jet nozzle, preferably
one you can lock into place, and large bucket, and it’s strongly
advised you perform this chore outside where you can easily dump water
away, such as on your driveway.
- Fill the bucket anywhere between one quarter and halfway up with some of
the old sand
- Turn on the nozzle to a high-pressure setting that has the water coming
out at a high speed
- Bury the nozzle deep in the sand and swirl it around to have it start rinsing
off the sand. You should start to notice a layer of dirty, detritus-filled
water accumulating on the top.
- Once the water reaches a certain level, tip the bucket to pour the water
out, but only so far as to allow the water to drain out, not the sand.
- Repeat this process over and over again, swirling the sand around thoroughly
to make sure all of the sand gets thoroughly rinsed.
- Once the water is coming out clear or with very little clouding, your sand
is clean. Place the clean sand into a new bucket, and re-fill the rinsing
bucket with your next batch of sand.
If you’re careful, you shouldn’t lose more than one to two
percent of the sand that was in your tank during this process. However,
be careful when rinsing, especially if your tank has things like bristle
worms that may have been buried in the sand as you scooped it out. It’s
strongly advised you wear rubber gloves when performing this maintenance.
For more maintenance tips or to have a professional clean your tank using
the latest equipment and techniques, call the Los Angeles custom aquariums
experts at Living Art Aquatic Design, Inc. today! Dial (310) 626-1448 to
receive an estimate.
(Special thanks to Melev’s Reef, Inc. for putting this painstaking
process into an informative video!)