i have some of that tropical white sand (not sure the name) in the front of my tank and i just cant keep it clean. it seems like within an hr after cleaning it will already have more shrimp crap on it. just ive also had what seems to be a kind of algea outbreak on it. most of the top layer of sand has turned a slight yellow, but i can stir it up to reveal clean white sand.
my question is whats the best way to keep this stuff looking good in clean like ive seen in all the pictures???
A picture is just that a picture. It's a moment in time. That beautiful sand in the picture will get dirty to. I usually gently vacuum the sand to make it look clean again. If you use a regular gravel washer just pinch the hose after the head and the sand won't be complelety sucked up.
I have the exactly same problem in an aquarium that I was settin up, I have white sand in the front, and since I started I got the sand cover, first for a yellowish snow looking layer and I believe was a kind of fungus and there after for a brown layer that I believe was an algea, all this during the cycle process. After several water changes and syphoing, I drop a bag of activated Charcoal inside the aquarium with a dosis of bacteria AKA, and not only got rig of dirty looking in my sand but also got my water really clear. I haven't had the problem again, at least not that critical as I had it initially.
maybe thats my probel. my old established filter has slowed to a trickle, so im running a new aquaclear 30 next to it that is not established. maybe the estaclished AC in the old filter isn't comin in contact with enough of the water??
You have identified one of the problems with using sand for a substrate or substrate cap. The fine grains prevent waste mater from working its way to the under-substrate. That both prevents the plants from using it, plus it adds to the maintenance, as you have seen.
o theres no plants in it. i have like 4 inches of flourite/pool filter sand mix in the back of the tank, a barrier of fossil rock and then the fine white sand in the front like 2 inches of the tank just for looks. plants are only in the back