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Foreground Sand Cleaning

2541 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Paul Higashikawa
Probably this topic has already been asked, but since I was reading Carlos's post on using sand as the foreground, I couldn't help but wonder about cleaning.

Do we just vacuum lightly on the front where the sand lies? As far as fish is concerned, I guess bottom dwellers are out of the question, right? Cus with their disturbance wouldn't the stirred up debris clog the filter? I had a similar problem when I used sand, and it clogged my filter pretty good. Motor stopped runnning. Any idea/suggestion?

Also, what are some good sand choices? Please also include brands if possible.

Anyone and everyone welcomed! Thanks! Sorry to moderators if I asked an already-been-asked question :lol:

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When I had a sand foreground in my 55g, I just rolled the foreground gently with my hands. I also did some light vacuuming.

I had a small group of Corydoras trilineatus which loved to hang out in the sand. I never found a grain of sand in my canister filter. Remember, it's not the entire tank that is covered in sand --and if the sand is so fine that it stirs up easily and clouds the water, then you need to find something coarser.

Carlos, that cleared things out for me; thanks:)

I used a few bags of "Freshwater Sand" from one of the LFSs in my Central American tank. I had some Thorichthys aureus in there that absolutely loved to sift through it, and like Tsunami I never found a single grain in my filter.

I don't ever vacuum it, however, since I've never encountered anything that would suggest I need to. Maybe the cichlids do all the cleaning for me :)
Got it:) Thank you so much! I can't wait to try out my own sand foreground set-up. I just love that clean, beachy look.

BTW, I have this step by step picture demonstration of one such set up, but it's in Chinese. I found it in a Taiwanese plant forum. I am wondering, if anybody is interested, I can translate as well as upload the links to my on-line album. I don't have my own website so directly pasting URL address isn't possible. This demonstration really is good, and I think some people could benefit by looking at it. Please give me some feedback if y'all would like to see it.

If you could post and translate it, that would be amazing!

Yes i think that would be a great help :)
Ok, here it is. Like I said before, I don't have my own website so I can only post the link to my Yahoo photo album. Below is the link. There are a total of 7 pictures. I will translate what each says below. You can pretty much look at the pictures and guess what they are saying; translation serves to clarify certain points in each picture.

#1.The tank size is 90X45X45cm. First, be sure the tank has no leakages of any kind. Add salt as an antibacterial agent to cleanse it of any pathogen. After about 2-3 days, replace with fresh water. Lighting is accomplished by using two sets of two 30-W light(so total is 120W). The entire lighting is focused toward the back of the tank because the front is covered with decoration sand. Filter is Eheim 2222, which isn't really enough. However, it should suffice in the mean time due to low fish stock.

#2. In this set up 3 kinds of sand-mud of varying colorations, qualities, and functions are chosen as the substrates. Thick granulated sand(pic 1) has mixed textures and colorations; its purpose is to harbor and harvest bacteria and is placed on the bottom-most layer.
ADA Bright Sand has a somewhat finer texture; coloration is yellowish white, making its appearance more natural than pure white sand. It is used as the decoration sand on the front of the tank. Disadvantage is its ease of harboring green algae.
ADA Amazonia Black Mud is nutritious for the plants, and has the tendency to acidify the water, lowering its pH. Disadvantage is its ease of breaking apart and becoming loose, turning into finer sand dust after a period of 9 months.

#3. In order to nicely separate the black mud and the decoration sand, it is imperative that a piece of thick paper board is used to divide the two. Cut the paper board to a height of 3 inches so as to be able to view the dividing line between the two substrates. The paper board can either be left straight or slightly bent into triangular shape to better gauge in creating different visual depths. Furthermore, the triangular paper board doesn't have to be precisely in the middle; it should follow the golden ratio; either 1:2 or 1:3 would look more natural.

#4. penacW is used here; its purpose is to slow down the gradual disintegration and aging of the black mud. Thinly spread it over the back portion of the tank, where the mud is to be placed. When all done, use hard, heavy objects to secure the paper board from falling down such as the case when the mud is applied its weight might push over the paper board.

#5. This is the most crucial part of the set up; no mistake must be made at this point! First dump the black mud and flatten with a scoop, take care not to allow the mud to alter the shape of the paper board. Then, with caution, slowly dump in the decoration sand on the front and flatten with the scoop. Care must be made to ensure the height of both the mud and the sand at the border are the same.
Slowly and carefully lift the paper board(do not rush); the sand and mud will push toward each other. Lastly, use rocks to disguise the border. When filling in the water, be careful not to pour too fast and also use any dishes to lessen the flow; mud and sand must not be mixed.

#6. At this point the water is still somewhat unclear. However, plants can be put in desired spots. This set up is following the rule of 'front ying; back yang', meaning all the lights are concentrated toward the back of the tank.(Note:ying and yang are Chinese philosophical denotations of negative and positive force/energy/phenomenon, respectively)
After 1 week, functional fish as well as few neon fish can be put into the tank to speed up its biological cycle. Lightly prune the plants.

#7. After 1 month....................(I wanna add 'Voila' right here :D )

I hope the above translation is clear and easy to read for everyone. If you have any further questions, please don't ask me;) I pretty much translated everything word for word. I realize there are products we don't have here in the States, so please direct any questions to our wise Moderators:) Enjoy!

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Wow that was very cool of you! Thank you for translating that for us :)
Hi to all:

Greg, AKA IUnknown, has graciously given me the honor by becoming the host of the pictures from his own website. I want to take this moment to sincerely thank him, and also thank everyone for having given me the opportunity to post my translations. I am going to edit the translations in the previous post with pictures directly posted;) Enjoy!

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