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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My tank has a pool filter sand substrate. I like the look of the sand and my plants have grown well in it. But it seems like fish waste and other plant/algae matter accumulates very quickly. Is this necessarily a bad thing? I try to siphon it out but I end up siphoning out the sand with the waste, and sometimes I accidentally take out some roots.

I change the water every 2-3 days and try to get out as much as possible but it's really difficult. When I add new water I try to let the flow disturb the substrate so the poop can get picked up by the filter. But that just seems to stress out the fish a lot and it usually settles back onto the sand, plants, and driftwood before it ever makes it to the filter intake.

Should I be worried about this or will the plants and filter eat all the nitrates that it produces before it can stress out the fish?
 

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I had sand for a while as I too liked the bright look. Had the same problem as you. Poop and leaf litter very evident and very messy and ugly looking. I overlaid with a layer of Soil Master Select Black. Can barely see any poop or leaf litter now. Different look completely though. That said many of my fish seem more comfortable with the darker substrate and their colors are more richer as a result. I would not go back now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have some Flourite laying around somewhere that I've been wanting to replace the sand with, but I can't find it and can't afford any anything else. I've got German Blue Rams in the tank and from what I've read they prefer a sand substrate.

I think I may remove some inhabitants. My shrimp and neons seem to be producing a lot of the waste so I could see how it goes with just GBR's and Otos.
 

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I actually used that idea along time ago for my cichlids. The ug jets work beautifully for sand and keep it fairly clear. But I had cichlids and they sifted a lot through the sand as well.
As Fortuna Wolf said, any fish type that roots in the sand will keep the sand clean as well. I have a banjo catfish and he keeps the sand clean as well as the lone cory.
 

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I have been on sand for a while and had the same problem. This is cause by lack of water circulation in the bottom of tank (dead zone). I rearange the water outflow of one of my filter to hit more the bottom and that took care of the problem.
 
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