How to Clean Sand in a Fish Tank

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Fish tanks with sand bottoms generally stay cleaner than gravel-bottom aquariums because debris doesn't fall between the particles as easily. Find out how to stir the sand and vacuum up debris with help from the owner of a pet fish store in this free video on cleaning sand in fish tanks.

Part of the Video Series: Fish Tank Maintenance
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Eric with the World of Wet Pets Tropical Fish in Portland, Oregon, and I'm here to explain how to clean sand in an aquarium. Now, sand bottom aquariums are a little different than gravel bottoms aquariums. They stay cleaner naturally because debris doesn't fall down between the particles as easily. So it's actually easier to clean sand, even though it may take a little bit longer. The easiest way to do it is to just go in, and either with your hand or with a net or with any sort of item, stir the sand all the way to the bottom. Just completely stir it up and make a nice cloud, okay? You'll come back in about five to ten minutes after this has settled. And what you're going to do is, anything that the filter hasn't picked out of the water will have settled onto the top of the sand. At which point you'll want to take a siphon, with a large barrel like a gravel vacuum, start your siphon, okay, and then gently and lightly just go over the top of the sand, picking up all of the small debris that is now resting on top of the sand. Try not to get down into the sand, because your gravel vacuum will end up picking it all up and taking it out as well. So if you just go over the top, you'll just get the light dust of stuff that has is settled. And that's all it takes to clean sand. Remember, once you're done, go ahead and give your filter another cleaning if you've cleaned it already, because it will have picked up a fair amount of stuff out of the water.

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