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http://indianaquariumhobbyist.com/community/ :: View topic - Sand Giving tough time.
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Sand Giving tough time.
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Rajat
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:54 pm Post subject: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 I  have  a  small  2ft  x  3ft  x  1.5ft  aquarium,  recently  i  changed  the  setup  an  gave  it  a  new  look.  However  the  sand  now  aquires  a  black  muck  and  foul  smell.  Can't  figure  out  what  is  the  pro  blem.  Please  help.
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sandeepraghuvanshi
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:20 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 This  is  precisely  the  reason  why  sand  is  not  used.  Gravel  is  used.  Sand  is  too  compact  and  the  muck  gets  settled.
 Once  you  distrub  the  substrate  the  muck  will  come  up.
 There  is  no  way  except  for  aking  out  everything,  giving  it  a  good  wash  and  setting  up  the  tank  again.  
 I  don't  think  you  can  get  the  muck  out  in  any  other  way.  filters  etc.  will  not  be  able  to  handle  all  these.
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nature_lover
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:52 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 Hi  Rajat,
 
 Welcome  to  IAH.
 Since  the  tank  is  newly  setup,  I  suggest  you  remove  the  sand  and  use  gravel  instead.  You  will  find  lots  of  posts  on  gravel  and  how  to  deal  with  substrates  here.
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aquascapes
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:43 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 Rajat,
 did  any  of  the  fish  die  after  you  re-settled  the  tank?
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retro_gk
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:18 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 How  deep  is  the  sand  bed?  Is  the  tank  planted?
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murthy
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:34 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 Hydrogen  sulphide  matches  the  description.It  is  due  to  a  lack  of  circulation  in  the  sand.As  a  remedy;
 1.switch  to  gravel(no  more  than  an  inch  thick)
 
 2.If  you  must  have  only  sand,reduce  the  thickness  of  the  sand(enough  to  just  about  cover  the  bottom  glass....no  more  than  half  an  inch).
 
 3.If  you  must  have  thicker  layers,go  in  for  an  undergravel  filter,and  keep  raking  the  gravel  every  now  and  then.
 
 4.Or  keep  cichlids  that  like  to  move  around  gravel....they  will  do  all  the  'raking'  you  need!
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Lawrenze
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:07 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 Murthy  is  rite  Thumb Up  Use  sand  as  substrate  only  if  necessary  for  example  sand  sifters  Smile  you  might  have  to  provide  sand  for  malawi  haps  to  bring  out  their  natural  behaviour  otherwise  just  switch  to  gravel  and  that  will  save  you  a  lot  of  headache  Chuckle  btw,  what  fish  do  you  keep  in  there?
 Rgds
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deepesh
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:55 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 Hi  Rajat
 
 The  foul  smell  is  that  of  hydrogen  sulphide.  Classically  and  practically  that  is  the  smell  of  rotten  eggs.  I  mean  rotten  eggs  smell  of  hydrogen  sulphide  and  vice  versa.
 
 Most  of  the  bacteria  that  we  usually  talk  about  are  aerobes.  They  need  oxygen  for  their  metabolism.  These  bacteria  reside  only  where  there  is  enough  oxygen  in  the  water  around  them.  This  usally  means  the  surfaces  in  direct  contact  with  the  water  column.  And  the  first  few  millimeters  of  sand.
 
 When  sand  is  used  as  the  substrate  water  does  not  circulate  in  the  lower  layers.  Once  the  oxygen  is  used  up  the  bacteria  that  survive  (maybe  thrive)  in  that  anoxic  substrate  use  sulphates  to  oxidise  (should  it  be  sulphidise)  their  metabolic  substrates  (a.k.a  khana  in  hindi).  In  the  process  hydrogen  sulphide  is  released.  This  hydrogen  sulphide  then  reacts  with  other  substances  in  the  sand  to  produce  other  sulphides  which  are  usually  black.  Therefore  the  black  muck.
 
 This  problem  is  particularly  noticable  when  using  sand.  The  reason  being  that  sand  is  fine  enough  to  get  compacted  easily  thereby  preventing  adequate  water  from  getting  down  into  it,  on  the  other  hand  has  enough  gaps  to  allow  organic  matter  to  settle  down  into  it  which  then  rots  into  hydrogen  sulphide.
 
 Gravel  usually  has  gaps  large  enough  to  allow  enought  oxygen  to  get  through  -  I  mean  it  allows  enough  water  to  percolate  through  so  as  to  supply  enough  oxygen  to  keep  the  sulphide  bacteria  at  bay.  These  bacteria  find  oxygen  toxic.
 
 Mud  in  nature  can  be  laded  with  hydrogen  sulphide  when  the  organic  content  in  the  water  is  high  adn  the  water  is  stagnant.  This  often  happens  in  lakes.  The  other  place  this  happens  is  in  all  the  cities  of  India  -  you  just  have  to  look  into  any  major  drain.  On  the  other  hand  in  fast  flowing  streams  where  the  bottom  is  constantly  being  moved  by  well  oxygenated  water  this  is  a  rare  occurence.
 
 I  dont  know  if  this  is  problem  with  laterite.  Maybe  that  laterite  prevents  organic  matter  from  getting  into  it.  What  I  know  is  that  laterite  needs  to  be  a  little  anoxic  to  release  its  bound  iron.
 
 I  do  have  sand  in  one  of  my  tanks  but  it  is  only  about  a  centimeter  at  the  front  and  about  an  inch  at  the  back.  Also  when  siphoning  I  push  the  siphon  tube  a  bit  into  the  substrate  at  the  back  so  that  water  gets  into  the  substrate.  It  has  worked  for  me  for  the  past  one  year  with  a  low  fish  load  and  regular  siphoning.  You  can  do  that  if  your  problem  is  not  too  great.
 
 Another  thing  that  you  can  do  is  get  Malaysian  Trumpets.  They  are  tough  buggers  and  will  turn  up  the  sand.  Be  warned  though  that  these  are  extremely  prolific.
 
 If  your  problem  is  severe  I  think  you  will  have  to  restart  from  scratch.  Hydrogen  sulphide  is  poisonous  (to  fish  as  well  as  to  us)above  a  certain  concentration.  Our  noses  though  can  detect  it  at  very  very  low  concentrations.  Its  production  is  also  associated  with  the  production  of  methane  which  itself  is  also  poisonous  to  fish.
 
 When  I  was  young  I  often  had  this  problem.  I  would  then  take  out  as  much  water  as  possible  from  the  tank  into  a  large  clean  tub.  The  fish  would  be  next  and  finally  the  plants  because  uprooting  them  meant  that  the  H2S  would  be  released  into  the  water.  I  would  then  take  out  the  sand  and  wash  it  like  crazy.  This  would  get  rid  of  most  of  the  smell  and  the  muck.  I  would  also  boil  the  sand  (which  would  shock  me  now).  Then  I  would  start  the  tank  again  using  the  tank  water  I  had  drained  off  earlier.
 
 Basically  if  you  do  the  same  you  will  end  up  sterilizing  your  sand,  as  washing  that  extensively  will  was  away  most  of  your  bacteria.  Anyway  the  sand  at  the  top  of  your  substrate  once  you  put  it  back  will  be  altogether  a  new  layer.  This  should  get  recolonized  by  bacteria  from  the  old  water  and  the  plants.  But  your  tank  will  still  be  cycling  for  some  time  which  could  be  hazardous  for  your  fish.  Mine  were  tough  as  nails  -  guppies,  gouramis,  rosy  barbs  and  they  all  survived.
 
 Good  luck.
 
 Deepesh
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murthy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:32 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 Very Happy  I  always  look  forward  to  reading  Deepesh's  posts.Scientific,but  not  too  heavy  PhD  stuff.Keep  it  coming  Deepesh!
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sandeepraghuvanshi
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:10 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 Hi
 I  would  still  recommend  to  strip  down  the  tank.   Smile  
 While  resetting  it  mix  some  gravel  with  sand  .
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aquascapes
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:25 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 is  Rajat  still  with  us?
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aquamann
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:33 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 It  doesn't  look  like  it  Nauzer.  I  think  he  was  a  drive-by  member.  What  a  shame  it  is!  There  is  a  ton  of  good  information  here  Â   Crying or Very sad  .
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aquascapes
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:53 pm Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 I  think  Charlie  -  there  are  some  members  who  are  less  frequently  visiting  IAH  so  lets  give  him  sometime  and  see  if  he  is  reading  the  wealth  of  info  people  take  pains  in  posting!
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surya_niki
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:19 am Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 I’m  from  Bangalore.  I  own  a  cichlids  tank  and  recently  got  into  setting-up  a  planted  aquarium.   The  bed  of  the  tank  is  laid  with  a  layer  of  red  soil(  1”)  and  layer  of  sand  with  gravel(the  best  that  you  can  get  from  the  aquarium  shop  â€“  2”).  This  substrate  contains  broken  shell  and  I  knew  about  shells  emitting  calcium  later  to  the  set-up.  From  that  time  I  started  doing  50  %  water  change  once  every  3  days.  The  problem  I’m  facing  is  light  brown  algae  (brown  algae)  on  the  top  and  recently  I  can  see  the  sand  tuning  black  from  its  base  till  the  top.  I  have  got  some  pics  of  it  too.  
 
 Residents  are  harlequins(3),  black  phantoms(3),  lemon  tetras(4),  Cory’s  (Julie,  Sterbai,  and  Emerald-4),  Chinese  algae  eater(1),  zebra  loaches(2),  and  one  small  lobster.  Till  now  I  haven  had  any  deaths  in  the  tank,  but  never  the  less  I’m  not  able  to  sleep  thinking  about  the  situation.  I  know  there  is  something  is  wrong,  and  is  there  any  thing  you  can  help  me  with.  
 
 Aquarium  is  my  passion  and  would  really  require  your  advice  in  helping  me  keep  the  little  guys  alive  with  the  best  environment.   By  the  way  the  size  of  the  tank  is  2  feet/1.5feet/1.5  feet  (L/b/h).  No  light  as  the  tank  is  in  the  hall  with  enough  day  light.  I  set  up  co2  with  the  help  of  a  friend(  Mixture  of  sugar  and  yeast)
 
 SOS!!!!!
 
 Regards,
 Surya
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surya_niki
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:23 am Post subject: Re: Sand Giving tough time. Reply with quote

 And  one  more  thing  ,  the  tank  is  2  weeks+  old
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