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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I was hoping someone can help me resolve an issue I'm facing with my new tank, assuming what I am expecting is even possible (tank setup listed below). Thanks.

Issue:

My tank currently contains platies which generate a lot of waste each day. Since my sand is white, the waste becomes extremely noticable even a day after vacuuming.

Fish waste will immediately fall directly on the sand and generally does not move much from that location. In particular, there is always a large pile right below one of the filter intake pipes (within a circular area 3 inches around the intake), as thats where the fish like to hang out, but the waste never actually gets sucked up by the filter. This is the case even if I grab the intake nozzle out of frustration and move it literally within a centemeter above the waste. Note: the filters are new (with no additional media) with a very strong outflow which perhaps may even be too much so for the platies.

Question: Generally speaking, is it unreasonable for me to expect the filters to be strong enough to suck up this waste and to move the waste situated throughout the tank towards the intake pipes? If not, could something be blocking the intake flow even though the outflow is strong?

I was thinking of buying a powerhead and position it 6 inches above the sand to push the waste towards the intakes and/or off of the sand. Or in the alternative, lowering one outflow to such position.

Setup:
- 75 gallon tank
- sand substrate
- 2 Fluval 406 filters, setup as followed: (i) one intake and outflow positioned at each back corner (with one from each filter); (ii) outflows directed in such a way to create a circular current; and (iii) intakes 2-3 inches above the sand
- 10 platies
 

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If your filter was powerful enough to pick up waste it would also pick up sand and ruin your filter. If the waste is that much of a problem maybe you are over feeding the fish or can the intake be moved to another location that is not so noticeable. If you dislike the look maybe vacuum the waste once a day or change your substrate so the waste is less noticeable. Good luck.
 

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If your filter was powerful enough to pick up waste it would also pick up sand and ruin your filter.
Fish waste is much less dense than sand. I have 2 AC70s on my 29 gallon and there's enough current that the poop gets sucked into the filters rather than settling on the ground. I use pool filter sand and it doesn't get stirred up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responses. Maybe I'll play around with the location of the intakes. The platies are just temporary fish until I get cichlids, hopefully they don't produce as much waste, but from what I've read they do and with much larger pieces.

I was initially also concerned about the filters sucking up sand, but as mistersprinkles has stated, the sand doesn't get stirred up.

The other thing I've been doing is using a brush to manually create a current which brings up the waste into the filter, but the sand doesn't move.
 

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I'm not sure why you would want to suck up all the fish waste into your filter. Doesn't strike me as a worthwhile goal unless you really like cleaning your filters frequently. Much better for the tank to vacuum it out weekly, removing much of the waste from the system. If the sight of it bothers you then rig up a vacuum using airline tubing attached to a pole. With practice you can quick-vac a 75g in under 5 minutes removing just 1 gallon or less water along with the fish waste :D
 

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I'm not sure why you would want to suck up all the fish waste into your filter. Doesn't strike me as a worthwhile goal unless you really like cleaning your filters frequently. Much better for the tank to vacuum it out weekly, removing much of the waste from the system. If the sight of it bothers you then rig up a vacuum using airline tubing attached to a pole. With practice you can quick-vac a 75g in under 5 minutes removing just 1 gallon or less water along with the fish waste :D
X2

Better to remove it.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Anyone know of someplace that sells thin tubes which will fit airline for doing this? I use airline and I could use an elastic or 2 and attach it to an acrylic rod but the ideal would be a tube..
 

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If you're using sand, then you should get some sand sifters. Malaysian trumpet snails, cories, and kuhli loaches are all good choices.
 

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I just use a fine net such as a brine shrimp net. You can move the net back and forth to stir up the poop and then pick it all up in the net. I do this everyday and the tank is clean and the filters as well.
--
Paul
 

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Anyone know of someplace that sells thin tubes which will fit airline for doing this? I use airline and I could use an elastic or 2 and attach it to an acrylic rod but the ideal would be a tube..


Just use tubing, a rod and zip ties or elastics as per the picture. Airline tubing diameter is perfect. You wouldn't want to connect it to tubing that would have an even smaller diameter. Believe it or not I use the above to vacuum all my planted tanks, except the 145g. Takes about 10-15 minutes, once per month. Gotta love plants and snails!

Bonus tip - two easy ways to start siphon. First method is to use a syringe which you can get for free by asking your local pharmacist - the tip fits perfectly inside airline tubing - rest should be self-explanatory. Second method is to put pole with tubing into tank all the way to bottom. Pinch tubing and withdraw vacuum to just below the surface - release and siphon starts as the water in the tube should be below the vacuum entry point if you do it correctly.
 

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You might, possibly, also consider a secondary circulation pump, if it won't bother your fish. It still won't save you vacuuming, but it does push the lighter stuff around more, so more of it gets picked up. Though it also tends to catch in front of all obstacles, plants, wood, rocks etc. There aren't really many vacuuming alternatives short of getting poop coloured substrate :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Those are some great tips, thanks!

I've been using a regular fish net as a strainer (with only limited success), so that brine net sounds perfect. And I've only been able to vacuum in small sections at a time since I'm probably pulling a gallon of water per gram of poop, so that airline tube idea may solve that issue.

I don't expect to replace vacuuming, but for inbetween maintainences these are exactly the type of tips I was looking for; tips that come only from experience.
 

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I have seen gravel cleaners that are battery operated. They are just a pump to suck water up and out into a filter and right back into the tank. Cleaning the bottom of the tank without removing water.
 

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I have seen gravel cleaners that are battery operated. They are just a pump to suck water up and out into a filter and right back into the tank. Cleaning the bottom of the tank without removing water.
Yup eheim has one, I think I've seen at BA's scarb for around $60. Curious if they are any good..
 

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I had the same problem with white sand. I created a pool of blue gravel just under the intake in a glass bowl. The poop ended up in there and solved the aesthetics and was easy to clean. Worked until I added a cichlid that liked to redecorate...
 
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