How do I avoid sucking sand during water change?

VioletThePurple

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I recently have sand substrate. When I try to clean it like I did with gravel, a portion of the sand gets sucked up into the hose. I have to scoop it back into the tank with a net. I don't want to lose substrate every water change.
 

CarissaT

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Hi, I have a mix of sand and gravel but I avoid sucking up very much sand by not digging it in very far. Also the taller the big tube the more likely it will fall back down instead of going up into the hose. You can’t make the big tube go too far above the rim of your tank or you will have a problem starting a siphon, but at least as tall as your tank or couple inches taller may help if it’s not already. You can also kink the hose a little to reduce flow rate.
 

Byron

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I recently have sand substrate. When I try to clean it like I did with gravel, a portion of the sand gets sucked up into the hose. I have to scoop it back into the tank with a net. I don't want to lose substrate every water change.

This was raised in another thread last week, but is easy to answer. If you have a long water changer, meaning the large hard tube is a long one, much of the sand sucked up will fall back due to gravity; a tube the depth of the tank works for this. Second, you can "kink" the hose to lessen the flow, though I would not myself do this as it will weaken the hose over time. Third, if you have the bucket higher off the floor, the gravity will not be so great and it will flow a bit less. Fourth, you can hold the water changer a couple inches off the sand and move it back and forth which will dislodge stuff and it will get sucked up. Fifth, you may not need to "dig" into the sand as you do with gravel. If you have plants, you want to allow the decomposition of organics in the substrate to provide much-needed nutrients, especially CO2 and ammonia.

Edit. As I was concentrating on typing, CarissaT posted much of the same. Great minds think alike... :fish:
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Second, you can "kink" the hose to lessen the flow, though I would not myself do this as it will weaken the hose over time.

As opposed to kinking the hose to pause the syphon, I prefer to hold my thumb over the end that's in the bucket. Gives much greater control as well as not damaging the hose. Allows you to pause the flow at any time so you haven't half drained the tank before barely getting started with cleaning the substrate, can pause the flow if a fish/shrimp etc gets too close or gets inside the bell part, letting them swim back out, and means you can remove the muck without sucking up the sand.

If the substrate is sand only, you don't need to stick the bell part down into it. Just swirl it above the surface and the muck should lift off. The times I do want to clean deeper into the sand, can do that by using your thumb over the end. Let the sand get sucked slightly into the bell part, thumb over end stops it being sucked all the way through, release and replace thumb briefly and the murk will go up while the sand is allowed to fall back down. Move bell to another section and repeat as needed.

I'm positive I linked this video to you before, but I don't think you watched it. He shows you how to clean gravel first, but if you keep watching he shows sand as well. Cory does the kinking the hose trick, I use my thumb over the end, but the practice and result is the same.
 
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VioletThePurple

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As opposed to kinking the hose to pause the syphon, I prefer to hold my thumb over the end that's in the bucket. Gives much greater control as well as not damaging the hose. Allows you to pause the flow at any time so you haven't half drained the tank before barely getting started with cleaning the substrate, can pause the flow if a fish/shrimp etc gets too close or gets inside the bell part, letting them swim back out, and means you can remove the muck without sucking up the sand.

If the substrate is sand only, you don't need to stick the bell part down into it. Just swirl it above the surface and the muck should lift off. The times I do want to clean deeper into the sand, can do that by using your thumb over the end. Let the sand get sucked slightly into the bell part, thumb over end stops it being sucked all the way through, release and replace thumb briefly and the murk will go up while the sand is allowed to fall back down. Move bell to another section and repeat as needed.

I'm positive I linked this video to you before, but I don't think you watched it. He shows you how to clean gravel first, but if you keep watching he shows sand as well. Cory does the kinking the hose trick, I use my thumb over the end, but the practice and result is the same.
I did watch that video, in fact I was busy watching that video when people were asking me to watch it the first time. But that was to start the siphon. At least the part I watched was. The sand is a different matter.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I did watch that video, in fact I was busy watching that video when people were asking me to watch it the first time. But that was to start the siphon. At least the part I watched was. The sand is a different matter.
How he syphons the sand is in the video too.
 

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