it's two drawbacks are it's not cheap at £10 a 50lb bag and it takes a lot of cleaning before it can go in the tank and even then for the first week the tank looks misty.
The fabric is a fine enough material to catch a lot of small stuff, yet lets the really fine stuff out.
You then still need to remove the floating bits.
To do this I will but perhaps a gallon (4-6 liters) or so of sand in a 5 gallon bucket and swirl it around with the hose going, so the water spills over the side of the bucket, carrying the floating debris with it.
I have not collected substrates from the wild, but it sounds like the bleach and dechlor is a good way to handle disinfecting them. Air drying, and exposure to the sun would be good, too. (Especially in Texas summers)
I happen to have a large garden with lots of fruit trees, so I can always move to a new spot, under a different tree, if I am washing a lot of substrate.
Happy fish keeping!
You mentioned the Flourite being too coarse for the loaches. My Yoyo's and Clowns don't seem to have a problem with it at all.
http://outdoor-living.hardwarestore.com ... 92169.aspx
Nice, even grains..slightly course..natural color..real clean..stays out of the water column. My loaches seem happy with it. I really like the look of something finer but after pretty much destroying two filters with Tahitian black moon sand I didn't want to take any more chances. That stuff was beautiful but very expensive and never really settled when the loaches were out. I originally bought Home Depot playsand when I moved up to my 120g from a 55g. I had great luck with it a few years prior but apparently it had completely changed over that time. Washed and washed that sand but never could get it clean. Tried it anyway and it made brown mud in my tank that never cleared! Thought it might settle over time but never did..had to take it all out. That's when I found the Quikrete pool filter sand. I bought mine at Aubuchon Hardware in Massachusetts, but I believe their stores might only be found in New England. I originally found the sand by doing a web search.. Good luck!
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What I've found works best is to get a bucket and fill it half full with sand.
I then use a hose to fill the bucket with water. The floaters will come to the top and out with the water flowing out of the bucket. You can use the flow of the water coming out of the hose to liquefy the sand such that all the particles are suspended in the water. By adjusting the amount of flow and direction of flow of water out of the hose you can get just the smallest particles of sand to flow out of the bucket. You want to get rid of the mud and smallest particles of matter.
I've ready many postings by people who've just poured the un-cleaned sand into a tank and then complained about the muddy water they've created!
CLEAN IT FIRST.
For my 240g tank I had a different approach. I started rinsing the sand in buckets like I've done in the past. But the sand was exceptionally dusty and for the volume I was cleaning I had calculated out how long it would take me... and I forget what the number was but it was going to be at least two days. So instead, I purchased a diatom filter and just dumped the sand in. I purposely kept the sand stirred up to get as much of the dust in the water column as possible, so the diatom filter would clean it. I think it took around 3-4 days and a few cleanings of the diatom filter but in the end I think it was well worth it and now I have a DE filter on hand.
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