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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently decided I wanted to swap one of my tanks to a Tang set up. It's been years since I've done tangs, and in the past I've always put a bag of crushed coral in the filter and used Kent additives to keep the pH and hardness up for them, as my water is quite soft. This time around, someone recommended I use aragonite sand instead of my regular silica sand to help buffer the water. I bought a bag of Carib Sea Aragamax Sand and added it to my tank last night. MY GOD is this stuff a disaster! I have used a few different types of sand over the years and I have NEVER encountered a sand as messy as this one. I rinsed it like I normally do for new sand, bit-by-bit in a bucket for a good 5 minutes each round. The water was still pretty milky but I didn't have the rest of my life to rinse sand, so I added it to the tank and filled it up. I'm honestly not convinced it will ever clear up? It's only been about 12 hours right now. I've got two sponge filters running on the tank since filling it up in an attempt to get it cleared up - don't really want to run my HOB and get it filled with sand while the tank is murky. It does look a bit clearer this morning when I got up, but this stuff is ridiculously fine, almost like a powder more than sand. I'm not sure it's a good idea to use with cichlids who are going to move it around - every little movement stirs it up and makes it cloudier again. I wanted to see if anyone else has used this substrate and what your experience has been. I don't have the fish yet, they're on order and not yet shipped, so I have a few days to get things as they should be. But I'm seriously thinking I just wasted a ton of time (and money) and should just rip it all out and put in my silica sand - maybe mix in some crushed coral with the silica sand to help buffer? - instead of this mess.

Pics attached are the bag I bought, since there are a bunch of version out there, and my tank after filling it up last night.
 

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I went through the same problem a few years back with their crushed coral. I did a 75% water change 5 days in a row and then the water was clear as glass even if you stirred it up. It was quite a pain though.
 

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It will eventually clear.
Did you just pour the water into the tank directly onto the substrate..?
I lay a little bubble wrap onto the substrate and fill from a Python onto this which gently rises so not to cloud the water to much.
I also spend about quite a while rinsing it till water runs from it clear and not milky.
 

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Even after rinsing new substrate I've had cloudy water a couple of times. Water changes and running filtration for several days or so took care of the problem. I'd run the HOB if I were you but water changes helped the most.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys. No, I didn't pour the water directly onto the sand when filling, I'm no sand newb lol. And I spent about 4x more time rinsing it first than I've ever done with any other sand. Yesterday I went to the store and loaded up on as much activated carbon, carbon floss, and water polishing sponges as I could find, and threw on a crappy HOB that I don't care about wrecking as well as a Fluval U3 that I had in storage loaded with both. It's definitely clearer than day one, I can see the back of the tank now, but it's slow going for sure. I need to start building up the rockwork for the tangs, so I'll drain most of the water that's in there when I do and keep doing water changes after that. Good to know there's light at the end of the tunnel though!
 

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You made a poor choice of product. Nature's Ocean Arogonite Sand #1 would've been a better choice for your use. We find the #1 size for any substrate to work well in our tanks. It's more course and doesn't float around when fish are digging in it. We mix Nature's Ocean Arogonite Sand #1, 50/50, with pool filter sand.
I would avoid the real fine grain substrates because of the very issues you are having.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, well without seeing it in person (bought off Amazon), I didn't realize just how fine it was when I bought it or I wouldn't have. Calling it sand is almost false advertising - I'd call it powder. Not a fan, that's for sure. I certainly will never buy it again, but it's in the tank now so I'm hoping it can be salvaged rather than having to pull it all back out and spending more money on another expensive sand instead.
 

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If you end up having to change...pool filter sand, pool filter sand, pool filter sand. Inexpensive, attractive and even 20 grain that is easy to maintain.

Crushed coral in filter media is more effective (if your pH is very low) anyway.

For me aragonite and crushed coral in the filters make no difference, but the pH is 7.8 and the KH is 7 to start with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I always use pool filter sand. I literally took pool filter sand out of this tank to use the aragonite, after being adivsed in the Tang section here to go that route for buffering instead of just crushed coral in the filter like I've done in the past.
 

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Aragonite and calcite do push the pH higher but they first need to dissolve in the water. The issue is that they are more soluble in acidic low pH water and become increasingly less so as pH rises. I suppose it depends on your water's starting pH and what pH you want to reach. I prefer using a buffer solution which I can measure, test and maintain a precise pH level in my tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I turfed it. After two days it had started to settle but was still very murky. I decided I'd drain all but enough water to cover the sand, since I had to add my rock work in time for fish coming in a day or two anyway, and see if a water change helped. But the second my hand went near the sand, it started moving and releasing a ton more dust that put me right back to square one. I dug it all out right then and there and went back to my pool filter sand. I'll stick with crushed coral in my filter and buffer with additives. Not nearly worth the aggravation. PS - my pH, last I tested it for my bettas when I was breeding, sits at about 6.5 without adjustments.
 

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Sinister-Kisses said:
I turfed it. After two days it had started to settle but was still very murky. I decided I'd drain all but enough water to cover the sand, since I had to add my rock work in time for fish coming in a day or two anyway, and see if a water change helped. But the second my hand went near the sand, it started moving and releasing a ton more dust that put me right back to square one. I dug it all out right then and there and went back to my pool filter sand. I'll stick with crushed coral in my filter and buffer with additives. Not nearly worth the aggravation. PS - my pH, last I tested it for my bettas when I was breeding, sits at about 6.5 without adjustments.
My water source is pH 6.4 - 6.6 and basically r/o water. Don't remember how much and how quickly aragonite will raise the pH, there are graphs you can find if you google the subject. But I'd wouldn't want to take this route with my water since I'm starting from such a low pH and it takes some time to increase pH. What about the 50% weekly water changes? 50% pH 6.6 water going into my tank's pH 8.2 water is way too big a change.
 

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Put the rocks in first and then the sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh, yes, always. Reading back I realize how that sounded lol. I always add my sand first, but I push it out of the way when I'm laying down the "foundation" rock work so that they sit on the tank glass, not on the sand. Then push the sand back into place around the rocks :)
 
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