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Hi there:

I'm new to this -- had a community tank for about 2 yrs. (38 gal.) and am considering trying something new. A black background with white sand substrate really appeals to me, but I wonder how one vacuums the tank? Doesn't the sand get sucked up the tube??

Any input would be greatly appreciated! :?
 

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I've used a thin layer of aragonite for Riftlake setups, and playsand for other setups for many years with few problems. You might want to stick with a thin layer of an inch or less; since compacting can lead to low oxygen zones and hydrogen sulfide buildup. Most of the detritus settles along the top and a few well positioned powerheads keep it in suspension to be picked up by the filters; also you can just run a siphon lightly over the top of the substrate to suck it up during water changes.
 
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