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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so we set up a cory cat specific tank about a month ago, to lessen the amount of fish my 15 gallon and to give the corys sand. It's ten gallons, and has a Topfin20 HOB filter and is heated to 76 degrees. It also has a java fern, and another plant I can't remember the name of, and a cave/rock and a clay pot. We let the tank run for about three weeks and put the corys in last week. They're all fine, but the filter gets kind of clogged kind of quickly, with the sand, and it's lowering the water flow. Would a canister work better? What can I do?



 

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I find it odd that it's sucking up the sand to begin with, honestly. They must be digging a lot? I don't use that brand of HOB but mine are similar and don't get any sand caught. Is the in-take tube one long tube or two combined? If it's two combined, just remove one to make it shorter (I know AquaClears and Whispers often have two tubes, not sure about TopFin).

A canister filter could be positioned so that the in-take is far from the sand and it should be gentle enough to not stir it up.
 

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It is kind of strange that it's pulling up sand. I would suggest mesh over the intake but that might not effect sand. Aquaclear's you can change the flow (don't know about anything else), so I'd try that as well.

Maybe the cory's are ecstatic? XD
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Lol well it's only the one tube and mesh wouldn't help, it's like all the tiny dusty bits in the sand are what's coating the filter - the sand particles themselves are not. The cory cats DO dig a LOT though. I used a QTip to clean as much of the gunk out of the tube as possible, and changing the flow just makes less water come out. Should I change the cartridge?
 

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Hmm, that is strange. I've never had any filters suck up sand or dust before. I have an AquaClear right now and I love it.


Did you rinse/soak the sand for 24 hours before you added it to your tank?
 

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Did you rinse/soak the sand for 24 hours before you added it to your tank?
That is my first question, too.

How far above the substrate is the filter intake?

You could buy an AquaClear foam insert, put a set of deep cross-cuts in the top and slip it over the filter intake tube to help eliminate the sand, but it will significantly lower the efficacy of the filter. Another issue is that the impeller that moves the water through the filter can get terribly damaged and/or jammed with sand particles.

Also, as has been suggested, a properly placed canister filter intake should not be sucking up sand.

I wonder, though, just what type and gauge of sand you are using...very fine sand will easily get stirred up into the water column. From what I can see, the substrate that you are using is not very homogenous, but the exact size is difficult to determine as your corys could be anywhere from 1.5cm to 5cm. Also, how deep is the substrate, and what are you doing to avoid the development of anaerobic pockets in the sand?

I have run many sand-substrated aquaria over the past 38 years, and have rarely had an issue such as you are having, but iit is much easier to diagnose this sort of thing first hand than over the internet, so please be patient whilst we 'detective' this out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I rinsed it and let it soak in a bucket for a few hours - not 24 though, I did not realize I had to soak it for that long. After that, I put it in the tank, filled the tank, let the water settle for a few hours and then started running the filter. Now that I think about it, the water itself was still cloudy-ish when I turned the filter on in the beginning... it could just be that initial sand still in there.

As to the size of my sand, I'm not too sure. It is aquarium sand and not lizard substrate, I know that for sure LOL. And the corys are pretty small. I would say between 3/4" - 1" long at the most. The sand is around an inch deep, although it kind of varies as it's not perfectly flat.
 
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