Filters, How do you combat sand?

Discussion about cichlid tank filtration

Moderator: Ken Boorman

Post Reply
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:21 am
Location: Arizona

Filters, How do you combat sand?

Post by MIDNIGHT »

Hello helpful people,

I really love the look of sand but my filters don't like it so much. I have a 55 gallon tank that has sand and for filtration Magnum 350 plus a AC 500 (110). I have no fish that dig besides my male Aulonocara stuartgranti (Ngara) but the filter tubes are no way near his spot. The Magnum 350 has a prefilter on the intake and still sand finds a way of getting in there and jacking up the propeller. The AC 500 (110) has no prefilter and I had a incident that it turned off one night and I had no idea what happen. When I looked in the filter it had sand in there and I guess it had a auto shutoff. So I just cleaned it out really good and it started right up. Plus I don't like the look of prefilters and when they clog up they slow the water flow coming out of the filter.

I have tried everything to combat the sand. From prefilters to placement of the filter tubes to adding extra sponges to the Magnum 350 itself. I don't know what else I should do but change back to gravel. Please change my mind.

Is everyone else having this problem? What are you doing to solve this situation? I need some ideas to help fight this war on sand.

Thanks for your time.
User avatar
Posts: 2902
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 9:11 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Post by Lisachromis »

Never had a magnum so no help there. I've had that problem with Aquaclears picking up sand into the filter in a 30" high tank. The fish were not the problem. It was if the filter was too strong. It also moved sand around to create bare spots in my tank. I just got too sick of it so I've ordered something that should hopefully work better, but won't know until the tank is reset up again.
Bas Pels
Posts: 2261
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:17 am
Location: Nijmegen - the Netherlands

Post by Bas Pels »

As I never saw a Magnum filter, or know about gallons etc etc. I ill have to stick to general principles, without any name.

I use both push and pull filters - push meaning the pump is in the tank, and the filter itself follows. I've had a lot of problems with sand in this arrangement, but putting the pump on a square stone - I use garden tiles 30 * 30 cm - or 1 foot aquare. These are placed 10 cm from the floor (or 4 inches) As long as my cichlids don't spit sand on the tile, the amond of sand displaced is manageble.

I have 2 kinds of pull filters - the commercial ones (with e veryting aoutside the tank) and others. The sucktion for the commercial tanks is some 10 cm above the sand. In 3 months perhaps a teacup of sand gets into the pot

The last kind of filters - indide pull filters, are based on foam mattrasses, but they all have a antrance barrier of 5 cm (or 2 inches) The water goes horisontally from the entrance part to the clear water part, through the said mattrasses. In the cler water part I have a pump, pumping the water out. I never saw any sand in this clear water part

So, by putting some distance (=gravity) between the pump entrance and the sand, the problems are manageble
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:21 am
Location: Arizona

Post by MIDNIGHT »

Thanks for the feedback it is much appreciated.

I have the intake tube off the bottom of the tank 8 1/2 inches. The tank itself is 16 1/2 inches high. Is that my problem?

Graham Ash
Posts: 81
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:40 am
Location: Wakefield. Yorkshire.England

Post by Graham Ash »

Hi Chris
I would suspect that the problem is being caused by the actual powerfull abilities of suction created by your Magnum pump - Ive never used one - but I do have sand substrate in all my tanks - and I do use Eheim External Power filters - the 2217 - with 1,000 lph turnover -

I dont have any problem with sand getting into my filters - although I do clean them completely out about every 4 months.

I keep my inlet pipes almost down to substrate level and find no problems with sand been sucked into the filters - I also run 7 of these filters

I always thought that Magnums were supposed to be used only occasionaly - ie to use if you get white spot or a tank scrub down - but Im probably wrong
good luck - hope this helps
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:19 am

Re: Filters, How do you combat sand?

Post by mikeb210 »

I dealt with this a bit when I kept Africans and ultimately I just bought a few extra impellers off of eBay. I tried several non-prefilter approaches, but after seeing my mbuna spitting sand directly into the intake I gave up.
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 8:07 am

Re: Filters, How do you combat sand?

Post by kmayer »

Well, there just are times that even filters get clogged when there are high measures of sand working in the midst. And you just have to use extra protection with them.

I have seem a couple of stores sell those sponge like sand withers. Not really that sure how they work but they are said to combat sand presence in water and avoid them from forming in the filter itself.
Post Reply

Return to “Filtration”