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Hi,

I am setting up my first cichlid tank (a 135 gallon Oceanic I picked up used for peanuts). I am using sand substrate (my first time). I have a few questions.

1) I am using play sand and two Fluvals 304s, what is the best means to protect the impeller from damage when sand is sucked up in the intake?

2) How many water changes can I expect it to take before I get rid of all the silt in this stuff?

3) When the cichlids dig is it just gonna keep the tank in a state of ever cloudiness?

Thanks for your answers, I've got no experience with sand..I've always been a low maintenance gravel kinda guy.
 

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I think once sand is sucked into the intake it will find the impeller. You might want to put some pantyhose around the intake strainer just to prevent it from being sucked up. I'm not familiar with playsand but i use a coarse sand in my 46 but its too heavy to get suspended.Someone else might be able to chime in with more answers
 

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What kind of cichlids? Some species dig more than others.

Can the filter intake tube be shortened so it's not so close to the sand base?

How about a sponge filter placed over the intake tube - it does cut down the filtering ability of the filter though. You'd then be using the sponge as the mechanical and biological and the filter itself as biological and chemical if you use any chemical media(carbon, etc.).
 
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