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Removing sand from tiny wentletraps
01-12-2014, 03:28 AM,
Removing sand from tiny wentletraps
I live in San Diego County, California, and found some empty but perfect Epitonium tinctum specimens. They are semi-transparent, and have dark sand trapped far up in the whorls. What is the best technique for removing this sand? Attempting to fill with water and shaking isn't enough. I have thought of a water pic, but don't own one at the moment. Any tips would be much appreciated.

02-09-2014, 04:36 AM, (This post was last modified: 02-19-2014, 07:11 AM by paul monfils.)
RE: Removing sand from tiny wentletraps
I have a method that works well. However I work in a lab which has some equipment you might not have at home. First I place the shells in a little fine mesh bag, and attach a weight to the bag, to make sure the shells remain submerged. I place the bag in a beaker or other glass container, with enough water to cover it completely. I place the container into a vacuum chamber, and turn on the pump to full vacuum for about a half hour. I use a vacuum oven, but do not use heat, just the vacuum. This treatment removes all traces of air inside the shells, so there is nothing in the shell but water and the particles I want to remove. As you observed, it is impossible to get water up into the tip of the shell any other way. Then I place the shells into an ultrasonic cleaner, and the particles come out pretty quickly, though it sometimes requires up to 15 minutes or so.

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