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Old 06-15-2008, 11:30 PM   #1
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Changing Substrate

I'm looking into changing the substrate in my tank. Currently I have a very fine sand that tends to blow around allot with any movement near the sand bed. If I happen to use my mag float to clean the glass anywhere near the sand bed I get a mini sand storm. Its become even more evident of how fine the sand is when I got my Goby. When the Goby sifts its not too bad at all. but when he decides to move large quantities of sand it really gets the sand flowing about the tank. I have to constantly blow the sand off my coral frags, which can't be all that good for the corals. Also, it doesn't look very pleasing to see a constant sand storm in the tank either.

So my question(s):

1: What should I use as a replacement sand? I'll need about 60Lbs i guess. I read some old threads and came across Carib Sea Aragamax Select.
I want to get sand with larger particles so as to minimize the amount of sand that gets blown around.

2: how do I go about changing it out? I've seen some say all at once and other say a small amount at a time. Will I cause a cycle if its done all at once?

Those of you that have done a change like this, I'd like to hear about your experiences.

Thanks!
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:42 AM   #2
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I haven't done it before and i have heard of changing a little at a time to not cause a cycle but i would think that you will end up with a bunch of that fine sand left over when your done. That seems like your going to either have a mini cycle or the sand left over one of the two. maybe if there is a way to divide the tank into pieces in order to minimize the mixing of the old and new substrate? Haha don't think i've helped at all but just kind thinking out loud. Maybe change it all and use some ammo lock+ to temporarily help you keep things under control until your new substrate builds the bacteria back again?
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:20 AM   #3
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I removed crushed coral from my tank and went with sand. When I did it I reomoved it in sections over a week or so. I left the rock work in place and just removed the crushed coral I could get to. The rest stayed in the tank. I dumped the new sand in the tank via a plastic cup. I put all the sand in a 5g bucket, rinsed it out and rinsed and rinsed, then I filled the bucket with SW from the tank. 1 scoop at a time I put the new sand into the tank. Turn your pumps off when you do this. If you use a cup you can actually "pour" the sand where you want it. I have a mixed sand bed composed of agronite and fine sand. When I do my 210 it will all be agronite.
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Old 06-16-2008, 10:36 AM   #4
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Just thinking out loud but I`m thinking why cant you just add the heavier sand on top. It should stay on the top being bigger than the sand you have now. Like I said I just thinking. Maybe that`s not the route to go. but maybe it is. Feel free to shoot it down if its not sane.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:32 PM   #5
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I agree with Mike. If you want you can siphon some of the old sand out and just add the new sand right on top.
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:24 PM   #6
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Heavier and larger particles will work theiur way to the surface. It's reason for removing CC before switching to sand and not just palcing the sand on top of the CC.

I think you just need to wait a few more months. Your tank is still very young. The goby problem will remain as long as you have a goby and sand fine enough for it to sift. If the sand is too big for the goby to sift, then you need to get rid of the goby anyway.

I have very fine sand with silt that stirs up a bit when I use the mag float at the bottom. It settles in seconds now. I don't have a goby because I don't want the mess of the sand all over the place. The sand will take care of itself over time. You may need to get rid of the goby.
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:37 PM   #7
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Fine sand is really one of the best substrates for the health of your tank. I'd stick with it. If you can't though, either gradual removal or pre-cycling the new sand would be the way to go. To pre-cycle the new sand, put it in another container and feed it some fish food. Monitor as though doing a fishless cycle of your aquarium. Air supplies that reach down into the sand will help cycle all the sand, not just what is on top.
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:12 PM   #8
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Ok So the consensus is that it can be done. a small amout at a time if i completely remove the old or just placing the new sand on top of the old in one shot.

Mike,Ziggy, Thats very interesting. i thought of doing that same thing, just placing the bigger particle sand on top but wasn't sure it that will cause a cycle or not. I guess it would be the same as adding base rock to the tank at any time. This may be the way to go.

Cmor, I know what you are saying. the Goby will always move the sand around. but I've seen gobies at the LFS sifting sand with way bigger particles than what I have and it didn't seem to make a sand storm, thats what got me thinking. I'll have to take a ride back out to the LFS to see the size of the particles in the sand I linked to.

What will waiting a few more months do for the sand? I'm just asking because frankly i don't know. although it may take me a few months to get the free time to do the substrate change. I just started a new Job as an EMT so I'll be short on free time for a little while.
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:26 PM   #9
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Mike, the sand at the lfs has been in the tank for a long time. It is fully colonized with bacteria. It takes months for bacteria to fully colonize the sand bed. As the grains of sand become coated with bacteria they come heavier. Just heavy eouhg to settle quickly after being disturbed. When I first put sand in my tank it too a week before I could even see the rocks again. I had major sandstorms the first 6 months or so whenever I did anything in the tank. The storms became less and less over time and lasted shorter periods of time. The last time I had a power head fall and aid right at the sand bed the entire tank was a sand storm. It cleared in about 2 hours after I removed the ph.
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Old 06-18-2008, 03:40 PM   #10
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Ok.. makes sense. I'll give it more time before changing anything around.

Thanks for clarifying Cmor
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