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Old 08-17-2010, 07:49 AM   #1
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live rock versus live sand

hi could somone explain the difrence between these two do they have the same function in filtering ?
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:26 AM   #2
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Anything you put in your tank will eventually become "live" all that means is that it is hosting the beneficial bacteria colonies used to convert ammonia->nitrite->nitrate. You should read the article posted in our section on the cycle a new tank goes through.

To answer your question more specifically though, rock is better then sand, and not all rock is created equal. You want the most porus and lightweight rock for its size, meaning there is plenty of surface area inside there to host lots of bacteria.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:36 AM   #3
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+1 for Jimbo's tip. Also, another thing that makes it "live" is that usually you can find little creatures living in it like copepods, bristle worms, and other tiny life.

Live sand is a home for various creatures like bristle worms, snails, etc.that break down uneaten food and other waste in the tank to prevent the water from going foul. Live rock is a home for most of your nitrifying bacteria.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:46 AM   #4
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so one is not a replacement for the other in otherwords they each have there own function?
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mupwi View Post
so one is not a replacement for the other in otherwords they each have there own function?

Correct
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:46 PM   #6
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Just make sure you avoid buying "live sand" as its likely dead, much more expensive than dry sand, and possibly could contain a bunch of gunk from the death contained in it. Buy dry sand and save money for live rock.

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Old 08-18-2010, 03:26 AM   #7
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my plan was to colect it from the areas where I dive so fresh from the sea Im sure it wont be dead
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:51 AM   #8
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Collecting it from your dive site sounds like a good idea (save some $ right?) but in fact can have several issues. One, check your local laws to ensure you are allowed to do that. Two, it could contain some bad stuff. For sure don't collect from the waterline area. That's bad news. If you want live sand you need to take it from a distance/depth so as to avoid some pollution. If you take it from above the waterline, remember people spill all kinds of liquid while playing on the beach. You will need to wash it really well before use, thus it will not be "live sand"

Thirty years ago my dive instructor would collect water from the San Diego beaches when we dove there. We would swim out with jugs and take water at least a 100 feet from shore, his tank always had issues with water quality.

Your decision on how to proceed but is it really any cost savings if right off the bat you are dealing with bad water issues?
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:27 AM   #9
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He has looked into local laws, he talked about collecting with a license in another thread. He also is from south africa, so i'm guessing there is quite a bit less of everyday pollution, though i bet it varies.

The best option would probably be collect a small scoop of it and spread it out evenly across your clean and rinsed sand, this will "seed" the sand and make it become "live" much faster.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:47 AM   #10
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thats right jimbo I have looked into the legalitys and the licencing the licence to colect specimens for the tank is R75/year about $10 and alows colecting up to 10 specimens per day no more than 5 per spicies there are some lower limits on spicific spicies though and no live rock as they dont whant ppl smashing up the reef but im thinking of making up some artificial rock and puting it in the sea for a while to seed how long do you think it might take to seed like that?
we put about 50lb of the sand from our local dive site in my friends tank (I think it'sabout 40g)and it seems to have cycled overnight so it seems to be good we will see what hapens when we put the fishies in I think seing as we are only using sand and specimens colected in the same are they should be happy as it is what they are already used to.
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