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Old 02-22-2010, 12:41 AM   #1
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Question about sand bed depth

what's the recomended sand bed level in inches for salt water or reef aquariums? I've read mixed things and not sure what the benefit of thicker sand beds. My tanks sand layer isn't as thick as alot of others I've seen on here. Is it bad to have a thin layer like an inch or two? Or should it be thicker?
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:48 AM   #2
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First off, a sandbed is optional. You could choose not to put any sand and it wouldn't really affect your inhabitants. It just makes the tank look really awesome.

However, lets assume you are going to put sand.

The depth of the sandbed all depends on the inhabitants. If you have animals like pistol shrimp or watchman gobies that like to burrow in the sand, then you will need at least 3 inches of sand and deeper in some areas. If you don't have any of those animals, and don't plan on having them either, than around 1 inch of sand should be perfect. Maybe even 1.5 - 2 inches just because. What size tank you got?
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:26 AM   #3
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First off, a sandbed is optional. You could choose not to put any sand and it wouldn't really affect your inhabitants. It just makes the tank look really awesome.

However, lets assume you are going to put sand.

The depth of the sandbed all depends on the inhabitants. If you have animals like pistol shrimp or watchman gobies that like to burrow in the sand, then you will need at least 3 inches of sand and deeper in some areas. If you don't have any of those animals, and don't plan on having them either, than around 1 inch of sand should be perfect. Maybe even 1.5 - 2 inches just because. What size tank you got?
36 gallon bow front
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:35 AM   #4
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Well then i think you could definitely do a sandbed depth of your desired choice. Just don't make it like 5-7 inches deep otherwise you start to dive into the realm of those little death bubbles that accumulate under deep sandbeds, and when they pop up through the sand, could pose a threat to your tank. but that generally does not exist in shallow sandbed depths, so there's nothing to worry about there.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:10 AM   #5
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I have a DSB (5"-6") and I did it to reduce nitrates. You can have problems with a deep sandbed, but if you have the right type of CUC and gobies and shrimps that naturally stir the sand then that lessens the problem that Zer0 stated. My sand does bubble off most of the time. This is do to the fact that a deep sandbed has anarobic areas that converts nitrates to nitrogen gas. The problem that Zer0 was talking about isl the fact that unstirred sand from a Deep sandbed developes hydrogen sulphide (that rotten egg smell) which is a poison.
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:14 AM   #6
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I've read mixed things and not sure what the benefit of thicker sand beds.
Probably the reason for so many mixed answers is because every one has something different.I`ve seen all kind of different results when it comes to sandbeds. Mine is between 1-2 inches. Read this.

How Sandbeds REALLY Work by Ronald L. Shimek, Ph.D. - Reefkeeping.com
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:16 AM   #7
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I have a DSB for nitrate reduction. A DSB starts at about 4". Those little bubles are exactly what you want to see. If you can't get near your tank because of the smell of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) then you have a problem. Those little bubbles are actually the nitrogen bubbles from the completion of the Nitrogen cycle.

Read that Dr. Ron article for more information. The particle size is important as are the inhabitants. You don't want any animals that sift the sand bed looking for food as they will kill eat the animals that stir the sand bed for you.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:54 AM   #8
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Yeah thincat pretty much explained what i was just touching on, but him and cmor are completely correct. I also forgot to add that if you HAD a clean up crew, such as nassarius snails or pistol shrimp, etc.. that stir up the sand, then you wouldn't have the problem that i was mentioning with deep sand beds. But i would definitely read that article to grasp what it that sandbeds do for our tanks. It's well worth the read.
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:19 PM   #9
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Just a quick question that kind of relates. I have a deep sand bed because I am getting a pearly jawfish. What should I use to stir the sand up for a clean up crew? I was mainly thinking nassarius, but how many? 10 gallons btw
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:42 PM   #10
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10g...small, so watchout for evaporation. are you using any LR?
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