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Old 12-24-2005, 03:20 PM   #1
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Shells & Undergravel or Sand?

Okay.. This one is sure to raise a few eyebrows.

When I was a new exicted tank owner I went straight for sand w/o any idea how to care / maintain the tank properly. Nasty brown stuff showed up and I was a cleaning mad fool.

I moved to an underground filteration with two 1140 power heads and about 15lbs of puca shells instead of rocks or sand. (55 gal SW - about 15lb LR and assortment of 6 fish)

Now the question?
Should I move back (slowly mind you) away from this setup back to sand? Starting with removal of one side of puca shells and undergravel filteration. Or is what I have good enough for even a SW tank?

Nothing fancy on my system. Skilter filter, Fluval 204 canister and the power heads.
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Old 12-24-2005, 07:05 PM   #2
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Get rid of the undergravel filter they do more bad than good they have a tendency to cause nitrate problems and are highly outdated. Go with an aragonite sand, I prefer 1 grade larger than suger size. Purchase around 2 dozen nassarius snails to work the sand bed.

You may also want to ditch the canister filter and just run the skimmer.

I would have loved to explain this more but I am late for the xmas eve party at the g-mas. HTH!
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Old 12-24-2005, 07:35 PM   #3
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I'll be interested to read the responses on this question as I have basically the same set up as you dscount.
When setting up my tank the old lfs guy told me to do it this way if i wasnt going to keep corals. He says that although many people will tell you it is an outdated way of doing things...it still works. He assures me that if I keep up with water changes and testing and know my tank I wont have too many problems. So far so good. He has been doing it this way for 30 years and has some amazing looking tanks. I am a bit dubious but so far no probs...everything in line and happy fish, although it is early days yet. We'll see.... :|
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Old 12-25-2005, 12:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
He assures me that if I keep up with water changes and testing and know my tank I wont have too many problems.
That's the key. You could probably skip the UG filter, do a 10% daily PWC and be just as effective. You'll most likely continue to have high nitrates but if you vacuum the substrate when doing the pwc you should be alright for a FO tank.

That brings you to the testing phase of the maintenance.

The reason for going with a DSB, PS, 1½-2 lbs of LR/gal., etc is to reduce the frequency of the required PWC while maintaining stable tank chemistry.
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Old 01-04-2006, 07:38 AM   #5
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Sounds like a plan. I've already started some of these items. 1/2 my tank has the UGF removed and I've added about 30lb of Sand and 2lb Live Sand to beef it up a little bit.

Meanwhile. I've the Algae Attack pack from Dr. Fosters coming soon. I don't recall seeing "nassarius snails" but it has about 65 critters (snails, crabs). I've also started to increase the LR capacity as well. Just moved some fresh rock into the SUMP for some growth.

Next step. More LR from LFS and cycle the remaining to the sump. I'm "TESTING" the use of LAVA Rocks for LR use. (IE: Purchased and heard they are supposed to be pretty decent).
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