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Old 01-12-2004, 03:41 AM   #1
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Southdown Envy

Due to the fact that there is no Southdown Sand in Southern California Home Depot stores, I am confronted with the choice of 1) paying $50 extra for packaging at the local LFS; 2) buying non-aragonite sand at Home Depot.

Is Aragonite Sand necessary for a deep sand bed? Can non-aragonite sand become live sand?
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Old 01-12-2004, 04:32 AM   #2
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Yes it will become live givin you have the proper lighting and enough live rock to seed it, however you will have to find another way to buffer your water so your PH stays up.
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Old 01-12-2004, 12:49 PM   #3
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the only thing I'll disagree on is the lighting. The lighting isn't necessary for a healthy DSB. Proper depth and good seed rock or seeding LS will give you what you need to start. Many LFS will sell you a few scoops of LS from one of their tanks, or you may find a fellow local reefer willing to give/sell you a few scoops to get you started. The Ph should be ok if you keep up on regular water chages, but I would keep an eye on it.
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Old 01-13-2004, 05:35 AM   #4
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I wanted to confirm that non-Aragonite (non-southdown) sand can become live sand if properly seeded. Can non-Aragonite sand be seeded by live rock? Also, can dead rock be seeded by live rock?
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Old 01-13-2004, 12:01 PM   #5
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In short:
Yes. Yes. And yes.

The only difference between the sands, essentially, is that one can buffer pH and add minerals back to the water if/when a lower pH occurs. This would be aragonite sand. The silica based sand you'd end up using, just doesn't do this. Some are better than others. Try to find one without a lot of impurities. It should be about 99% silica. Go for the sterilized and screened play sand as well.

The bacteria and some of the plants and other life will spread to "dead" rock. It's how a lot of people save money on LR, by buying cheaper dead rock and then a decent amount of LR, they make up for it. For example, buying 100lbs. of base rock, and seeding it with about 40lbs. of _high-quality_ LR, you can end up with 140lbs. of live rock (good for around a 120gal reef tank). The ones on the bottom will usually have less growth, as it is farther from the light source, but it will still technically be "alive" with the bacteria you want. Sound good? =]
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Old 01-13-2004, 12:05 PM   #6
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yes on both.

The "live" part is simply the presence of bacteria, algaes, worms and various pods. As long as your system is supportive of these life forms (decent water quality and food in the water column such as detritus etc) these life forms will bread and spread fairly quickly and migrate to any sand or rock that will hold them.
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Old 01-13-2004, 12:49 PM   #7
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Is it necessary for live rock/live sand to have specific types/quantities of lighting in order to grow? Also, what is considered "good" live rock? How much "good" live rock is enough to seed a quantity of dead rock?
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Old 01-13-2004, 01:16 PM   #8
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you do not need any specific lighting for the LR or LS, but some lighting should be supplied to the tank, obviously. "Good" LR is really subjective and really goes by personal taste, what type of life you want on it, what shapes or formations, etc. "Healthy" live rock will have a "clean dirt" smell to it, if you know what I mean. If you have a healthy garden, grab a handful of dirt and smell it, thats what healthy LR will smell like. If you mail order LR, it will likely not smell that way when you get. ANY mail ordered LR will suffer some die-off during shipping. This die-off will present itself in black splotches on the rock. Scrub those off before putting the rock in your tank. Any amount of LR will seed your base rock, the more LR you have, the faster the base rock will assimilate the life forms from the LR.
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Old 01-13-2004, 02:36 PM   #9
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Thanks for such an informative response... it was extremely helpful. I was also wondering if I needed a protein skimmer if I wanted live rock/sand. Can I also have a filtration system running with the live rock/sand?
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Old 01-14-2004, 02:09 PM   #10
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you don't really NEED a protien skimmer but many folks find them helpful. I don't currently have one and my system doesn't have any real "problems" but it also doesn't have a lot of bio-load either. I do, however, plan on adding one at some point simply as one more layer of filtration.

what were you thinking of in terms of a "filtration system"? with LR and LS those really are your "filter" and you won't need anything along the lines of a canister filter or HOB filter etc.
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