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Old 03-15-2007, 09:21 AM   #1
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Deep Sand Beds

I've read that deep sand bed (at least 3 inches) help eliminate nitrates...is that accurate? When I went to the LFS to buy that much aragonite for a 55 gal they looked at me like I was nuts. He showed me all of his reef tanks (which are gorgeous!) and none of them had DSB. He sold me 40# of aragonite, which is between 1/2 to 1 inch..is that going to be ok or should I add more?
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:27 AM   #2
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The debate on DSB is still out. Do not confuse this with using LS as a substrate choice. When compared to CC, LS is lower maintanace and does not trap detritus like CC. LS does not "remove" NO3 per say, however, it does not produce NO3 like a CC substrate does. In Theory, A true DSB needs to be at least 6in deep with little to no sifting in order to provide an anaerobic situation for effective NO3 removal. The down side is that they can also trap pockets of toxic gas that, when disturbed, can foul tank water. In most cases, a LS bed of 2-3in, with 1.58-2lbs/gal of LR, good skimming and regular PWC are all that are needed to keep NO3 at a low level.
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:20 PM   #3
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So maybe I need to add another 40# bag of aragonite. I do have 70# of live rock which will eventually seed the sand...hopefully this will keep down NO3. Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-15-2007, 12:27 PM   #4
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I agree with Lando. I have about 2-3 inches in my 55 and about 4-5 inches in my 125. I have found when you add the sand, if you stir it after the water, this will remove most of the gas pockest. I used a PVC to stir and stir and stir.
Regular PWCs, light feeding will help to reduce nitrAtes. There are other things, like purigen, macro algaes and a few other things.
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Old 03-15-2007, 01:51 PM   #5
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Keeping low NO3 levels cannot be attributed to just one thing. There are many things you can do to stack the odds in your favor, no one thing will be all that effective...
1. Proper amount of biofiltration (LS and LR, sump or fuge).
2. Aggressive skimming.
3. Regular PWC using a good quality source water free of NO3 (RO/DI water is best).
4. Light feedings using a high quality food with good preparation of frozen foods.
5. Light stocking. Having too heavy of a bioload is a common cause of high NO3.

Overall good practice is your best friend in this area.
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lando
4. Light feedings using a high quality food with good preparation of frozen foods.
IMO this tends to be the number one reason for excessive no3.

Fish always look like they are starving and begging because in the wild they are always looking for food and it's their nature to always seek food out.

People often confuse this with needing to feed them excessive amounts of food many times daily when in reality fish don't "know" when they are full and will gorge almost as much food as you put in the tank and the excess gets processed into no3.

Light feeding either once daily or even better every other day is a much healthier option for your fish and has even been proven to extend their life.

Read this post on feeding requirements of SW fish for more info.
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:52 PM   #7
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http://www.ronshimek.com/Deep%20Sand%20Beds.htm

Here is an article on DSB`s
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:55 PM   #8
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Couple of more links:

www.wetwebmedia.com
www.reefs.org
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Old 03-15-2007, 08:49 PM   #9
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This is where I read about DSB needing to be over 3" contributing to reduction of NO3. It also states that a sand bed below 1/2 will also contribute to reduction of NO3 and that anything in between can contribute to them. I was just wondering if anyone had any experience that went against that thinking.
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:10 PM   #10
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I scoured the web when I was trying to figure out what depth I wanted my sand bed. To summarize... seemed like everything I read contradicted the other. Even within wetwebmedia, I found opinions that conflicted. Granted... there are always different opinions on things, but you can usually get a feel for what's valid and what's not. But DSBs... wow.

Anyway, I ended up with a hair over 3". Towards the front it's maybe a hair under, in the back probably closer to 4". After my cycle, I had maybe 5ppm nitrates in there. I did several big water changes, but could still detect a trace of nitrates. I then started doing my 10% weekly PWCs which I've continued to do for 6 months now. I have no detectable nitrates. What was there was either diluted enough that I can't read it, or was eliminated.

I've only got 1 fish in there so far, feed once daily with minimal leftovers, and have a beefy skimmer for the size of tank (Remora Pro in a 46g), so my nitrate levels shouldn't be bad to start with. I run GAC 24/7. I have no idea if my sand bed is contributing to my lack of nitrates. Probably not, but I have no way of telling. After a year or so, I might have a better opinion but it will be just that, an opinion.

So I guess I'll just weigh in with a "I've kinda got a DSB and it *could* be working" opinion. In the end, I'd say go with what looks best for your setup. For me, I put the rock work directly on the tank bottom and I filled up to where it looked "natural." Since then, I've rearranged some sand to expose a few more "caves" but for the most part have left the sand bed alone.
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