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Old 01-17-2008, 10:26 PM   #1
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Is the type of sand important?

I have a new 150 gallon tank extra deep (low and wide) with a few hundred lbs of live rock in a holding tank ready to go. My other tanks have no sand and no nitrates. Will I start to see nitrates with sand? (Thinking the sand will hold the fish poop creating a problem.)

So if sand is good, does it matter all that much what kind? I was thinking coral sand might turn red and green from algae. Black sand basically lava sand from Hawaii. Beach sand from the ocean. Tuffa or honeycomb sand to help ph, and ect... There are so many sands? Do they have sand that won't grow algae or do I want algae? As you can see I am completely lost with sand but feel that this is probably a very important choice so Before I make a mistake I want to ask the experts for advice. Thank you for your help. I am really excited for my first sand tank. Does it matter how much sand too. Thick or thin. Fine or hard, or mixed particle sizes... I really need help. Thank you again!!!
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:40 PM   #2
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Agronite is a good choice for a substrate, its what I use mixed with sugar fine sand. With that said it doesn't matter what kind of sand you use you will see algae as your tank cycles and balances its self out. When I started mine up I got the lovely diatoms and then cyano popped up shortly after. When I got everything in balance no more algae. I don't care what kind of rock, substrate fish no fish coral no coral whatever if you have a balanced system you wont have the algae problems. What that means is correct PH, SG 0 ammonia 0 NitrItes 0 Phosphates 10 or less NitrAtes frequent PWCs good salt mix, RO/DI water and proper feeding along with a good amount of LR and a good working skimmer. Take a leave out of natures book and try to imitate that in your tank and you will do well.

My sand bed in my tank goes from 2" to as deep as 6" in areas. Sand is one of those things that people don't always agree on. It's more of a personal choice.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:52 PM   #3
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If you go with a shallow sand bed, then yes... you will see nitrates. And that's what water changes are for. If you have a "deep" sand bed (>6", but this seems debatable), then in theory your nitrates will be very low, depending on your bioload. The oxygen-less areas of the deep sand bed allow for anaerobic bacteria to set up shop, converting your nitrates to nitrogen gas. The shallower sand bed won't allow for these oxygen-less areas.
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Old 01-18-2008, 09:14 AM   #4
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The key to keeping you sand clean is getting a sand sifter. Weather it`s narsirrus snails or gobies or whatever. I have a bullet goby that turns my sand over constantly. I agree with the aragonite sand.
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Old 01-18-2008, 11:47 AM   #5
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Agronite sands.
Are there different types of Agronite sands. Or will the bags just be marked Agronite. Ie, shades of white, ect. Can I use a bleached white Agronite?

Fish poop.
How much can I expect to be trapped in a 2" super fine sand bed? Will I have to clean it. I had gravel once and it collected everything and impossible to clean.

With these 2 answers I think I am ready to make my choice. Thank you!!!
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:50 PM   #6
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I think most aragonite is the same color. I'm unsure about bleached white aragonite. Aragonite itself is pretty white.

I vaccum the top layer of my sand bed and it removes most of the gunk that gets trapped.

HTH
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Old 01-18-2008, 04:56 PM   #7
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You`ll see bags of Live aragonite sand but IMO the sand cant be still live. I think your best bet would be to just get it dry for alot cheaper and buy some real "live" sand from your LFS out of his tank to seed yours.
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Old 01-18-2008, 11:23 PM   #8
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Are there certain sands that cause algae problems or affect the water quality. I know that aragonite sand is ideal. I am curious about the why behind the choice and the negative impact if you make the wrong choice. Understanding the why behind things helps a great deal??
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Old 01-20-2008, 01:57 PM   #9
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You should start by reading How Sandbeds REALLY Work by Ronald L. Shimek, Ph.D and follow that up with The Infamous Detritivore

You need a LIVE sand bad that contains a balance of organisms that eat the detritus and stir the sand bed. Those organisms don't really care about the mineral content of the sand, just the particle size. Sugar sized sand is preferred.
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:29 PM   #10
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I read this article. And it showed me more ways to add life to the sand. At my local beach in Florida I have these little critters about the size of a pea that come in with the waves and quickly burrow 1/8" holes under the sand. Their cute too. I used to catch them by digging up the holes right after a wave in with my hads as a child.

Do you think adding these to my aquarium would be a good idea? I could catch them at the beach.
http://www.fishingthesurf.com/sand%20fleas.jpg
http://www.sandfleas.info/sand-flea.jpg
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