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Old 12-07-2003, 12:27 AM   #1
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Need help with substrate questions. Please?

Ok, here is my situation. Iím getting kind of confused over the whole substrate thing. I have a 77 gal D.A.S. reef tank. In it, I put two bags of crushed coral (40lbs each) though it looks nice, im only now starting to get peoples onions on it. Just to make a note, the tank is only about halfway through the cycle, no animals in there yet. Ok, here are my questions.

1. Is CC any good for a substrate? I have been reading that the little worms and stars cant live in it.

2. Can I just add sand to the crushed coral?

3. I canít find any LS around here. What other kinds of sand can I use instead? The lfs has fine and medium grit sand that they sell, can I use that? (There is no Southdown sand around here either)

Basically im just wondering if I should keep the CC and what my options are.

Sorry for the questions but I am trying start out on the right foot, this is my first attempt at a saltwater tank.

Thanks in advanced.
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Old 12-07-2003, 01:44 AM   #2
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Hey by'e,

Having some issues gettin stuff on the rock! (I'm from Halifax). You may try to see if the LFS has a tank with sand on the bottom that they store the LR to sell. Or you could just get a bunch of the small broken pieces from the bottom of the tank. If you don't want to mix the bits and pieces in with your base you can just pile it in one spot for a week or two and let the life migrate out of it into your base. You should get lots of pods and worms out of it. They breed quite quickly so you will soon have your own supply!! Or see if they will dump a bag of sand in the bottom of the LR tank for you and leave it there for a couple of weeks at which time you can return and buy it.
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Old 12-07-2003, 02:07 AM   #3
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Thanks fellow maritimer, perfect. Will most of those "creatures" be able to live in CC?
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Old 12-08-2003, 02:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
1. Is CC any good for a substrate? I have been reading that the little worms and stars cant live in it.

2. Can I just add sand to the crushed coral?

3. I canít find any LS around here. What other kinds of sand can I use instead? The lfs has fine and medium grit sand that they sell, can I use that? (There is no Southdown sand around here either)

Basically im just wondering if I should keep the CC and what my options are.
these are just my opinions and comments from my experiences with CC as a substrate as that is what I have in my 55 tank.

1) good or not is a matter of opinion. It has pros and cons just as any other substrate. It CAN house worms and bacteria and pods, but what kinda is more limited than what you'll find in sand. Depending on your bioload you may also have issues with Nitrates building up over time with a CC substrate. The thrid stage of de-nitrification is severly lessoned with a CC bed.

2)you "can" certainly. It will add some bulk to your sand bed but it will eventually settle down to the bottom of the bed and leave you with CC on top and you will no longer see the sand. Also, the worms etc that live in the sand will only realy thrive while the sand is near the top. Once it settles to the bottom those pods and worms won't survive that deep in the bed and you'll be back to where you were.

3) any "sugar sized", sterized, pure silica sand will be ok. Oilithic (calcium based) sand is best (this is what southdown is). Southdown is a seasonal product that comes under many names, yard right and old-castle stone products. Come spring time, you may have better luck finding it. If you have the cash and don't mind spending the money, you can buy the Carib Sea sand from your LFS, but that can get very expensive. You are best off buying dry sand in bulk as described above and then adding a few pounds of LS to it.

IMO, if you can get access to some good sand, I would swap it out now. You're only halfway through the cycle and if you have no livestock in the tank you are MUCH better off swaping it now rather than later.
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Old 01-21-2005, 12:46 AM   #5
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why don't you buy a roll of fiberglass window screening and put over your cc and then put an inch or two of aragonite on top?
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Old 01-21-2005, 07:11 AM   #6
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From what i figured your substrate is just a matter of opinion coming from different people across the states and even the world. If you go with the DSB with down south it will eventually help with keeping nitrates down and such, however this limits your livestock a bit cuz you cant have anything to stir the sand. secondly not too many people, at least where im from, use this type of method therefore i stuck with the caribSea aragonite. so basically here is what i gained from listening and learning from you guys about the pros and cons of each.

DSB
pros:
helps eliminate nitrates and serves as a good biological filter.
Dont have to vacuum or clean the sand
one of the obvious' is that it is substancially cheaper then lfs products
cons:
Takes away water space from the fish.
could potentially kill off your whole tank if you dont know what your doing.
limits your livestock a bit. No sandsifters or anything that will stir the sand

Caribsea aragonite
Pros:
Looks better then sand, in my opinion
doesnt take up as much water space
not limited to livestock

cons:
the cost of the product
Nitrate buildup after a while
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Old 01-21-2005, 10:56 AM   #7
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I have had my reef going for over 2 years with a 3" or so sand bed. This has worked out well for me. I have sand sifting stars and cucumbers and my SB is fine.
CC if thats what you want to use its fine, just more work. It traps food and waste and overtime brakes it down causing nitrates. Now you need to vacuum it on a regular basis where with a SB you don't. IMO sand looks nicer.
Whos says you need a DSB?? Go with 2-4" and you will be happy that you did.
I know many people who used CC and they are happy that they went to sand.
IMO you are not limited to the Livestock you can get if you have sand.
3" CC takes up the same space as 3" sand
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Old 01-21-2005, 01:59 PM   #8
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I have 2.5 in of play sand and 1.5 in of Caribsea aragonite on top. Add a banch of snails and stars to sift the sand. Everything is perfect.
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