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Old 03-26-2005, 01:15 PM   #1
EBR
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playsand specifics, please

Hey Everyone --

I've got cc in my 55 gal, and I can't seem to get the nitrates below 20-ish for very long, which I suspect is what did in my cleaner shrimp (and the corals could be looking a bit better, too). Anyway, I've read many posts here about playsand, and need to clarify a few things.

1. I've seen many mentions about play sand/ argonite/ tropical play/ old castle/ etc. Now, is "argonite" a type of sand (man-made?) or is it a name-brand?

2. I have some play sand I got from HD for my kids' sandbox last summer -- it's the Pavestone "high desert sand", and is labeled as general purpose/ playsand/ paving sand. It's very clean (definitely NOT what you use for mixing concrete). Would this suffice for the aquarium?

3. Whether I use what I have or something else, how should I make the change from the cc? Change it out all at once, or half/third at a time with water changes?

4. Maintenance: With cc, I deep clean with the siphon during water changes as much as possible. I've read that such deep cleaning is not needed with sand (just surface vacuuming). Is that correct? My problem with the cc now is that I've got areas of the tank that I cannot reach with the siphon, so if this is correct re: sand, that would be great.

5. I've also read mentions of a DSB, and that although they are good, they can tend to collect pockets of toxins, and that one must be careful to NOT disturb the sand for fear of releasing these toxins in to the tank -- is that true?

I think that's about it for now -- Thanks for any help.
Matt
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Old 03-26-2005, 01:41 PM   #2
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1- Aragonite is a type of sand. Most tropical sands are aragonite and are normally taken from mining operations out at sea.

2- That sand will most likely work but is probably a silicate based sand. Not as desirable but will work. It is a sand that will limit your cleaning crew.

3- It is recommended to change out 20% at a time.

4- Vaccuuming of the sand is not required. Some do siphon the top layer to remove algae etc. I found that controlling nutrients is better to keep the algae down.

5- I have heard the same stories but have seen no documentation. Not to say there is none I just havent searched for it. The DSB(4-6 in) will help in the denitrification process and gasses will be released. It will be seen as bubbles on the sand surface that are released a bit at a time going straight to the water surface. Unless the fish eat the bubbles or the bubbles are absorbed into the water column I dont see any problem.
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28gal bowfront
40lbs livesand(bag from LFS), 30lbs live rock(LR.com)
2 O. Clowns
1 peppermint shrimp, 5 red leg hermit crabs,
4 mexican turbo snails, 15 nassarius snails
ricordea mushroom, candy cane coral,
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bubble coral, hawiian feather duster
coralife lunar 2x65, HOT magnum canister
10 Gal refugium(chaeto) & seaclone skimmer
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Old 03-26-2005, 02:00 PM   #3
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Very cool -- many thanks for the quick answer!
Kudos on the way
Matt
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Old 04-05-2005, 08:19 PM   #4
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I have some of the pavestone sand also. I think I may put it in my freshwater tank instead of my saltwater tank.
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38 gal SW, CC, 40lbs base rock, 5lbs live, emporer 280, bio-wheel 330,tronic heater, 2 O. clowns, 1 firefish.

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Old 04-05-2005, 09:21 PM   #5
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Also, silica playsand won't add any buffering capacity to the tank. Aragonite based sand will slowly dissolve over time, keeping alkalinity levels up a little.
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Old 04-06-2005, 01:15 AM   #6
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So silica would be better for soft water freshwater fish then?? My 29 gallon has some tetras in it. I may try the sand and just see what happens. I know neons are cheap but they don't deserve to die because I want sand.
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38 gal SW, CC, 40lbs base rock, 5lbs live, emporer 280, bio-wheel 330,tronic heater, 2 O. clowns, 1 firefish.

29 gal FW, boring...soon to be salt I think.

10 gal SW, 20lbs LS, 20lbs base rock, 1 unhappy domino damsel (he was in the 38...switched the percs and the damesel recently).
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