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Old 01-07-2004, 05:57 AM   #1
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shell or sand substrate

hi all..
Have a few questions and need some advice on the above topic, Firstly i am using a shell substrate and am not happy with the uneaten shrimp etc falling into the shell gaps and not being eaten, as you can imagine i am worried about rising ammonia levels etc.
The tank has just been cycled and i have a huge amount of algae, (that rusty brown stuff). everywhere.
1. If i change to a sand substrate will this cut down on the algae?
2. do i need to use an undergravel filter in a marine tank? i have a home made job that is basically 1/2" pipe with cuts everywhere running under the shell this leads into two uplift pipes with airstones that just circulate the filter.
3. What is seeded sand and do i need it, can i get the stuff from the beach with a yabbie pump?
4. do you all think sand i looks better than shell and does it have any benefits.
I am in aussie and have a really **** shop where i live, so anything other than half dead damsels are near impossible to get..
thank you all in advance..
ps i'm gonna have to cycle the whole tank again if i change to sand arn't I??
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Old 01-07-2004, 06:14 AM   #2
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I would definetly switch to sand. Crushed Coral / shell substrate traps lots of food particles in it which produces lots of nitrate. Changing to a sand substrate will probably not help with the algae you are experiencing now because almost all new tanks go through algae phases. No UG filter needed if you use sand. you can seed the sand by using live rock or sand from an established tank. I think sand looks much better. Lots of neat critters live in it and a deep sand bed (around 4 inches or so) is a very good method of filtration. You might experience a small cycle but it should go by quickly. Just put a little bit of the old shell in there to help the bacteria spread to the sand.

***Duplicate post removed by Bearfan***
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Old 01-07-2004, 08:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
1. If i change to a sand substrate will this cut down on the algae?
Not really, the diatoms are fueled by silicates...once the silicates in your system are burned up, they will crash to a managable level, no matter what substrate you use, but tthey will always be there.

Quote:
3. What is seeded sand and do i need it, can i get the stuff from the beach with a yabbie pump?
Seeded sand would be sand that has the infauna present. Pods and worms, etc....
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Old 01-07-2004, 09:50 AM   #4
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Re: shell or sand substrate

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellane1
1. If i change to a sand substrate will this cut down on the algae?
No, but if the tank is done cycling you can add a cleaner crew (snails and hermit crabs, and possibly other scavengers) that'll eat the algea.
Quote:
2. do i need to use an undergravel filter in a marine tank? i have a home made job that is basically 1/2" pipe with cuts everywhere running under the shell this leads into two uplift pipes with airstones that just circulate the filter.
Definitely don't want one. I would suggest reading the conscientious aquarist or the New Marine Aquarium from the suggested book list for a complete guide to setting up a modern reef aquarium. Those books helped us a great deal with questions like this.
Quote:
3. What is seeded sand and do i need it, can i get the stuff from the beach with a yabbie pump?
A neighboring hobbyist (if you can find one) will gladly give you a cup of sand from one of their established tanks to seed regular substrate.
Quote:
4. do you all think sand i looks better than shell and does it have any benefits.
Crushed coral or aragonite will help replace calcium and buffer the tank. Some fish, like jawfish or pistol shrimp, burrow and like particular sizes and depth of substrate. You want to decide on whether you'll have any of them before you decide on what type of substrate.

I am in aussie and have a really *beep* shop where i live, so anything other than half dead damsels are near impossible to get..
thank you all in advance..
Quote:
ps i'm gonna have to cycle the whole tank again if i change to sand arn't I??
No, you shouldn't need much of a cycle. A little time for the microbes to spread woulb be nice.
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Old 01-08-2004, 04:17 AM   #5
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sounds like excellent advice, thank you very much. just one last question can i get the sand from my local beach and would it be advisable to add the little crustaceans and critters that i find in it??
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Old 01-08-2004, 10:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellane1
sounds like excellent advice, thank you very much. just one last question can i get the sand from my local beach and would it be advisable to add the little crustaceans and critters that i find in it??
I think most places allow you to take sand, but there are limits as to how much you can take in a day. Most of the beneficial critters will be very tiny, i'd just remove any large crabs that could be harmful to your tank if you plan on adding corals later.

If you don't get it from your local beach avoid paying the insane prices for "live sand" at your LFS, it's a complete wast of money. IMO, use the beach sand or find a home depot that has southdown sand.
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Old 01-08-2004, 05:47 PM   #7
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kellane is in Austrailia, our rules do not apply, necessarily. First look into the legality of the issue, then the cleanliness of the area to be collected from.
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