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Old 09-05-2013, 06:31 PM   #1
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Question Do I really need sand, and why exactly??

I have a few saltwater projects, basically a tear-down tank that has been donated to me with no fish, no inverts unless I find the missing snails, serpent star and I doubt I will. It has a 29 gallon display tank, a 15 gallon sump and is very full of great pieces of live rock, including tonga rock and base rock that has been in the sump with NO FLOW AT ALL for months. So far I lowered the salinity from {off the charts} in the DT to 0.025, but that unfortunately seemed to kill off the cleaner shrimp and last fish alive, a blue chromis. Who knows if anyone else survived.. Tank has been untouched for 3-5 months

I also have a very purpled up with coraline rock in there that has some surviving coral, just polypts? (sp) but since I reduced the salinity they have reemerged! a few pulsing zenia (the greyish ones that pulse, I assume I have the name correct?) The LEDs have been off for months, so I wonder if these can be safely moved to the new 55 Gallon I am hoping to set up this week.

ABOUT SAND: the old tear-down tank has a good 40-50 lbs of sand, it looks awful, lots of green and red/rust growth deep into the sand bed. the 2 koralias are still providing water flow in the DT but the in-sump skimmer has been off due to evap preventing any flow through the overflow.

I have a 55G sitting empty, and a regular (T12? largest diameter bulbs I have seen) light as well as 2 sets of T-5 4-bulb lights that I could use in the corals would benefit..

I plan on having a simple FOWLR with a lower bioload school of chromis or perhaps a wrass or other small beginner fish.

The last bit of information: I have a 5 gallon bucket of small pebbles I got for free with this 55 off Craigslist, who had a typical "Nemo" tank for a short while.

I like keeping barebottom tanks when trying new set-ups to monitor the poop and to vacuum all the nooks and crannies by moving deco/rocks/wood around.

I am used to freshwater, although I have researched salt water quite a bit and I understand the substrate provides BB in both. I have a skimmer(2 actually), a un-used "Phosban reactor" (what is this for?), a 3-part RODI filter, and lots of pumps and chemicals and various supplies for SW and corals...

I also wanted to limit my purchases to livestock and an overflow box to hopefully re-use the Sump with my 55DT to host macroalgea and use the in-sump skimmer rather than my HOB.


Any advice for a newbie?
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:43 PM   #2
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Why lower the salinity to 0.025 that's surely killed everything in the tank including beneficial bacteria? You don't need sand but if you have the right flow you should not see any poop in the tank anyway as will break up in the flow but people do run bare bottom tanks anyway so will be fine. You'll need a bit more live rock to re seed the other live rock and to leave to cycle for a fairly long time now to grow the beneficial bacteria back to start with.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:56 PM   #3
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I'm sure 1.025 was what was meant there.
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:40 AM   #4
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I'm sure 1.025 was what was meant there.
yes sorry... my bad. I did it over several days by adding RO temp adjusted water

What animals or cuc do require a sand bed?
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:32 PM   #5
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yes sorry... my bad. I did it over several days by adding RO temp adjusted water

What animals or cuc do require a sand bed?
Very few actually require it. But A bare bottom tank doesnt look as good to me and the sand also plays a role in housing BB and PH stability. Also it keeps that reflection from the bottom glass away. But its your tank and what you want it to be. I cant think of anything that requires sand other than some starfish, some wrasses, horseshoe crabs, rays, etc. Also i wouldnt use pebbles or gravel in a saltwater tank. It will trap food and cause nutrient issues.
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Very few actually require it. But A bare bottom tank doesnt look as good to me and the sand also plays a role in housing BB and PH stability. Also it keeps that reflection from the bottom glass away. But its your tank and what you want it to be. I cant think of anything that requires sand other than some starfish, some wrasses, horseshoe crabs, rays, etc. Also i wouldnt use pebbles or gravel in a saltwater tank. It will trap food and cause nutrient issues.
There are a few types of snails that require/prefer it as well, but as stated, many people successfully keep bare-bottom tanks, so ultimetly it is your choice.
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:46 PM   #7
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Only thing i saw was you stated you like to start out bare bottom to ensure everything is how you like it and im not to sure its safe to add sand to a cycle aquarium. It will likely cause issues i would think.
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Old 09-06-2013, 03:38 PM   #8
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Only thing i saw was you stated you like to start out bare bottom to ensure everything is how you like it and im not to sure its safe to add sand to a cycle aquarium. It will likely cause issues i would think.
A-Ha! ok so the tank I am tearing down I believe had sand added to the existing sandbed, and perhaps the result was the nastiness of colored sand that I was not looking forward to "recycling"

Any way to sterilize sand of at least flush out organic matter that is causing all the growth?
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:31 PM   #9
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A-Ha! ok so the tank I am tearing down I believe had sand added to the existing sandbed, and perhaps the result was the nastiness of colored sand that I was not looking forward to "recycling"

Any way to sterilize sand of at least flush out organic matter that is causing all the growth?
I would just get new sand if it was me. The $30-40 it will cost for new sand is worth not having to risk it in my opinion.
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:24 PM   #10
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What i did was fill a 5g bucket 1/4 full of sand, fill with rodi water, then run 3-4 airstones down to the bottom of the bucket. This will fluidize the sand and should help pull out the gunk
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