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Old 01-02-2004, 08:33 PM   #1
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Many questions, from sand to filters..

Hi everybody,
Before I ask any questions, I would like to thanks this community for all the useful info which I have attained since I've found this site. I've been into FW for about 5 yrs now and would like to try SW.

First, will the use of CC (about 1/2 mm in size) be a suitable substrate or must I use sand? Why? How much in depth should my substrate be?

What about the filtration system? I plan to use LR. Is that enough as a filtration system for my tank (33 gallon)? I have Fluval and Eheim canister filters if I need to use them.

I have all the Marine lighting, heaters, powerheads, testkits and a skimmer. Am I good to go and start my cycle?
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Old 01-02-2004, 10:05 PM   #2
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My opinions, from what I've learned:

CC tends to trap detritus (waste) in it. As it breaks down, it releases ammonia->nitrite->nitrate...and can lead to a buildup of nitrates in the water. I'd go with sand, aragonite sand to be exact, and it's up to you how deep it is. If you want to go with a DSB, it's supposed to help reduce nitrate by bacteria held deep down in the bottom. A DSB is usually 4-5" deep, using a relatively fine grade sand. This, coupled with LR (about 1-1.5lbs/gal) and a skimmer is usually enough to filter a tank on its own, provided there is adequate water movement, and a bunch of critters to mix through the sandbed. If you do only go 1-3" of sand, I'd hook up the canister, and make sure you wash out any sponge-like material in the canister frequently...probably once a week or so to remove solid wastes trapped in the foam. Removing it will help decrease the amount of nitrates. Just what I've learned, so I'd get more opinions, and sometime tell if I was taught wrong! Hope I helped a bit!
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Old 01-03-2004, 12:05 AM   #3
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VERY nicely said dansemacabre!!!! The only thing I would add is a Protein skimmer. What kind of skimmer and test do you have. The types of these 2 is VERY important as there is alot of JUNK out there in these 2 areas
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Old 01-04-2004, 03:09 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick response Dansemacabre, mrrrkvs. your opinions as well as anyone in this community is greatly appreciated as well as valuable info for me.

I purchased a SeaClone 150 skimmer. I've heard they aren't very effective but running in a 33 gal. it should be ok...I hope. The test kit is FasTest Master Kit from Aquarium Systems. I've read they are good.

I've changed to sand instead of CC only that my water is very milky. I guess it's because I put the sand after I had water in the tank. I'm running my PH right now.

I have LR in the tank and am wondering if I shoud put in the shrimp to help cycle the water or should I wait until the water clears up? do I need to make water changes during the cycle period?
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Old 01-04-2004, 03:31 PM   #5
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The SeaClone 150, being rated for a 150gal tank, should be fine for a 33gal.

The sand tends to do that, and it will usually clear up in a week or so...mine only took 3 days.

Is the LR cured or uncured? If you're not sure, where you bought it can help. If you purchased it at your LFS, it's probably cured. If it was mail-order, it'll still need some curing, regardless of whether or not it said "cured" or "uncured." The LR will help your cycle if it is uncured. If you bought it cured for your LFS, you may not see the typical spike of ammonia, because the LR will begin filtering already.

If it is uncured from LFS, or if it is anything from mail-order/website: the LR will cycle the tank on its own as material on it dies off (which will happen).

If it is cured from an LFS: I'd wait till the sand settles, just so I could see what was going on, and then toss in a shrimp and start monitoring the water parameters.

I know nothing about the various brands of test kit, so I'll leave that to someone else.

As far as water changes during cycle...some people feel that you should change it, to save anything still alive on the rock. (because if you don't, the levels could get so high, it'll kill anything still on the rock, except the bacteria. Note that this only applies to uncured rock or any rock from mail-order or websites.) Others feel you should not change it, as this may elongate the cycling process. As for me, I'd rather do the water changes, save my critters, and have the cycle go on for an extra week or so, just to save what was on my rocks. Another week or so isn't going to kill me. I'd change no more than a half of it though, because you don't want to remove all the water, or the cycle will never get going. And remember what they say about saltwater...nothing good happens fast. Hope this helps, if you have any more questions, ask away!
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Old 01-04-2004, 03:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
I've changed to sand instead of CC
Did you remove the CC?
How deep is your sandbed?
How much LR did you put in?
Where did you get it from? LFS? Was it cured?
Have you started testing for Ammonia yet?

Let the tank cycle with just the LR.
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Old 01-07-2004, 09:27 PM   #7
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cmor1701d,
Yes, I removed the CC and just used sand as the substrate though it isn't live sand.
My sand is only 2-3" deep. I hope that is ok.
I have 25lbs of LR and I purchased it cured from the LFS.
As for ammonia testing, I haven't done one yet but perhaps I should. It's only been a couple of days since my tank has been up so I figure it was too soon.

From what info Dansemacabre posted, I guess I'll make small water changes when the ammonia gets high to protect those little "critters".

Don't worry, I'm going to be patient.

Thanks again and if anyone else out there has some info to share, I'm more than willing to listen to your advice!
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Old 01-08-2004, 02:46 PM   #8
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If you want to make small water changes you will increase the time it take to cycle the tank. It's imperative that you test Ammonia daily if that's what you want to do.
In a couple of days the ammonia could already be high enough to kill any hitchhikers on the rock. You might want to get some more LR, like another 25 pounds.

A 2"-3" is not a DSB and therefore will not help with elimination of nitrate. You will need to continue to do small water changes (aprox 10% per week) to keep the level low. With the sand and LR you will not need any media in the cannisters if you decide to even use them. I wouldn't.

Let us know what you decide.
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Old 01-08-2004, 02:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dansemacabre
My opinions, from what I've learned:

CC tends to trap detritus (waste) in it. As it breaks down, it releases ammonia->nitrite->nitrate...and can lead to a buildup of nitrates in the water. I'd go with sand, aragonite sand to be exact, and it's up to you how deep it is. If you want to go with a DSB, it's supposed to help reduce nitrate by bacteria held deep down in the bottom. A DSB is usually 4-5" deep, using a relatively fine grade sand. This, coupled with LR (about 1-1.5lbs/gal) and a skimmer is usually enough to filter a tank on its own, provided there is adequate water movement, and a bunch of critters to mix through the sandbed. If you do only go 1-3" of sand, I'd hook up the canister, and make sure you wash out any sponge-like material in the canister frequently...probably once a week or so to remove solid wastes trapped in the foam. Removing it will help decrease the amount of nitrates. Just what I've learned, so I'd get more opinions, and sometime tell if I was taught wrong! Hope I helped a bit!
I've always wondered . . . when folks are asking about Crushed Coral (CC) are they talking about Live Sand? When you say to do a 4 to 5" sand bed of aragonite sand, is that just plain old regular dry sand? Where does Live Sand come into play here?

Thanks,
Todd
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Old 01-08-2004, 11:59 PM   #10
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todd,

crushed coral is not sand, it's actually small peices or rock/coral that's been crushed up [most supplies are a dim white, or light tan] that many people use in saltwater tanks (i have used it alot myself) it's true it will cause nitrite/nitrate spikes from trapped food particles and fish waste, however it does provide PH buffering and a very strict water changing schedule can control these spikes reasonably well, not great though.

live sand, is sand that has critters and bacteria living in it. you can make your own from curing live rock, or buy 'pre-made' live sand from LFS or online. DSB contain live sand and need to be 4-5 inches to be an effective nitrate remover. any shallower and it's no longer effective, also the sand needs to be sifted by creatues to achieve max effectiveness.

when people are talking aragonite sand they are talking about dry sand, that can be purchased at most home repair stores [lowes, home depot]. Grain sizes varies, so know what you want before you go and make sure you call to check they have it.. you can save yourself alot of time that way. also make sure it's aragonite sand, and not silica.

hope it helps!
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