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Old 04-01-2011, 05:52 AM   #1
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Opinions on the best live sand

Hi all,

I am looking to add more live sand to an existing tank to get more of the benefits that a good healthy live sand bed offers (pH buffeting, nitrate filtration, pod growth, etc.). I am just about settled on Nature's Ocean Bio-Activ live sand after reviews I have read. I would love any opinions or experience anyone can offer on the matter.

Thanks,

Bliss
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:29 AM   #2
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You're going to get a mixed response. I've used it before and think that my tank cycled quicker than other peoples have. That said it still took weeks to cycle. How can bacteria live in a sealed bag? I don't know, so some say its just sand in a bag with water. The last tank I did was with just dry aragonite and things went well. It was cheaper, and I could rinse out the sand beforehand to keep the tank less cloudy. The bio-active stuff I did not because I didn't want to lose the 'life' so it was cloudy longer (which means nothing in the long run) I guess long story short, get the cheaper dry stuff, I'd avoid anything too fine, it tends to cloud up easier when you have sifters in your tank. Just ask someone with an experienced tank for some sand, I did that before, get some extra life that way, sometimes your LFS will give you some. Not sure if that helped any, but just my 2 cents.

Oh forgot to add, dry sand some live quickly, and you'll get extra 'life' from your LR assuming you get cured, you're better off spending money getting cured Live Rock, then bagged 'live' sand.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:20 AM   #3
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My vote goes tooooo (drum roll please)............ regular old non-live sand.

Match as close to the grain size you have now or all the bigger grains will migrate to the top (unless you like that grain size better).

IMO live sand is a fallacy much like bottled life bacteria. Save the extra money and buy something nice for you or the tank.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:22 AM   #4
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IME 'live sands' are nothing more than a wet sand with something equivalent to a bottled bacterial supplement (not very effective at best).

I use Estes Ultra Reef because I wanted black sand and it was the best option. I am VERY glad I did.

Any sand will become live eventually as long as you have live rock.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:39 AM   #5
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I appreciate the replies. I'm glad I got them so quickly.

I might just add a small amount of live rock to seed the sand I have with more life. I am just not happy with the amount of apparent life in the sand I have (I may be over thinking this a bit), so I wanted to find the best, and most cost-effective way to add biodiversity.

I do have a diamond watchman goby who loves to move sand around, so I will avoid any more fine sand than I already have. He moves enough sand around to keep a light dusting on things in the tank, but not so much that it makes the water cloudy at all.

I have a 16g nano, and I want to do everything I can to make it as stable as possible, since nanos can be a challenge. I also plan to use a 10 gallon tank as a custom refugium in a month or two to further stabilize my system. In that I plan to keep a 3" deep sandbed with live rock and some macro algae for further filtration and to keep up a population of pods. This advice will come in very handy when I set that system up as well. And any advice I can get for that project is certainly welcome.

Thanks guys.

-Bliss
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:19 PM   #6
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You're not going to get biodiversity in your sand from 'live sand'. Live implying that the bacteria exists. You sound like you are looking for the little critters (worms, pods, etc) that live within the sand bed. Live rock is your best bet, I used to do a sand exchange with others I knew years ago. There are even a few places online that sell them.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:44 PM   #7
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I'd like to have both, but I am sure I already have decent bacteria going on in the sand (since the tank has been up and running for a few months now). What I really want are the "hitchhikers" that come from live rock. I guess I was just hoping that I might be able to get some of that from live sand as well. But it makes sense that all of that would be filtered out of any sand that is going to be sold, and especially the packaged stuff.

This has been helpful. I think I have realized that what I need is not more sand, but live rock. I had planned on waiting a while to add live rock to my aquarium. I think what I'll do is get a small-ish piece of good live rock now from my LFS to seed the sand and get the critters growing, and then I'll add to it when I'm ready to go all the way. I plan on using mostly base rock that will be seeded by some good live rock, and this may be a good way to make that seeding go better anyway.

I might also ask the guys at my LFS about getting some good sand that already has some life in it, and see what they think. I see them often enough they may be willing to share some of their own with me.
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:08 PM   #8
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Just be careful WHO you get the sand from. Adding it to your tank, you then inherit all the good AND bad things from the prior tank. My exchanges were always with groups that I knew and trusted.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:19 PM   #9
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With a watchman goby you wont ever get any biodiversity because he will eat it.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:26 PM   #10
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get some live rock rubble from premium aquatics, I put that in my sump...lots of life in there! now I have lots of life in my DT sand as well
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