Allow me to clarify and confuse the matter even more.
Just to give you a heads up...You WILL go through periods of confusion with this hobby, they come in waves and the frequency of these waves is directly related to the amount of reading/research you do. Research is GREAT, but it opens up many more doors to things you didn't anticipate, and will seem to complicate everything just a wee bit more.
You don't need a plenum before adding LR
, because, quite frankly, they aren't usually even recommended or used that much anymore. A DSB
, (deep sand bed), is generally regarded as the most successful option for your denitrifying substrate method. I won't bother going into too much depth, but the DSB
, used WITH your LR
for biological filtration by providing surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow. A plenum is a layered substrate bed elevated with a platform that allows a space underneath as a dead water zone, which is believed to stop the accumulation of nitrates.
There are a couple of different points of view regarding having a sand substrate present during LR
curing and cycling in the setup of a new tank. If the LR
has lots of die-off, some believe that it will accumulate on the sand, get mixed in and rot without getting a chance to be purged from the system. Others believe that after time, you'll be good to go and that its not a big deal.
If you have a good skimmer and LOTS of circulation from powerheads, then you'll be fine with putting the sand in then the LR
, and starting your cycle. If not, you can just put the LR
in cycle the tank while curing your rock and use a pvc
pipe/funnel to pour your sand through (to avoid a sandstorm) after the cycle.
Another option is to cure your LR
seperately, but if you can live with the smell in the house, and it probably will smell pretty foul, its most beneficial to cure it in your main tank, plus its cheaper.