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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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Old 01-09-2004, 09:32 AM   #11
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Thanks for the clarification, JProx!

I'm setting up a 40 gallon FOWLR tank. I'll be using a SeaLife Pro wet/dry filter with all of the bioballs. I will only have 20 lbs of live rock in there.

What should my substrate be? Should I just go ahead and do 4.5" of Live Sand if the finances permit?

What sort of critters can I get to sift through the sand? I've owned brittle stars and serpant stars in the past, and they didn't really do anything at all. Can I sift the sand myself by hand once or twice a month?

thanks for your help
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Old 01-09-2004, 11:03 AM   #12
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hey todd,

Well personally i would add another 10lbs of live rock, if you can. Well if the 20lbs of live rock isn't cured you can make your own [live sand], and save a bundle. also a few cups of 'live sand' can be used to start seeding a new sand bed. if you gotta buddy with an established DSB ask him or your LFS should be able to help.

most of the critters will be introduced into the tank from your live rock, so you shouldn't have to do anything [Example: Bristleworms (as long as they aren't green)]. there ae a few critters you can buy to help with the process, Emerald, hermits crab and a few speicies of Blennies as well as hundreds of other things. if you get yourself 30lbs of live rock, it should come stocked well enough for sand sifting Imo. you could sift the sand yourself, but you will make a huge mess, and stress out the fish, and chances are you anything you did to the DSB would be minor. Critters are much more geared to that sort of thing (they have hundreds of little claws, and are always hungry) than we are, so why not let them do it ? Plus it's always cool to see something digging their way out of Sand bed, sort of looks like attack of the pod people or some other early 50's sci fli flick.
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Old 01-09-2004, 11:12 AM   #13
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At the 'home' stores, it's usually in the garden section and referred to as 'Tropical Play Sand'. It's sold for children's sandbox use. It is therefore screened and does not contain anything harmful. The bag may say 'Not for aquarium use', but that is a contractual thing. The distributor sells the same stuff to a major aquarium products supplier who bags it and sells it at the LFS for $20-$30 bag, or so I've been told.
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Old 01-09-2004, 12:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JProx
hey todd,

Well personally i would add another 10lbs of live rock, if you can.
I certainly can go from 20 to 30 lbs of LR, but why? I don't want the tank over-run with nitrates, and don't have enough LR to remove the bioballs.

Why 10 more?

***Post edited by Bearfan to correct quote***
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Old 01-09-2004, 12:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JProx
hey todd,

Well if the 20lbs of live rock isn't cured you can make your own [live sand], and save a bundle.
I'm getting my LR from http://www.gulf-view.com They say the LR comes right off the reef and in a box and shipped to my house. Would that be cured or uncured LR? Which is better?

When I start my tank, I'm going to cycle it with raw shrimp from grocery so that when I add the LR, there is already some bacteria in there to process the amonia/die-off from the LR.

I read somewhere that cycling the tank with LR is good, but the amonia it produces to cycle the tank actually kills some of the life on the LR. So, I'm starting with a shrimp first for two weeks before the LR or sand goes in.

Thanks,
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Old 01-09-2004, 12:13 PM   #16
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I cycled mine with LR from www.liverocks.com and barely had a cycle. I was thrilled.
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Old 01-09-2004, 04:16 PM   #17
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hey todd,

well the the addition of the extra 10lb of LR is based on my personal experience, i believe in the 2/3 of the tank rule of thought when it comes to adding live rock with fish.

Some people like cured rock, some people like uncured, it's just a matter of personal opinion. Cured rock will be free of die off, and is a less work intensive. Fresh rock though takes a few weeks to cure, involves some work in the curing process, a good benefit of curing your own is that you will end up with live sand in the end. During the curing prcoess there will be some die off, of algea and a few critters from the ammonia and nitrites being produced, that is true. However that is why large water changes several times a week are required (i was told 50% 4-5 days a week was fine, but the forums suggest everyday) and keep the lights off. If these water changes are done, it should keep the levels within livable conditions for the critters, leaving the lights off will also kill some algea but when the lights come back on, the algea will recover.
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Old 01-09-2004, 05:39 PM   #18
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Here is a question for all. I had gotten 36 lbs of LV and put it in my 46 gal tank. after a week or so of the cycleing i wanted more rock. do i wate till it is done or do it put it in now why the cycle is going? or dose it make no difference
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Old 01-10-2004, 06:54 PM   #19
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cmor1701d,
Thanks for the info. I think I will let the cycle complete itself instead of making small water changes.

I wonder though, once my tank finishes the cycle, can I then put in some more LR and hope those new critter will inhabit my tank or do I have to place the LR in a quarantine tank first?

As for my cannister, I guess I will just use it as a partical remover and a current for the tank.
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Old 01-10-2004, 09:14 PM   #20
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once my tank finishes the cycle, can I then put in some more LR and hope those new critter will inhabit my tank or do I have to place the LR in a quarantine tank first?
That depends on how much LR and where you get it from. If it's cured and has been shipped to you, but is only a small quantity, I might put it directly in the tank. I have a 125 with 145 pounds of LR (started with 50 base and 95 LR). I'm thinking of getting another 25 pounds from liverocks.com and putting it directly in the tank. That's based on the experiences of some other posters. I will check the ammonia levels every hour for the first 24 hours to make sure I don't get a major spike. Hmm, maybe I'll only put ¬Ĺ in at first and see how that goes, with the other half in a tub.

Even with the LR in a QT tank, you can remove any critters that come out of the rock and put them in a smaller tank with fresh mix that's matched in ph, temp and SG to the tank with the rock in it. You could even drip acclimate them and then put directly into the main tank.

HTH,
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