To rinse Sand or not to rinse

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Aquarium Advice Addict
Nov 30, 2002
Cleveland, Oh. USA
Iv'e seen this argument in the yahoo forum So I'll ask it here.

Anyone having Southdown or similar Substrate, Please tell me weather or not you rinsed your sand or not. and why you did/didn't and any adverse effect's it might have had.

Some say to rinse and some say don't. I don't want my tank to look like the mississippi for 6 months. :wink:
My vote is don't rinse. The general consensus is that the particles you rinse out are the ones you want to give your DSB the proper grain size. I didn't rinse out mine, and I had the cloud for about a week. I don't think thats too much to pay to be sure you try to create the best substrate you can. Once bacteria populates the DSB, it won't cloud the water even if disturbed. I know this because I have an excavating maroon clown that likes to rearrage the DSB.

Ok here is an update. I have just been told by Ray at Tampa bay that I shouldn't keep a 4" bed of sand, that it should be only 1to 1-1/2 inches deep. Opinions :idea:
I was gonna add that and forgot, His reason behind this is that it would create dead spots, and something about nitrogin gas.
Nitrogen gass is going to happen in a 1.5 inche sand bed too. What you don't want, is hydrogen sulfide to leach out into the tank...

There are many debates about this and to be honest, I believe there are only 2 ways to go, from all of the reading I have been doing from some of the top marine biologists.

1. No sand at all and 1.5 to 2 lbs of LR per gal...

2. DSB 6" deep with a 1" plenum built under the sand, and 1 to 1.5 lbs per gal LR.

Number 1 is completely reliant upon the LR as Filtration whereas number 2 is using the dead water in the plenum underneath the sand for de-nitrification. It is possible to run a system like this without the use of skimmers and de-nitrators and run very, very low in nitrates if any at all.

The thing to number 2 is the sand gives an appealing look to the tank as well as serves its purpose for filtration as well as the LR. I think this is the better way of doing it and I believe many, many agree. I haven't heard any differences in doing the 6" DSB with or without the plenum in place so, I can't help on that.

Some of the old timers that have 6" DSB's will comment and tell you more about it...
Most people now a days have replaced the plenum system with a plain deep sand bed.

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