FAQs about Marine Substrate Selection 3
Marine System Substrates (Gravels, Sands) by Bob Fenner,
Marine Substrate Options by Sara Mavinkurve,
Deep Sand Beds,
Biominerals in Seawater,
Understanding Calcium& Alkalinity,
Marine Substrate Selection 1,
Marine Substrate Selection 2, &
Marine Substrates 1,
Marine Substrates 2,
Marine Substrates 3, Marine Substrates 4, Marine Substrates 5, Marine Substrates 6, Marine Substrates 7, Marine Substrates 8,Marine Substrates
Deep Sand Beds,
Mud Filtration 1,
Calcium, FAQs 1,
not just choosing for yourself. Cirrhitichthys aprinus Cuvier 1829), the Blotched
Sandsifters and grain size 4/10/18
Hello to the WWM expert crew,
Firstly a BIG thank you for all your passion about this hobby and the
help you provide. I watched everything I could find on BRSTV and found
the MACNA videos. Of my 3 favorites 2 were by Mr. Bob Fenner (the other
is Sourcing, Quarantine & Acclimation by Austin Lefevre).
Despite having read a fair bit on your site and still have heaps of
questions as I am planning my first reef tank. I have other topics I
will write on in the future sorry;(
Out of cost, quality and convenience / time I am going to sacrifice
convenience and time. I have a tight budget and after my initial layout
only want to spend EUR50/mth on equipment and stock. The benefit of this
approach probably means myself (and my tank) are better prepared and
researched for each new addition.
<Am very glad to find that you are aware of costs (including utilities
like electric and water) and have set a reasonable budget for ongoing>
Onto my questions. After a few months I plan on adding a Goby (probably
Stonogobiops nematodes) & Shrimp pair and later I would like to add a
pair of sand sifting Gobies. The display tank is a peninsula about 100G
- 120cm x 50cm (60cm high) with an extra 30cm at the back for a refugium
/ internal sump. I will add pods, algae and refugium mud to the refugium
Q1 - Which sand size? - As I want to (eventually) have a mixed reef tank
I have Gyre pumps - so the flow will high at the top and then mild along
the bottom - but flow is important and I anticipate adding more
Wavemakers. I would like to get ATI Fiji White Sand. There are 2 sizes
I’m considering - S (0.3mm-1mm) and M (1-2mm). They say "Because of his
significantly higher density than a comparable Aragonite sand is the
Fiji White sand considerably heavier and remains so better be at flow”.
Would a 1” bottom be sufficient?
<Mmm; perhaps with some area (can be circumscribed or just mounted) for
your burrowing life; e.g. the Stonogobiops. I would go with the 1-3mm
nominal sand grade here>
and will the M be ok for Sand sifters or am I better off going with the
smaller grain size?
<It would, but again, I prefer a bit larger, to stay down on the bottom,
do all the substrate does... looks, function wise>
Also can I add pieces of shell I have collected from the beach or would
this make sifting harder?
<Assured they're clean biologically, that'd be fine. I would add them
Q2 - Is there an easier pair of Gobies than Signigobius biocellatus that
are suitable in a pair for a tank my size that can sift the sand?
<Oh, a bunch! Some larger species, like Valencienneas, are tougher...
see WWM re all substrate sifting, shrimp gobies>
I would simply prefer a hardier fish that I won’t have to constantly
hand feed. It seems all the Valenciennea species would be too big in a
pair for my tank so is the most sensible option to forget about a pair
of sifters and get a Valenciennea?
<Ah yes; not too large for a 100 G>
Q3 - Should I clean the sand ever assuming I will add the sand sifters?
Should I buy other creatures that will clean the sand? I’d prefer after
I get the sifters not to have to clean the sand too much.
<You can wait, look/see if much/any algae, particulates are accumulating
on the sand surface. I do like to stir (with a wood or plastic dowel)
about half (left or right) the substrate every water change interval
(weekly). Vacuuming may prove unnecessary. Cleanliness is not sterility>
Thanks so much. Your site has been wonderfully helpful with my planning
on multiple topics and I hope, as many of your other Q and A’s have done
for me, this helps others ;)
<Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>
Mar. substrate sel. 4/21/16
Greetings! Thank you for time!
I'm upgrading from a 30gal to a 108gal, and am in the process of selecting the
substrate. I really liked the CaribSea Tahitian Moon. My understanding is that
it does not offer buffering capabilities, so I intend to mix it with their
Hawaiian Black Arag-Alive in equal portions. This Tahitian Moon sand is shipped
both dry and according to them suitable for marine aquariums, which I presume
would need to be rinsed; and they also ship it in freshwater, with freshwater
bacteria. How detrimental is the freshwater bacteria to a saltwater aquarium?
<Not at all>
Will the bacteria die off and cause ammonia spikes as it cycles?
<Will die off; not significant NH3/NH4OH contributors... very little biomass>
I've read elsewhere that the bacteria is very similar and wont necessarily die.
What's your take? Thank you for your
<You can/could always write CaribSea and inquire directly. Naught to worry re.
Thank you - you guys are amazing.
<Welcome JC, B>
marine white sand 2/4/13
Hi Bob are you familiar with natures ocean marine white sand?
<Yes. Is aragonitic:
very pretty, have half of that in my tank, but looking back I am not
sure whether or not this is silicate based...and if it is silicate, is
having this mixed 50 50 with sugar aragonite a safe mix?
As I add more sand , (currently have 2-3 inches total now) I can add
<Real good. B>
RE: marine white sand 2/4/14
Excellent, so it is aragonite based. I was worried, for it doesn't
say it on bag like carib sea does.
<... you could have searched...>
Secondly, when determing turnover rate of tank, do you calculate all
water, sump and tank, or just tank.
For example, If I have a 2000 gph pump, (say after head pressure) but
pump is t'd off and half goes to protein skimmer. Is the turnover rate
still 2000, since that is still the water being pumped around and
oxygenated, or is it 1000, because that is all the water the tank is
directly receiving back?
Re: marine white sand 2/5/14
I had asked you about the sane "Natures Ocean Marine Based Sand"
yesterday whether or not it was silica based or aragonite. And from what
you searched and found, you said it was arag. Well before I had asked
you, I emailed the
company asking them what it was. I received a response last
night from natures ocean, and the woman stated it was in fact silica
<Strange... as some sites on the Net stated otherwise. Thank you for
With that said, and if it is true, I have roughly 30 lbs of this
particular sand, with 70 lbs carbib sea aragonite.
Is this a safe combination, or is the silica dangerous. I know it
doesn't have buffering capabilities, but I am thinking since I have
predominantly aragonite, it may still be ok. What do you think?
<The Si02 is not "dangerous", but not of much use... see WWM
re... lack of surface area, solubility of useful mat.s B>
expired live sand 11/24/13
I am setting up a new 36 gal tank with 26 gal refugium. Long ago I
bought a lot of CaribSea Caribbean aragonite live sand that now has an
expiry date of 3/2011.
The packages have never been opened. I know the live part is long
gone but is it possible "unfriendly" bacteria has grown in there? Would
you recommend using it?
<I would use it; and not worry; nothing has grown on/in it that is
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Bay/Estuary Invertebrates- substrate issues
I'm currently in the "planning stage" of my next tank- a 20
gallon biotope modeled on San Diego/Mission Bay.
<I live in the town; have collected here>
Among others, I'd like to keep some ghost shrimp (Neotrypaea
californiensis). In the wild they dig interconnected
burrows up to 3ft deep, however I understand this is a function of
living intertidally (they can go to the bottom of the burrow and then
into deeper water when the tide drops). I intend on giving them
8-10" of substrate, however their natural substrate is a mix of very
fine sand, silt, and mud, much of which is anaerobic.
<Yes; folks used to collect this animal in/about the channel at OB...>
My question is this- how would I provide such a deep, fine substrate
without causing water quality issues related to anaerobic decomposition?
<Mmm, not much; given it's collected naturally; and you take the time to
siphon off, replace, recant... till the bit of upper water is more or
less clear. You may want to fashion some sort of faux tunnel, channels
so you can see the life here>
The uppermost level of the substrate would be well oxygenated from the
other inverts (local Nassarius and Cerith snails) and the shrimp burrows
would allow water to travel to the bottom of the substrate but I worry
about sulfide buildup in this system.
<Mmm, I wouldn't... what are your plans for circulation, filtration?>
If it helps, my planned substrate is going to be 50% natural silt/mud from
the bay (to seed the naturally occurring microfauna) and 50% of the
finest grained aragonite sand (I know it deviates from the biotope, but
the buffering capacity is a plus and I think that going 100% natural
substrate would guarantee problems from anaerobic decomp given the high
levels of organic matter present).
If the shrimp habitat proves to be impractical, I'm just going to do a
3-4" substrate and leave the shrimp out of the tank. Thank you in
advance for any insights you can give on this topic.
< Can be done... I'd go ahead w/ your present plan. Bob Fenner>
Aragonite Sand in Virginia Beach 6/12/12
Had no luck at my local hardware stores locating sand, went to a
neighborhood weed & feed (Virginia Beach feed & seed) They were out of
stock but according to catalog it is silica free and from the Caribbean
So I placed an order for a 100lbs for $12.58 it should be in Thursday
Will let you guys know the outcome of the vinegar test
<Sounds good. James (Salty Dog)>
Tying in a macro tank. Substrate sel.
First off...thanks for all the wonderful advice. Even though I have
never posted a question myself, I have always been able to find an
I have a 175 gallon display mixed reef. I use two 70 gallon Rubbermaid
stock tanks as sumps.
<Great for this ap.>
I have plumbed in a 58 gallon tall RR aquarium I want to grow
macros in for display as well as for the obvious benefit. My real
question is about the substrate. I have plenty of clean used fine grain
sand I can use as well as mineral mud. I do want grow some rooted
macros. So here come the questions.
Is a mix of mud and fine sand a good substrate for me?
What would be a good ratio of mud to sand?
<3 to 4 sand to one portion of mud or so... enough to keep the mud
Would I literally mix this together or layer these?
<Mix the two for the bottom layer, place just sand on top>
How deep should this substrate be?
<As deep as you can make it really... a few to several
Is used sand ok, or should I start with new sand?
<Used is fine>
Do you see any challenges overall with tying a macro tank in with my
<Perhaps some initial excess nutrient issue/s w/ the start up... but
nothing long term>
Thanks again for the advice
<Just stating what I'd do given the same circumstances,
Re: Was "Ideal" size for specimens to be
shipped, Now mostly substrate sel.
Hey Bob (and Crew),
I do like diving (although I am green at it), and I do hope to meet you
someday. Are you speaking in Michigan anytime soon?
How about MACNA 2012? Where will it be?
<Yes; in DFW, TX: http://www.dfwmacna.com/
will be a very nice time; educational and fun>
Anyway, I already ran my stocking plan by you. Here's a refresher.
I just bought 125 gallon 72"x18"x21" that is a
FOWLR in the works. I already ordered and received my fish from
Liveaquaria.com. They arrived in fantastic condition and are all
eating. They are in quarantined 3 to a tank in 29 gallon tanks with
20-30 lbs of established live rock per tank.
Testing daily...no detectable ammonia or nitrite. This weekend I will
be filling the new 125 gallon and placing the rest of the established
Liverock and new substrate. I'm not anticipating much of a cycle as
the live rock I have has been in an established system for 3 or so
years. After 3-4 weeks I plan to move all of my livestock (as long as
they are healthy) and their live rock into the 125 gallon. My fish
list: 2" Picasso Trigger (cute as hell), 1.5" Papuan Toby
Puffer (also cute as hell), 2.5" Flame Hawkfish, .5" Yellow
Wrasse -Halichoeres chrysus (could this get eaten by the Flame
<Mmm, hopefully not... Perhaps best to grow it up a bit... to 1.5
plus inches in the 29 before moving>
3" Vrolik's Wrasse, 2.5" Exquisite Fairy Wrasse, a
Two Barred Rabbitfish (out of stock when they shipped, unfortunately,
so I hope he will ship in the next two weeks), and a pair of Maroon
Clowns who initiated this tank upgrade, the female being about 2".
I plan to raise the fish together...no other additions. In fact,
reading my fish list makes me think that maybe a wrasse or two should
go into one of my other systems because I don't want to be
overstocked when the fish reach their adult size.
<What you list should be fine together>
My reason for writing is mostly in regards to the substrate for the
I am a believer in deep sand beds...4"-6" sugar-sized sand in
It works for me as I have a 180 gallon reef and a 90 gallon anemone
reef tank running, lightly to medium stocked compared to most
aquarists, with probably about 3/4 lb of live rock per gallon, only 10%
water change per month, non-skimmed ( I know, slap me), reverse lit
refugium with Chaeto and rubble, and NO DETECTABLE NITRATES. The
systems are not fancy, but they work with a minimal amount of
maintenance, in my opinion due to the deep sand bed, live rock,
refugium, and relatively light stocking level, and the fish seem happy
and healthy. However, I'm new to the FOWLR, semi-aggressive scene,
and I've read much about appropriate systems, yet I question what
would be best in regards to substrate.
<Really the same as your other systems>
I get the overall impression from reading the FAQ's that it's a
matter of aesthetics, but I believe it is more than that. I have to say
that I had my mind set on black substrate. I researched black aragonite
sand knowing that I wanted aragonite for it buffering capability and
ended up ordering 240lbs of Arag-Alive Hawaiian Black. I was thinking
I'd be able to do a deep sand bed with this, but upon delivery, I
realized that the particle sizes might be too large (advertised as
.1-3mm, but it just looks like the cheap freshwater aquarium gravel to
me). Frankly, I don't like the way it looks, and I'm concerned
that it will trap detritus. As I see it, here are my choices:
1. Skip the deep sand bed and put 1" or less of the Hawaiian Black
in the display. Vacuum it regularly and expect that it won't help
in keeping my nitrates in check. I hate vacuuming gravel, by the way,
and I wonder if my wrasses would be able to burrow into such large
<Not really... and this material tends to be much sharper/angular
than small diameter coral sands>
Perhaps employ a fluidized bed filter or DSB in my refugium, but the
refugium portion of my sump is only 14"x12", so I don't
believe that would be enough.
<Would go a long way...>
2. Pay the shipping to return it. Would the Indo-Pacific black (.2-2mm)
or Nature's Ocean Black Beach Reef Sand (.5-1.55mm) be
appropriate for a deep sand bed in the display and keep the wrasses
<Mmm, again; not really as much as rounder, softer (white) coral
The Indo-Pacific is not completely black, but has grown on me. If the
Indo-Pacific or Black Beach Reef Sand is not suitable for a deep sand
bed, what aragonite based mostly black product would work?
3. Mix the Hawaiian Black with some other smaller particle sand.
<I wouldn't do this. Not functional, nor appealing in appearance
4. Return Hawaiian Black and go "bare bottom"...haha. I'm
not sure I'd like that aesthetically...in the aquarium, of course,
and I don't think the wrasses would like it at all as they like to
burrow in the sand, from what I've read. It doesn't seem like
it would be a comfortable place to burrow.
However, with the messy eaters and lack of cleanup crew due to the
trigger and the puffer, is bare bottom the best choice?
I could place the wrasses in one of my other systems.
<Yes... or could place a tray... glass, plastic... of fine substrate
for their use... in a corner here>
5. I read in one of the threads about growing GSP, Xenia,
mushrooms...other aquarium "weeds" on the aquarium floor.
Would this even be possible with the trigger and puffer?
<They will almost certainly sample these organisms>
If so, would 4 T5's over the tank work to grow these
<Can... but this is a deep shaped tank if it's a standard
In this case, would I have to place the Wrasses in one of my
other tanks, or perhaps, do 1/4 of the tank in sand, by creating a
barrier with a piece of glass.
Summary question: Which substrate is best for a 120 gallon FOWLR with
messy eaters such as a Picasso Trigger and a Toby Puffer for an
aquarium naturalist who likes to employ mostly natural methods in
reaching aquarium equilibrium?
<As stated; functionally fine coral sand... aesthetically? Up to
Crushed coral giving me a headache,
Hey guys / gals at WWM. Firstly I'd like to thank you
all for so selflessly devoting your time to help those in the
hobby, its such a great and interesting resource I have trouble
getting any work done! (I'm working now ha)
<What is this work thing you refer to?>
I have a 3 foot LPS tank for over a year now but I have a bit of
an issue developing. I would really appreciate some expert
advice re my 1-2 inch crushed coral substrate. Unfortunately its
gradually becoming more and more dirty looking (see att.),
despite siphoning it weekly with water changes and stirring it up
now and then. I'm afraid it is turning into a detritus
<That is the problem with it.>
I'm wondering instead of removing it, could I just cover it
with 2-3 inches of a sugar fine substrate like aragonite? Or is
that like brushing rubbish under a rug?
<Pretty much, and the sand being more dense will eventually
sink below the crushed coral so it really won't fix your
I'm concerned that in removing it there will be a collapse,
as my rock and corals aren't glued (also attached) and also
that the bacteria loss with the substrate may cause a nitrite
spike. Unfortunately I can't go back in time (yet) so what
you recommend? Cover it up or replace it completely?
<Replace unfortunately, otherwise you will just have more
problems. Long term replacing it will be less work, but it
won't be fun to replace.>
Sediment for Marine Tank
<Hi there John>
I recently read an article in http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ about
what types of sediment to use in my 100 gallon fish tank but I still
have some questions:
Before I ask here is my tank. Its 100 gallons filled with really cool
contraptions (Protein skimmer, chiller, UV sterilizer, Biofilter with
bio-balls, etc) and it is housing my Blue crab and Atlantic
horseshoe crab (obtained legally). However, I recently read
that the quartz rocks I used as a sediment were making the water too
acidic and therefore had to remove them.
So here is my question: I decided that the best substrate to get is
live sand because the microbes that will live in them will help feed my
crabs and buffer the water. I was told to get live sand that had
calcium carbonate in it and dolomite.
<I'd skip this last... too hard to keep clean, not as water
soluble... for what you're hoping to do/keep>
I went to Home Depot and all they had was play sand for sand boxes that
have Silicas and quartz.
<Don't use this>
Where can I buy a bag or two of dolomite or live sand with calcium
<"Fish stores", as in tropicals... pet stores that retail
Would crushed coral be acceptable too even though I don't have any
other animals in the tank?
<Better for this material to be fine. See WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/hshoesys.htm
What companies would you recommend?
Thanks for your info.
white sand bed. Mixed substrate choices,
I will be getting my new tank in a couple of days
6ft(L)x3ft(H)x2.5ft(W). I am planning to use CaribSea Aragamax Sugar
Sized white sand to cover the bottom of the tank. Due to the size I
will need quite a bit of the sand. I wonder if I can first use the
crushed coral in my old tank to cover a little of the bottom and then
top of with the white sand?
<I wouldn't do this... it will all end up mixed together, and I
don't think you'll like the look... and hard to change>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: white sand bed 6/16/11
Bob, thank you for your response. I was reading through the
articles/FAQs on sand beds but I am still not too clear. Some parts of
it says need to use 3 to 4 inch and some FAQs say under 1inch?
<Mmm, well, actually one or the other... That is, better to have
less or more, but not in-between>
What would be the difference? Is it sufficient to just use 1 inch of
the white sand?
<Yes... though functionally, having some area/part of systems as
DSBs is of value>
My system will be mostly FOWLR with some corals.
<Keep reading for now is my advice. Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>
Was using Black Sand a bad idea?
We set up at 125 gallon saltwater aquarium last March (2010). We
opted to use Black Sand over the white (I believe it was the
Carib Sea Tahitian Moon). I have since been told, and have found
others that have had issues with the black sand causing algae out
breaks. This, apparently, is related to an increase in iron in
the water column.
<Mmm, this and a dearth of substrate-provided/augmented
Alkalinity and biomineral addition>
I had similar algae problems with one of my smaller tanks that
had white sand. So, I am not sure what the issue is.
When I checked the chemicals, everything was with in limits. I
didn't however check the phosphate. We did notice, however,
that particles of the sand were actually sticking to the magnet
for the powerhead. I had transferred my best live rock from my
other tank (67g), and bought three other large pieces. We
transferred the fish from the 90g, and the 67g over to the 125g,
after acclimating them (or at least the ones I wanted to keep.)
So, we presently have 1 pajama cardinal, 1 yellow tang (Zebrasoma
family)<genus>, 2 blue green reef chromis, 1 six line
wrasse, 1 Hawaiian flame angel, in addition to the CUC (blue
legs, scarlet reef hermits, and two skunk cleaners, and new
addition of 4 Mexican Turbo snails). We also have some very
thriving red-hammer and frogspawns corals.
<Mmm, these could be a source of trouble. Do read here:
The algae is the very filamentous types. Looks like spinach when
you pull it out.
<And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/grnalgcont7.htm
and the linked files in the series above... till you understand
I have opted to hire an aquarium service to try to resolve
<Mmm, better by far for you to understand what is going on
here... w/ or
w/o their help>
Trying to maintain the 125g by myself is pretty hard, put
hopefully, we can get it back on track. He was thinking that we
MIGHT have to look at siphoning all of the sand out, and putting
in white sand.
<Perhaps... the mat.s mentioned above can be supplied
I probably have 80 or more pounds of live rock. I can't even
pick up the pieces, my husband had to do that. We have double
overflows, going down to custom made sump with two 4" inch
filter socks, then to a bubble chamber, and across a refugium
(which just got thinned out, and is housing an Ocellaris
clownfish on a permanent time out for rough housing a Starry
Blenny - It was my 9 year old's decision to keep the Starry
Blenny, so for now the clown stays in the refugium until the
other tank cycles), and back up through a return pump. I'm
thinking filtration isn't the issue here, but something else.
Oh yes, lighting are T5's, staged for actinics on @ 11; 10K
on at 12, actinics off at 6, and 10K off at 7pm.. If I remember
the program correctly. We also have blue LED moonlights.
Have you heard of black sand causing iron issues?
<Mmm, yes. Do note though that Fe ions are a
macro-element/nutrient, essential in marine systems>
The fish, corals, CUC, and the Ricordea are doing fine. In fact,
all of the mushrooms have multiplied.
I may be repeating myself, I thinking my son's ADHD is
rubbing off on me, but was the black sand a mistake?
<Not necessarily, no>
Should it be replaced, or maybe take a what and see, and get some
more aggressive algae eaters? (or larger quantities of them).
<I'd read for now>
(4 tanks total, yes, I am insane, but I can't get rid of
them. I would feel really guilty if I sold my kids tanks, which
are a 14G & 29G Biocube, while I keep my 29G and the BIG
Thanks in advance!
<Welcome Patty! Do write back re your stance, plans after
reading. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Was using Black Sand a bad idea?
I think I forgot to mention that there is a protein skimmer on
this 125 gallon system, I can't remember the brand, as it
came with the 90 gallon that I have bought in July 2009, along
with the red hammer and frogspawn that were actually growing next
to each other.
<Likely duking it out chemically, physically... Have you read
on WWM re Euphylliid/Caryophylliid compatibility?>
I had dropped the feeding down to twice a week using granules. I
am using Fish & Reef 2. Unfortunately, access to Live Brine
is limited. My LFS closed, and the other one, well, let's
just say he has red slime in his tanks when I walk in. I have
been in there a total of three of four times in three years.
I do have some GFO over the filter socks.
<For removing HPO4? Why?>
Circulation does go through a chiller, so the temperate is
maintained between 73 and 77. The tank does have a wooden top,
where a rectangle was cut for the light fixture. Other fixtures
would have been too close to the water. The back of the stand is
open and approximate 3-4 inches away from the wall. The
circulation with in the tank includes the return pump QuiteOne
2200 gph with 4 nozzle, plus 4 Maxi Jets 1200 (two across the
back, two across the front), and we just added a Seio M1200 for
additional current front to back current.
Reading about the CO2 was interesting, I don't recall seeing
a C02 test kit anywhere locally. I will have to search for one
<Mmm, generally not an issue... is typically easily monitored
as part of pH>
This is where I have to admit that I have not been the best at
doing water changes. But all the tanks have water changes at the
same time. So, I don't understand why this one would have
more algae than the others. It has a DSB just like my
<Oh? In a tied-in sump?>
The cartridges in the RO/DI system are only six months old, and
their is no discoloration on the cartridge. TDS meter shows 0
PPM. I have tested the RO/DI water before and have come up with
.25 ammonia. The LFS did the same thing, and had the same
results. This was when I had my first tank set up. It was then
that we realized that the City had additives in the water, but
the .25 would go down to 0 within two days. My saltwater mixes
overnight using a Mag 7 pump. (Noisy, noisy, noisy, but really
great for mixing).
Back to the algae, we (the kids and I) picked up a Lawnmower
Blenny yesterday, which will hopefully provide some additional
help to get rid of the existing/remaining algae. This is a shot
of the right side of the tank.
<Mmm, really only consume certain types, species of
and my attempt at getting a panoramic shot of the whole tank.
Obviously, the tank is not over stocked. I have yet to add any
additional corals to this tank. Only what I had when I bought the
The mushrooms, have spread on the rock in the center of the left
side of the tank. Really nice Ricordea, and some kind of decided
to take a trip to the other side.
All of my test kits are API, with the exception of my Magnesium,
which is from Red Sea. I really need to contact them for some
large print instructions
<Do look on the Net re... easy to read there>
Thanks for all the help! Still curious about that black sand,
though. But we will take a wait and see. In the meantime, I have
a hunt and seek for a CO2 test kit.
<As long as you have reasonable biomineral content, in
proportion and Alkalinity, from whatever source/s, I would not be
concerned re the substrate choice here. BobF>
Mud Mix Or Sugar Sand/Chaetodon Feeding
Refugium question... What is the best media to put in one.... Fine
sugar sand 3" base or the Miracle Mud, Kent Marine Mud........ or
2" of mud with 1 " sugar sand on top. Do you have any other
suggestions.... Just a fish only Marine tank. Also will the mud leave a
hazy in the water as it seems easy to stir up?
<Personally I prefer Miracle Mud but either will work just fine.
I've used the Miracle Mud in the past and I didn't experience
hazy water, just need to shut the flow off until the residue settles
and you should be fine.>
#2 Black Back Butterfly hard to keep. I see some on utube <You
Tube> and they eat like crazy... all the ones I see in a store
don't eat or look good. How do you get a good one if it is possible
to keep these?
<If there were a top 10 list of best butterflies to keep, the
Chaetodon melannotus would be one of them. You need to ensure the fish
is eating and looks good before buying.>
I know you will probably say they are a hard fish to ship.... So if I
want one do I just keep trying until I get one to live...
<as stated above>
I always ask the fish store to feed them, but they never eat... so I am
just wondering how come I see so many on utube eating??
<That's funny, I did a You Tube search and I only came up with
two videos and neither one showed them eating, basically just tank
If you can find a healthy one eating at the store, then acclimation
should not be too difficult. It's possible the store employee may
have not been feeding foods to
it's liking. Best results acclimating to prepared foods comes from
feeding a variety of frozen foods in small amounts several times daily.
Once they begin eating they will gradually
accept most foods. Read here and the feeding FAQs found in the
Thank you for your help.
Great site, good information even better reply emails....
<Thank you for your kind words. James (Salty Dog)>
Reusing sand and rock from dead system
Good evening and Happy Holidays to all,
<Good morning Rob and thank you!>
I have used the search option many times and have always found the
information I have been looking for, until this time that is.
<Ok, no problem>
I'm sure it has been asked before though.
<Questions like it, yes>
I have a saltwater tank that has died. Basically the light fixture died
and at the time I had no way of fixing or replacing it so all of my
corals and fish were given to someone who could care for them properly.
the time I had no intention of getting the system up and running again
due to cost and my work/school schedule. In the time the water has
about half evaporated raising the specific gravity to around 1.5.
My question is that now that I plan to establish the aquarium again, is
it possible to reuse the rock and sand from the old system?
Since the specific gravity rose so high I did not know if the rock and
sand would absorb the excess salt and leech it back into the new
<No, it will not do this to any appreciable amount. You will have
plenty of time during the initial phases to get the parameters where
they should be>
I understand that all life that was in the sand and rock will most
likely be long dead
<Most yes, but you will be surprised what can, and often does,
survive in extreme conditions>
and the system will need to be seeded with new sand and rock.
<Yes, this will be needed>
Also the system will need to be cycled as if it was a brand new system
before it can be stocked.
<Yes, although you will have some beneficial populations of bacteria
there, and this might take less time than you think>
Am I able to rinse the rock and sand with either salt or fresh water to
be able to utilize it again?
<Yes, perhaps getting the tank as it is to the correct temp &
salinity and going through a curing process as if you are curing live
rock. Search on WWM re, and test regularly for nitrate/ phosphate.
Utilise water changes, skim, run carbon, perhaps some iron based media
if required. When all seems good, add your new live rock &
Currently there is approximately one inch of sand in the system and I
add at least three more inches to make a deep sand bed.
<You could recure the system, temporarily remove most of the sand
after, lay the new on the bottom with the old back on top all in one go
here. Then seed with new live sand after>
Thank you and your entire crew for all you have done to further the
Without your excellent site I would have made many mistakes over the
<Heee! Ive made many mistakes myself even WITH such direction! Such
is life Simon>
Lake sand safe? - FW Lake sand for SWS Aquarium - No.
I have a quick question. I've been searching for literally hours to
find an answer and I am lost!
<Lets see if we can find you.>
I would like to know if it's safe to use sand from Lake Erie for a
new 300 gal salt water tank?
Of course I would filter it and rise it first, even bleach it or what
ever would be needed. I'm not in a huge rush(not that you can be in
this hobby!) I just can't seem to find what minerals are in lake
<They are mostly silica based sands and would likely become too
compacted for use as a deep sand bed. It is also very likely that any
sand on your local beach is contaminated with fuel, pesticides, and
other things that will not readily wash off >
I want to do a deep sand bed in this tank as well and I wasn't
really keen on the idea of spending thousands on sand and then again on
<Do check around with local fish stores, many times, you can get
discounts on bulk orders of sand.>
I already have several other tanks I can seed the new tank with I just
want to make sure there wouldn't be anything harmful in the short
or long term.
I know play sand is quartz/silica and that would cause problems with
the balance in the tank wouldn't it?
<It compacts, defeating the purpose of a deep sand bed. It will also
leech silicates into the tank, causing a massive diatom bloom.>
It just seems so convenient since I am only a few block away from
<For what it is worth, I live a mile from the Atlantic and I
can't use sand from my beach either, mostly for the same
As always thanks again for all your help!
Re: Lake sand safe? - FW Lake sand for SW Aquarium - No.
Thanks for the quick reply! We also have a ton of Limestone here. Would
it be possible to use pure Limestone sand?
<As long as it was washed and soaked, most certainly.>
I'll be having some coral in the tank and maybe put in some
Halimeda to help absorb the additional calcium carbonate if that's
<Calcium in carbonate form isn't readily available for use by
corals. It does, however, act as an excellent buffer.>
Do you know what's the major difference between Aragonite sand and
Limestone sand's calcium carbonate makeup?
<Regular limestone usually has more calcite, which is another form
of calcium carbonate. Chemically, they are identical.>
1 ton of Limestone sand is only $20!! If that's usable that would
be kind of nice!
<It is usable, again, just make sure it is washed well before adding
Sugar Fine Sand Blowing Everywhere/Water Flow
Greetings WWM crew and once again thanks for listening.
I have created a somewhat "unique" situation and would really
appreciate some advice. I have been cycling a Red Sea Max 250L (66G)
with the requisite amount of live rock for 4 weeks now, all going well.
I had planned to go with a shallow sand bed and had purchased some
sugar fine sand for this purpose. In my research I had come across a
couple of recommendations to delay adding the sand, this would
discoloration of the sand due to algal blooms during cycling.
<I would have added the sand and minimized the photoperiod during
Was the live rock cured?>
So I did not add the sand until this past weekend, enough to provide a
depth of 1.5- 2.0". As you
can well imagine the sand really clouded up the tank and the fine
partculates has covered the rock, etc., etc.
<Did you wash/clean the sand before placing?>
This in itself is not that much of an issue as it will clear with time,
the larger problem is that the stronger powerhead
<What is the gph of this "stronger powerhead"?>
in this tank is blowing this fine sand around to the point that on the
left-hand side of the tank the bottom stays bare, and the fine sand
will not stay in position at all in many areas. So what to do now? It
is clear that I would need a substrate with larger particle size to
avoid it being "pushed" around so much.
I was thinking of removing 50% of the sugar-fine sand and adding some
coarser material.......does that sound right and what would you
<Would have helped to know your total flow rate, but I'd try
directing the power head slightly
toward the surface and see if that doesn't calm things down. This
is a common problem using standard
laminar flow power heads where the flow is one directional. A better
way to go would be with a
random flow or propeller type powerhead where the water is discharged
at a much higher angle, both horizontal and vertical and offers
infinite adjustment of the return. The Tunze Nano Stream 6015 would be
a good choice for your system. Take a look here.
Another option would be to install a mini ball valve on your present
power head similar to the one shown here.
This will allow you to adjust the flow to a point where sand isn't
being kicked up.>
Also do you think I should be switching my plan to a deep sand bed
<Is up to you, but deep sand beds will require plenty of micro fauna
keep it clean.
Have a read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm>
I thought I would go with a shallow bed for cosmetic purposes and
siphon/clean it regularly but now I am questioning my whole plan, your
thoughts there would be appreciated.
<I'd keep what you have, much easier to maintain, but that's
just my opinion.>
Also do you think this whole episode with the sandstorm will mess up
the cycling ?
I am not new to this hobby and thought I had pretty much come across
most problems until I created yet another one --- should have known
better. Thanks for your help as always it is very much appreciated.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Marble as a Substrate 6/15/10
I have heard many different opinions on substrate for fish only
saltwater aquariums. I was sold a 1.5mm marble sand. Is this suitable
<It is suitable. Bob has a great article about substrates,
mentioning marble here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm
The retailer I bought it from uses it in their saltwater fish only
tanks, but other more reputable dealers have said don't use it.
<Aragonite is the best choice. Maybe they want you to use that? It
Who is right and what should I do? I am in the initial stages of
setting up a saltwater tank. My tank is 120 x 16 x 20, approx 220
<The store you purchased the sand from was right, it is suitable for
a marine FOWLR. The other store is wrong in saying not to use it. A
better statement for them would be, you can use the marble sand, but
aragonite sand will buffer your pH more. Like always, just keep an eye
on your pH. Add buffers if it drops.>
Please help! I have been sold two other lots of totally unsuitable
substrate, have wasted more than 500 litres of water already, cleaned
my tank twice, and I am ready to toss the tank!!
<If you want to avoid this same situation happening again and again
I'd recommend reading before you buy. Sadly, retailers don't
always have up to date information.>
Many thanks, Dee Barile
<Hope this helps, Scott T.>
Oolitic Aragonite 4/16/10
I am not sure if I am addressing my query to the correct email address
but I had Anthony Calfo in mind.
<No longer with us.>
My son is building an institutional marine tank in Pennsylvania and he
asks where is there in Pennsylvania a good source to purchase live rock
This would be a mail order.
<Might try Premium Aquatics located in Indiana. They are reasonable.
Do you also know of a cheap source of dry oolitic aragonite sand the
size of sugar?
<Try same site, may want to Google.>
<Cheers, James (Salty Dog)>
Oolitic Aragonite 4/16/10
Thank you James, I appreciate your quick response and will do what you
<Yes, do take a look. They are good people to work with, shop there
all the time.
James (Salty Dog)>
Reptile calcium carbonate sand in a reef tank.
<Hi there Will>
Just a quick question. I am building a small pico reef tank, I was
wondering if reptile calcium carbonate sand (like this
tid=6502> &pcatid=6502) was safe to use in a reef tank?
<Mmm, likely so... the ad states this product is "100%
CaCO3"... but, there are a few "types" of calcium
carbonate... some more soluble, shaped, sized that are of more
I have been looking for black sand, and have only been able to find
large overpriced bags of black sand that are labeled for marine tanks.
And I only need about 5 pounds to cover the bottom of the tank.
Tanks for any help,
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm
and the linked files above where you lead yourself. I would be
selecting a finer, Aragonitic/coral sand myself. Bob Fenner>
Live sand... SW substrate sel.
Hi - I have a pretty simple question for u
marine geniuses but believe it or not its confusing to me. I just put
down a 4" inch bed of oolitic size aragonite sand in my new marine
tank. I'm wondering if the water circulation is going to blow this
sand all over the place. Should I add a 1/4" layer of 1-2 mm sand
on top of the oolitic sand.
I'm trying to encourage small crustacean life for pipefish and
<Much depends on the orientation of the discharges of your
circulating mechanisms (pumps, powerheads...). I'd wait and
Will the oolitic sand be just fine as far as water flow is concerned? I
like the look of the finer sand but I was wondering what your
experience has been regarding this matter.
Thank you very much!
<Please learn to/use a spellchecker.... Again, I wouldn't mix
other substrate on top (it won't stay there anyway). Bob
Re: live sand, subst. sel. f' 9/13/09
Thank you for your reply. I do apologize for the grammar, or lack there
I'm going to add another inch of the oolitic sand ( 5 inches total
) and be done with it. It seems that my best bet would be to aim all
powerheads in an upward manner and toward each other. Does this sound
<It does to me! Would also like to mention that such fine sand does
generally "settle down" with time, soaking. BobF>
re: live sand
Thank you Bob. Have a great weekend!
<And you Sal. B>
Substrate Follow-Up Questions 8/26/2009
Bob recently gave me some great advice on using hyposalinity to battle
ich. The 6 week treatment period ends this week and I'll be
gradually raising the salinity back to normal over the course of the
following week. So far, all fish except one are doing great. My mystery
wrasse disappeared the day after I emailed Bob about it. Turned up dead
on the bottom a few weeks later. He looked good, except for the dead
part, so it had to be the hyposalinity. We were sad, but I was happy to
see that everyone else adapted beautifully.
I had been keeping my sand bed at around 2" for the wrasse.
<Not deep enough for this purpose>
But as I learned from a previous response from Sara M., that depth is
more trouble than it's worth. So, without the wrasse, I'm
debating whether to go shallow (< 1/2") or to go with a DSB
<I'd go the latter route myself>
I was intrigued by some FAQs answered by EricR which indicated that he
has maintained sand beds of varying depths without vacuuming, but there
wasn't much information on what he did to avoid it, since most
other advice recommends vacuuming.
Just to recap, I have a 220g FOWLER with fuge, 300lbs LR and AquaC
EV-240 skimmer. I'm in the process of installing an Ozotech 300mg
Circulation in the display is about 6000gph, including the overflow
returns and four Koralia 4's. I do 10% water changes weekly.
My current and planned fish include B/Fs, Dwarf Angels, Tangs, a pair
of clowns and a variety of predators (Dwarf Lion, Comet, Blue-Spot
Puffer, Longnose Hawk).
Sara previously gave me some great pointers on going to a DSB (i.e.,
sugar fine sand, well populated with critters from seeder kits, good
circulation, Nassarius and Cerith snails, possibly a fighting
We didn't specifically talk about vacuuming, and I couldn't
find anything in Shimek's works that addressed it. What else might
help to avoid or minimize the need for vacuuming?
<Mmm, there are a few things, approaches. Read here:
and the linked files above...>
Would some cucumbers be good?
Is my 6000gph circulation sufficient?
Do I need to evict the Lion because he's a messy eater with a lot
My puffer likes to eat snails, so are the Nassarius and Cerith
"necessary" to avoid vacuuming?
<Again, not necessarily>
If so, I might choose to evict the puffer. Alternatively, would a big
wrasse like a Coris gaimard help to avoid vacuuming by stirring the
sand up in the absence of the snails, or would it just make matters
worse by eating critters in the sand?
<A bit of both... the real world/universe is not so
I hadn't noticed the Lion or the Comet eating Nassarius and Cerith
snails, but could that be a risk as they get older?
Since my current gravel is "medium" sized, should I replace
it or just gradually mix in new sugar fine (along with some seeder
<Up to you... read on...>
Lastly, both of the local fish stores in the area that seem to have
knowledgeable staff strongly advice against DSBs in the main tank,
because they've had so many cases where DSBs have become a
<I prefer in many cases to remote them/DSBs to sumps, refugiums and
That could be just because the DSBs were set-up incorrectly or not well
populated, but are there any other risk factors that I should consider
to avoid any future DSB problems in the main tank?
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM>
If I go shallow, obviously I'd skip the Coris. And there's no
apparent need to change grain size. What else might help to avoid or
minimize the need for vacuuming a shallow bed? Is my 6000gph
<... is this repetitious or what?>
I'm assuming that at less than 1/2" I wouldn't be able to
use Nassarius or Cerith snails anyway, so I could keep the puffer,
Assuming that either depth could be made to work without vacuuming,
which would be your recommendation? Note that I've never had an
issue with nitrates with my setup, and the fuge likely provides enough
critter food for my fish, so it really is mostly about long term ease
of maintenance with minimal risk of future problems.
As always, thanks for the great advice.
<Keep reading. BobF>
Re Shelf Life For Mineral Mud/Substrates/Live Sand... now
set up, maint. of same 8/6/09
Thank you, very much, for answering my question.
I had read the article by the way.
Now, if I may ask another. In the article it says to stir your
substrate and it also warns about packing from too much disparity in
substrate granule size. I plan on fabricating (adding two Lexan
dividers to a 29 gal tank) a three section refugium and using the mix
of live sand, sugar fine sand and mineral mud to create a DSB of 10 to
12 cm in the middle and largest section. Will the mix of substrates
cause any issues,
<They should be uniform in size otherwise the smaller particles will
find their way to the bottom.>
will I need to stir it (I have read on your site that you shouldn't
stir DSBs) and would a DSB of live sand (aragonite) <1mm be
beneficial in the main tank? If the DSB in the main is not overly
beneficial, how deep
should the substrate be? Leng Sy recommends <1 in. Is it, really,
dangerous to go deeper, say 2 to 3 inches?
<Would be best to read here and related articles/FAQ's.
As far as livestock goes, I only have a Maroon Clown, Yellow Watchman
Goby, Firefish, Starry Blenny, green BTA, 2 or 3 Peppermint Shrimp
(only been seeing 2 lately), 4 Turbos, 6 to 8 Cerith, 6 to 8 Nassarius,
about two dozen Blue Leg Hermits and I don't plan on adding
anything but corals once everything is up and running well.
I know that was more than one question but it seems, for every question
I find, or am given, the answer to, several more arise.
<Yes, and is best to search our site first before writing, as
answers to your questions will usually be found here.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Live rock under the sand 5/10/09
I am step by step finally doing things the "right" way with
my reef tank.
Obviously its been a very educational, time consuming and expensive
road but its fun too and that makes it all worthwhile.
<We are in agreement>
Anyway, with my 125 long, I have graduated to the 5" DSB and plan
on another inch I think.
I had a 3 inch bed for a year and have been dealing with quite a bit of
Cyano lately despite my as prescribed 2 water changes a week of 5% a
I have a 30 gallon refugium with a 4" DSB and have bumped that up
to about 7 now. Also I have a Euro Reef skimmer in the sump. Since I
added these couple extra inches of sugar grain aragonite a few days
ago, already I see a decline in the BGA.
It was an additional 90 lbs of sand. I have another 90 lbs on standby
but I m not sure I want to add any more. It would be nice to leave some
room for the fish to swim. I also have about 180 lbs of live rock in
there. So you know.
<Mmm, I might suggest (so I'm doing so) that you look into other
avenues to limit BGA... have you considered measuring RedOx, perhaps
I was wondering for the future, (thinking bigger tank down the road),
can I bury some of my live rock under the sand and would it still be
beneficial as a biological filter? Or would the buried part die
<Mostly die off... for the surface area, desires you may have
(denitrification) the same volume of fine sand would be of more
I just thought it would create more swimming room to have some rock
under the sand being the sand bed is on the rise. Or would the sand bed
rise all the more due to displacement?
I think if a person wanted to have a 6-8" DSB as is regarded as a
good way to go, and wanted adequate room for the fish to swim, I think
a 6' 180 gallon would be better suited.
<Mmmm, yeah... I'm a bigger fan of remoting such purposeful beds
to remoted/tied-in sumps/refugiums myself>
Obviously bigger is better, I just hate to short-change swimming room
for the sake of denitrification.
I never would have guesses getting into this hobby that I would have
needed that deep of a bed.
<Strictly speaking, you don't>
I know I could go with a sand-free bottom, but really, that's
hardly realistic. Have you ever seen an ocean floor with a glass
<Not yet, no>
Not to mention that would call for extra denitrification measures
I'm not up for.
<As alluded to above... there are other means of
"fighting" nitrate et al.
metabolite accumulation, its deleterious effects (e.g.
I have moved all of my rubble rock from my Chaetomorpha part of the
fuge and put it into my skimmer area as well as the main return pump
area of the sump I wanted to free up more space for the Chaetomorpha
due to the increased DSB in that area. I have a foam sponge block over
the return pump to catch any fragments from the rubble rock, but not on
the skimmer pump because it is supposed to get raw unfiltered water.
<Ehh! Not necessarily... I encourage you to get/use a couple of
"socks" (Emperor Aquatics' are superior) to fit over the
return/s going into the sump instead... and be religious re their
mechanical cleaning (every few days let's say, rinsing it out,
replacing with t'other)>
Is this new arrangement of
rubble rock ok or will this be a problem?
<I wouldn't do it personally>
I have lots and lots of teeny tiny amphipods scurrying all over the
floor of the sand bed in the Chaeto area, so that's good. I also
saw a "school" of them in my display proper on some rubble
rock up against the glass. I'm just bragging now, but it's
largely due to all of your peoples' help over the years.
<Mmm, no... tis to your credit>
One last thing, one of my cleaner shrimp has crawled over my overflow
and into the whatchacallit. He's down in there crawling up and down
the wall hanging out with the Nassarius snails that like to go in and
out of there because they can. I'm assuming my shrimp will be just
fine in there, it seems there's always something to scavenge on but
will I need to rescue him or will he eventually walk back up and out of
I'll stick my hand in there and he'll approach but backs off if
I make a move to grab him.
Thanks for the input, always helpful.
<Again, please do skim, review on WWM re... BGA control, Nitrates
and Phosphates... and O3 use... Nirvana is just a step away (forward,
backward or to the side) here. Bob Fenner>
Very Coarse Substrate
<Stocking Level/Systems> 4/15/09
<Really, having a bad day?>
I just set up my 29 gallon BioCube and have a dwarf Hawkfish.
<Mmm, I'm guessing a Falco Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys
I plan on adding a valentini puffer and a yellow fuzzy dwarf lionfish.
Right now I have 20 pounds of coarse substrate..broken shells and what
not. After searching and reading for hours I've come to the
conclusion that this substrate is horribly wrong considering the messy
eaters I will be housing in my tank.
<Yes, and so is your tank size horribly wrong for these type of
I plan on putting 3 inch sand bed in place of the crushed shells.
Couple questions concerning this.
Is it nesesary <necessary> taking out the crushed shells or can I
<I> add the sand on top of the crushed shells? I personally
don't think it would be a problem just adding the sand on top of
the shells. Just looking for some more avice <advice>.
<Is best to go with the same particle size, you likely will have
compacting issues. See here.
Also with the deep sand bed, what would you suggest I <I> use to
shift the sand?
<Shift or sift?>
I was thinking a cucumber of some sort but not sure? Some say snails
but I know that my puffer would eat em all up.
<Shouldn't, because the puffer should not be in that size tank,
and is better to keep puffers in dedicated tanks.>
What other options do I have for substrate shifting creatures?
<None, with a puffer, but do look here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Aragonite 3/9/9 Hi Guys <Hello Nemos
janitor.> Hope you guys can help me find the answers I am looking
for. But before we go there I must first add that I have in excess of
15 years reef keeping experience with about a total of 45 years in the
fish keeping hobby. Just a little background so you understand my
experience. My questions to the team are. How do I determine what
products have or are Aragonite? <#1 Thats simple: Ask the producer.
#2 Find out where the material comes from, what it is in terms of
origin: older carbonate fossil materials are mostly calcite, younger
materials (corals, shells) and younger precipitated rocks
("Tufa") are mostly aragonite. #3 More detailed analysis
requires some knowledge in mineralogy, the crystals are quite typical,
but youd need thin sections, a good microscope, some experience to be
sure. #4 In addition, calcite has a smaller density (<2,8 t/mÂ³),
so if you can determine the exact (!) density (+- 0,05 t/mÂ³) youll
also be able to determine, which mineral you have in front of you.>
Now I have done a little research on the subject and without going into
detail have ascertained the following in simplified terms. 1) Aragonite
is calcium carbonate (CaCO3) as is Calcite and they are polymorphs.
<Yes.> 2) Aragonite will over time become Calcite. (Q for another
date. Is there an in-betweens stage?) <Yes, in geological times of
thousands, millions, 100s of millions of years. There are animals that
can produce both minerals in their shells, geological units where only
a part of the aragonite has turned into calcite, but the crystals
themselves are either orthorhombic or trigonal.> 3) Aragonite has a
Orthorhombic structure and calcite and Trigonal Structure. <Yes.>
4) The structure basically determines the hardness of the calcium
carbonate or for its ability to increase the calcium content into the
water chemistry at a reasonably high PH. <Yes, structure somewhat
determines solubility, but solubility of both minerals is quite
similar.> Is my understanding correct so far? <Yes.> I can go
on providing cert's of various Calcium carbonate products mined
throughout the world. All are meaningless to the layman/average reefer.
Me included. Hence my inquisitiveness. From these Chemical analysis
sheets how does one determine what is suitable for aquarium use. Most
probably both. <It cannot be determined from analysis sheets alone
in every case, only if the density is given.> But which are
aragonite? If any. <Likely both below are calcite.> I submit 2
arbitrary Cert's for your consideration. Comments on if you were an
aquarist what to look for. 1)
<No density given.> 2) The product here is The Juraperle. You
will find it under downloads. http://www.eduard-merkle.de/ <This is
calcite, I know the geology of the quarries of this company. They also
give the density which confirms this is calcite.> There may well be
articles covering the subject and I apologise intruding and taking your
time. Please point me in the right direction. Your input would be
appreciated. Many thanks Nemo's Janitor. <For use as aquarium
substrate Id simply prefer (oolithic) younger aragonite sands due to
their surface structure. For use in Calcium reactors it does not matter
if the material is calcite or aragonite. Their solubility is quite
similar (solubility of aragonite is larger), the surface structure will
be much more important here, too. The more porous the medium is, the
larger the surface, the better the kinetics of the solution process. A
simple look at the grains will be more helpful than an analysis if this
is Aragonite or Calcite. Cheers, Marco.><<Dang!
Crazy Substrate? SW sel., mixing 02/28/09 Hi there,
I am new to saltwater and have a 29 gallon bowfront (glass) about 4
months old. It has been 5 weeks since adding 18-20 pounds of
"fresh" (day after arriving at the LFS) Indonesian live rock
and 20 pounds of Nature's Ocean black live sand. I want it to
become a reef tank slowly, as my budget allows. I am planning to
breakdown the tank this weekend as I will be adding a 27 gallon sump
and will be drilling an 1-1/2" hole for the overflow (Quiet One
4000 return pump, via a SCWD, outlets split to each side of the tank).
I'm reluctant to tear the tank down right after cycling, but
figured the added sump would make it worthwhile. By the way, the
overflow will be piped through the wall into the garage, where the sump
will sit directly on the other side of the wall with about 1 foot of
head height, thus removing the noisy CPR backpack skimmer from my
living room and making the wife a happy camper all at the same time.=)
<Good idea> The wife and I were considering a change of scenery
regarding the sand. We were on the fence regarding the look of the
black sand, as it was not as black as expected, and figured this would
be the time to change if we were so inclined. When we got to the LFS
things got crazy. They suggested the Nature's Ocean Reef Substrate
noting that it was great for copepods and such. So the gears in our
heads started turning and the wife and I thought if would look really
cool to mix the two substrates, going for a totally different (and
possibly more natural?) <For some areas...> look, so we bought a
20 pound bag. Oops, forgot to research your website before buying!
I'm hoping that the fine sand will help keep detritus above the
substrate while the larger particles help with copepods, etc.
(eventually I'd like to have a mandarin dragonet). Is this crazy
talk? <Mmm, no... not in this day/age> It seems like you guys are
decidedly against the larger sized particles. I'm not really
interested in a DSB because of the limited size of the tank and water
volume, so would this choice just be a matter of preference as long as
I keep it limited to about 1" deep? Or am I really looking for big
problems? <Everyone with substrate of any sort has degrees of
DSBs... any mix of substrate types, sizes, depths can be used, given
some attention to ongoing maintenance/operation> By the way, do you
have any opinions on the appearance of mixing the Nature's Ocean
Black Live Sand with the Nature's Ocean Reef Substrate (assuming it
was an acceptable decision)? Or maybe mix the black sand with an
Australian gold or pink sand would be a better choice? <I think most
any mix can be made to work... has some aesthetic value> Have you
seen this done? <Yes> Also, I was really hoping to put a pair of
yellow striped Premnas <This tank is too small> (small and paired
from the LFS) in the tank with the Mandarin, being that I intend to
start a 240 gallon tank with the year if all goes well, which I could
transfer them to. But after doing lots of research on your site it
looks like I'm stuck with my distant second choice- a pair of
Ocellaris? <Maybe> Thanks for your time! The advice on your site
has been invaluable. Jason, San Diego <Oh! Nice weather here today.
Smallest Recommended Sand Grade? 02/07/09 Hi,
<<Hello>> I was researching for sand for a Nano project and
I came to this online dealer I trust since Ive bought many stuff from
him. <<Okay>> I had always believed that the best sand for
a reef tank was sugar size sand, it looks good, it reflects the light
very well, and it does not trap detritus as much as coarser sand. Or
thats what I had understood. <<I am in agreementthough the
coarser grades can be of use in situations where very high water flow
moves the smaller sand grains around too much>> This dealer sells
sugar size aragonite, he calls it #1 size, yet hes got a #0 particle
size. I asked what it was and he says its aragonite salt sized
particles. <<?>> Smaller sand particle than sugar size I
had never heard before. <<There are no doubt smaller
particles/grains (as evidenced when you rinse the sugar-sized sand)but
I did not know such was available graded and in quantity>> I
wonder if its better or worst than sugar size, and what problems or
benefits would it have? Hopefully you know something about it.
<<The smaller grain size may prove troublesome re keeping it out
of suspension or just moving around too much, but also may prove more
soluble for contributing to alkaline and bio-mineral content. Its worth
giving a try if you want, though I think it might be more suitable to a
low flow mud refugium>> Thank you. <<Happy to share.
Grading and Rinsing Oolitic Sand... (or not)? ~
01/09/09 Greetings WWM Crew, <<Hello Brian>> Thank
you so much for your fine work! <<Ah, quite welcomea
collaborative effort>> I've been reading over your many
archives for a year, slowly acquiring gear (as I can afford) in
anticipation of setting up a FOWLR, eventually (hopefully) reef system.
<<Mmm, yes The planning and anticipation, indeed the *shopping*,
is a time of much enjoyment. At least it was/is for me>> My
confusion, if you'd be so kind to entertain a question and comment
re, <<Certainly>> concerns the necessity (or desirability)
of rinsing Oolitic DSB substrates. <<Ah>> Advice and
opinion on this seems to go from yes to no. <<Indeed And valid
arguments to both. But my choice based on my experience re is to rinse
rinse a lot>> As background, given my fiscal constraints and the
high cost (for 5-6 inch, main tank DSB in a 300G system) of
"branded" packaged Oolitic/Aragonite, <<Hee-hee!
Indeed! I have a 375g reef display with a DSB consisting of about 1,200
lbs of sugar-fine Aragonite, with another 300 lbs in a refugium. Lucky
for me at the time, I was able to obtain 50 lb bags of Aragonite *play*
sand for about $7.00 a bag versus the approximately $1.00 per pound for
the, as you say, *branded* variety>>. finding discontinued
availability of Southdown and Yardright, <<Mmm, yes A huge loss
to the hobby, or rather, the hobbyist>> I spent several months
doing some serious "snooping" around in search of cheaper
Oolitic sand alternatives. <<Do tell!>> After considerable
time spent on intelligence gathering, I located a source of Oolitic
sand reportedly mined offshore of, I believe, the Bahamas. <<And
very likely the same source for the previously mentioned and now
defunct play-sand brands>> So, I hopped in the truck armed with a
cup and a bottle of vinegar. I was surprised and pleased to find a
300-400 ton pile of clean Oolitic sand which, when tested, bubbled
nicely in vinegar. <<Excellent>> I purchased (legally)
1300lbs (what the truck could hold) for $18 dollars (US). <<Wow!
A superb deal for sure!>> This sand, however, is not
"graded". <<? I would not expect it to be a
*consistent* grade. But if true Oolitic it should all still be very
small/fine. But even if not so/if it contains some larger grains it
should still work fine as is>> Upon return home, I devised two
sieve drum-screens (for lack of better term) and spent the next
two-weeks-of-nights manually rotating the drums, sifting the sand.
<<Yikes A lot of work. And probably unnecessary>> I ended
up with approximately 700lbs of fine sand (.00? to .75mm), 350lbs of
medium (.75 to 1.5mm) and 250lbs of coarse sand (1.5mm to 3mm).
<<Ah As alluded, this would all have been fine combined as
obtained>> I want to achieve 15 to 20x circulation via use of an
OM 4-way and closed-loop manifold. So, to get an idea of potential
clouding problems I tested the finest-grade sand, placing about 1/2 cup
into a quart of H20. As expected, the "fines" (particles
barely visible to naked eye) in the sand totally clouded the water.
<<Yep>> Sitting undisturbed in the jar, the cloudiness took
24+ hours to become crystal clear. <<Uh-huh>> Slight
movement of the jar and plume trails rise off the sand surface.
<<Yep>> My question, actually questions, is as follows: 1.
Is it necessary or desirable to rinse this sand (especially the fine
grade) prior to placement? <<Maybe not necessary, but I would/do
With water movement, and unless filtered out by your equipment, these
fine particles can really cloud the water for days. I also really dont
like the mess these *fines* make of the system/dÃ©cor/equipment/et
al., and though some argue the fines can/will do much towards boosting
alkaline/bio-mineral content, I find what is left after washing these
away also does this just, er fine>> My plan is to place LFS-cured
LR first, sand second so as to stabilize the rock work and then seed
with live sand. <<A fine plan And one you will enjoy more if you
first rinse the sand to prevent the live rock from being coated by the
fines (yeah you can blow these off but then your water is all cloudy
again>>>> I've read in various forums, including Dr.
Shimek's work, that it is "desirable" to keep the
"fines" (as in "mud") <<No argument, but
better in a refugium with a lower flow rate than in the display in my
opinion... Unless the display is a biotope geared towards such>>
...but the problem of clouding would, I presume, potentially continue
indefinitely with DSB critter disturbance and given 15-20x desired
circulation. <<Not indefinitely, as these very tiny particles
will *eventually* settle out in your sump/places of low flow and also
be removed by your skimmer, with time>> 2. Would it be advisable
to layer...place the .00? to .75mm to a depth of 3-4 inches and then
place another 1-2 inches of the .75 to 1.5mm on top of that to perhaps
reduce clouding until the super-fines (.00? to .05) dissolve or
amalgamate? <<You can And though it may make some small
difference it wont be much I think. But it also wont hurt to give it a
try>> 3. Can or should I use the larger grade (1.5 to 3mm) for
anything?...perhaps in some configuration (maybe separated horizontal
layers or vertical "walls") in the refugium for POD
production? <<This too you can do Though I would just mix it all
together and use as is>> Can the larger grade potentially be used
in a calcium reactor? <<Indeed it can>> 4. Have I wasted my
time separating grades? <<[grin] I would not have bothered with
such>> Could or should I have used this sand "as is"
with the various particle sizes naturally all mixed up? <<Indeed
you could have/can do>> Any opinions or guidance you might
provide would be very much appreciated. <<You can go either way
And I think this is also a bigger *deal* when adding sand to an
established system as opposed to new But though it takes a lot of work
*I* would definitely rinse the sand of the fines before use And with
the volumes/ratios you listed, I would also not be concerned with
separation of the particle sizes>> Warmest Regards, Brian
<<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>
Re: Grading and Rinsing Oolitic sand... (or not)? ~
01/10/09 Thank you so much, Eric. <<Quite welcome,
Brian>> I really appreciate your input. <<Is my
pleasure>> Of course, I wish I'd have contacted you, received
your thoughts, prior to all of that sifting <<Hee-hee! Thought
that too, while I was writing my reply>>>> ...considerable
toil, but a work of some enjoyment as directed towards the "end
game". <<Indeed And the exercise is a good thing too>>
After reading your comment about Oolitic, "But if true Oolitic it
should all still be very small/fine", <<Yes Oolitic sand
grains are generally smaller than 2mm. Larger grains would be defined
as Pisolitic>>>> I look at my sand with new interest in
further exploring the geologic and, perhaps, chemical formation
process. The grains of this particular sand, regardless of whether
looking at the fine, mid or coarse grades as I've separated them,
are all egg-shaped <<Excellent And is as suggested by the name
(The name derives from the Hellenic word Ã²oion for egg.
[Wikipedia])>> ...smooth and roundish, white to light cream in
color. All grades bubble vigorously in vinegar. I am wondering if, when
mined from shoals, such material comes from the bottom in such mixed
grades (would seem naturally so) <<Indeed>> and then is
later "refined" for such markets served, previously, by the
Southdown and Old Castle (Yardright) aggregate corporations as play
sand? <<Yes And for such hobby vendors as CaribSea no doubt, but
with a very considerable markup to us/consumers. Luckily I have a few
bags of Old Castle Im hoarding>> Would seem that I stumbled upon
a pile no longer mined for such markets, but intended for an entirely
different purpose. <<Very probably this *pile* is intended for
construction use (fill) or concrete manufacturing (have you ever heard
the terms *soft* sand and *sharp* sand used in reference to mixing a
batch of concrete?)>> It would also seem that this sand has
received some cleaning or heated refining...it is clean and no apparent
salt (to taste). <<Likely just washed>> While I was there
loading my truck, large dump trucks were hauling full loads of this
sand to the pay-scales. Through discussions with the source-pile,
vending-attendant I discovered that this Oolitic sand is an additive
used by a regional, industrial power provider for combustion during a
power (electricity) generation process. <<Oh?>> It would
seem that they're using the calcium carbonate additive in
combustion chambers to reduce emissions as part of what I'm
guessing is a "clean coal" burning process. Pretty
interesting tidbit, I think. <<Agreed And if I might speculate,
this may well explain the disappearance of this sand from the play-sand
market (as in there is more profit to be made by not having to package,
and selling in bulk to the industrial electrical concerns for this
new(?) purpose)>> Again, thank you very much...both for your time
and response. Best Regards, Brian. <<Always welcome mate. Eric
Possible Gas Build-up in Substrate 12/19/08
Hi WWM Crew: <Bonnie> I have a 29 gallon reef tank with 4 inches
of GARF grunge for substrate. <Mmm, not a fan... search WWM re... is
just "some old guy with a hammer and old/bad live
rock"...> I have 25lbs of live rock. I've had the GARF
grunge for about 1 year now. <Is getting old... started as such>
All the corals in the tank were growing in leaps and bounds this past
year. So much so, that I've propagated many times my xenia and
frogspawn and sold them back to my LFS. My crocea clam has grown very
well also. I faithfully do 20% water changes every weekend, and have
for the 3 years I've had this tank up and running. <Good!> I
haven't changed anything, however, for the past month or so, all
the corals are looking a bit under the weather and none have shown any
signs of growth at all. <I am a fan of adding, switching out some
hard substrate after a year or so of use... particularly in small
systems as this... Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/substrepl.htm
and the linked files above till you get the gist of this suggestion,
rationale> All levels for nitrate, nitrite and ammonia are vert low
or zero. I was wondering if there is a possible build up of toxic gases
from the substrate causing the problem. <Mmm, doubtful... but likely
a loss of ready soluble components (biomineral, alkalinity), a dearth
of biota... all solve-able with the addition/switch out alluded to
above> I never vacuum or stir the substrate. One reason being
I've heard that you're never to vacuum the substrate of a deep
sand bed and I don't stir the substrate either, because this GARF
grunge really yucks up the water and turns it VERY cloudy if you stir
it. Now I'm thinking maybe I should be stirring it from time to
time. What are your thoughts on this? <Posted> I also follow
GARF's bullet proof reef method by adding the Seachem products, and
use Chemi Pure. Thanks for any advice or suggestions you can send my
way. I do have a Remora C protein skimmer on the tank as well. Bonnie
<Do please take the time to read the citation above, the links at
top in turn... Bob Fenner>
Soleichthys heterorhinos... Substrate... commercial
prompting for "muck" 12/15/08 Hello Crew, I
wrote in several days ago about a Soleichthys heterorhinos that I
recently acquired but didn't get a response back, so I'm
assuming the email got lost in the cracks somewhere. <Mmm,
didn't see this email... but did see this delightful flatfish last
month in Indo. Here on Fishbase:
http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?ID=22544> While I
understand that these interesting little fish aren't regularly
traded in the hobby, <Mmm, nope... Have never seen it offered>
what information I've been able to find about them made me think
that they might be an interesting species to try. I do know some of
their requirements for care such as large open areas of sugar fine
substrate, they feed on benthic inverts and small fish, found both in
lagoons and seaward reefs, are more active at night, can reach roughly
18cm, etc. What I don't know, and am asking for your assistance
with is whether or not there are any special care requirements for
these neat little guys (other than getting them to eat initially which
has presented some challenges, but he/she's been starting to eat
more lately)? Any additional information you guys can provide would be
tremendously appreciated. Sincerely, Jeremy Johnson <This gives me
just the impetus I was looking for to write Tony Wagner at CaribSea and
prompt him in turn to suggest adding "muck" to their line of
substrates... Really this is the best for this sort of animal... it
lives under, in most of the time... and consumes animals associated
with it... Needs a large area... not too overlit... Bob Fenner>
Utah Sand 10/24/08 Hi gang, I've recently
written concerning my undulated triggerfish that has been under the
weather lately and was informed that supplying a larger system would
probably alleviate what ails her. <Often enough does so> Well, I
want to do that but money is tight so I'm wondering if it would be
alright to use this oolite sand and rock that we have here in Utah from
the old lake Bonneville. I've heard from some people that they use
it and it looks just as good as the "regular" sand. I'm
wondering if it would be as beneficial as using the store bought stuff.
My plan would be to have about 100lbs of the Utah sand and what I have
in my current tank, about 50 lbs. I'm upgrading from my 30 gallon
to either a 90 or 150, depending on how much cost difference there is.
Thanks, Chris. <I do think this sand is worth trying... have read re
on Wikipedia, elsewhere... is oolitic, mostly calcium carbonate
layered... Perhaps not "as soluble" as more recent
marine-derived substrate, but... not likely a big deal. Bob
newbie question regarding water and substrate
for new tank Taking a Stand on Sand (Wild collected versus
pre-packaged) 09/04/2008 Ok, I'm sure this has been
covered already but couldn't find anything. So I've had my tank
sitting on the stand for about a month now. Wanted to wait till I had
the ideal spot ready for it which required taking down a wall into my
kitchen and will have the tank as a peninsula separating the entry way
and the kitchen. Spent all Labor day weekend doing this and the
electrical. <Sounds like my kind of weekend project! Scott F in
today!> About the tank, it's a 180 G. with a Dolphin 1/3hp Amp
master 4700. Go a trickle filter with a Sealife Systems Impact protein
skimmer. <Good circulation, I see!> So here's the gotcha,
money is really low. I live in Boca Raton, FL. about 15 min.s. from
crystal clear beach. There are small reefs right on the beach. I'm
thinking about going to get my water and sand from the beach during
high tide. I know a lot of you are cringing but I will be far from any
marinas or inlets. <I am cringing, of course.> Anything that I
should consider before I do this? <Yes, actually. First, I am always
hesitant to give a thumbs up to the idea of collecting sand from local
beaches. Not only does it pose some potential pollution/contamination
issues, it can also create problems for the environment. Beach erosion
is a very real problem here in California, and sand becomes a pretty
precious resource after storm events. Sure, the impact of one person is
seemingly minimal, but the cumulative impact of "just a few"
hobbyists collecting from the wild could be significant. It may not
even be legal to take such materials from nature- do check local laws.
The substrate materials that you buy in aquarium stores come from
companies that are collecting such materials are doing it with the
proper licensing, etc., and are collecting from far offshore where the
erosion issue is not a problem. In the end, I would recommend that you
go with the packaged stuff. As an alternative, you could use the
packaged play sand called "Southdown", which is Aragonitic in
nature, and relatively inexpensive, found in home improvement stores.
It's a less expensive alternative to the packaged aquarium
products. Hope this helps. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>
Scott F. if possible Getting to the Bottom of
Things (Substrate Materials) 9/10/08 Is Southdown even
available anywhere? I have looked everywhere and even online with no
luck. Do you have some top secret information? The only sand I have
found locally is made by Quikrete which I know is not suitable.
<Yeah- Quikrete is NOT too good for reefs, huh?> Thanks for your
time this site is wonderful! Sandra <Well, Sandra, I think I
referred to a product no longer available. The product is now known as
"Oldcastle Sand", and can be found at home improvement stores
such as Home Depot, etc. Occasionally, there is a product called
"Yard Rite" which is also a similar product found at these
stores. You really want to rinse this stuff a bit, otherwise the water
will be cloudy for a long time! Do the vinegar test" before using
this stuff, or other non-aquarium sand products. Take a few drops of
vinegar (acetic acid) and dispense into the sand. If it fizzes,
it's calcium carbonate (a good thing!), and is acceptable for use
in aquaria. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>
Oolitic Sand... A Fine Substrate
9/2/08 Hi Bob! <Mich in tonight.> Finally nice to
actually ask you a question. What are your thoughts about using oolitic
sand for a base? <Is fine for most systems.> Do I need to add
other substrates, or will I be ok with this alone? <Can be used
alone or in combination with other substrates, your preference.>
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/livesand.htm Cheers, Mich>Re: Oolitic Sand... A Fine Substrate
<Hi Chuck, Mich here again.> What should or can I
do about the "dust" that clings to the live rock? <You
will find a turkey baster to be a very handy tool for your aquarium.
Eventually the sand will begin to blow less as is begins to amalgamate.
Cheers, Mich> Chuck
Live Sand vs. Aragamax Sugar-Sized Sand, 8/7/08 Hello:
<Hi> When creating a DSB so far what I have read on WWM is
to use 4-6 inches of Aragamax Sugar-Sized Sand. Is this
considered Live Sand? <Usually not, live sand has life in it,
microfauna and flora, which is not present in bagged, dry
bags.> If not when would you use live sand? <I would just
use a little to seed the dead sand.> After all I have read
here and all the questions asked and answered I am planning to
change my 46 gallon tank from 1/2 - 1" crushed coral to 4+
inches of sugar size sand. <Ok> I plan to remove the
crushed coral and add the sand. Or should I mix the 2 together?
<Remove and replace.> Is it necessary or preferred to
remove the live rock to add the new sand? <Is best too.> Is
it ok to lay the live rock on top of the new sand or should I
suspend the live using egg crate or similar. <Egg crate, PVC
framework, or placing on the glass and adding the sand around it
is best. If placing on glass the tank should be empty of water to
prevent a sandstorm.> Thanks for taking the time to read.
Regards, Tom <Welcome> <Chris>
Re: Live Sand vs. Aragamax Sugar-Sized Sand, 8/8/08
Hello: <Hi> Is below the preferred order once I remove my
live rock & crushed coral: Add the 4-6 inch DSB Lay the egg
crate on top of DSB where ever live rock will go Put live rock on
top of egg crate Thanks, Tom <Ideally the egg crate would
extend all the way to the glass to provide support for the rocks,
but as long as it makes a study base that will not move (fill in
the eggcrate with sand) you should be fine.> <Chris>
Will any sand be ok for substrate? 08/04/2008 Hello WWM
thanks for all your help thus far. <<Hello, Andrew today>>
I have a 6' tank that was fish only that has now been changed over
to more of a reef setup with loads of xenia that has increased about
twenty fold in the last five months and a few other corals, colt,
toadstool, hammerhead, and a Condylactis. I wish to replace the
substrate from crushed coral to a very fine sand. Reasons being
aesthetics (I want the substrate to be perfect looking) and to lower
nitrates. I've read on your site that I should do this bit by bit
and not plunk it over the existing substrate. That I should work from
one end across to the other removing existing substrate as I go. My
questions are: 1) How much should I remove at a time? 10" in width
or can I get away with more <<I would do a 1/4 at a time, leave a
couple of weeks in between swap outs to enable life to transfer to the
new sand>> 2) Present depth is about 1.5". Is 2" of the
fine sugar sized sand ok <<Yes, absolutely fine. Just bear in
mind that if you want sand burrowing fish in the future, more like 4
inches or more would be more suited>> 3) Can I use "any
sand". the local supermarket sell a perfect looking fine sand for
child use, it says it has been cleaned but that's it. I don't
know what type of sand it is or what it has been cleaned with. as its
for child use I would assume no bleaches or toxins in in but I am
trying to contact the manufacturer. Does this matter?
<<Personally, I am just a stickler for sand choices and would
only purchase / recommend a proper marine substrate, like CaribSea
sugar grade reef sand>> 4) If its ok should I also buy some live
sand and apply top? any benefits, like speeding up the amount of sand
changed at a time? <<Don't see any real need as life will
transfer from the old sand. If anything, just save a few cup fulls of
the old top thin layer of sandbed, and spread over the new sand to
promote life>> 5) Will fine sand affect my PH or any other
parameters in the tank - buffering ability etc. I am mainly concerned
about my xenia. <<Nope, all shall be fine>> 6) I have heard
that the only negative with sand of this size is the cleaning. I've
never really cleaned my substrate (didn't know I had to at first)
and as a result algae has formed at the bottom. will vacuuming be a
problem or will my critters suffice, sand sifting stars and snails
0.5" hermit crabs? <<Normal sand sifting snails, hermits,
bottom grazers etc will suffice>> Thanks for all you help, Lex
<<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>
Re: will any sand be ok for substrate? 08/07/2008 Thanks for
the fast response Andrew, your comments were most helpful.
<<Always a pleasure, never a chore, Lex>> I know you said
you prefer "proper" marine substrate and frankly so would I,
the only problem being that the only fine grade whit sand I can find is
live from CaribSea and I can only find it in small bags at Â£5.00
each. given the size of my tank this would prove to be very costly as
apposed to the child grade one that is twice as big and under Â£1.00.
If you know or any reasons why I shouldn't use it, please let me
know. <<Ahhhhhh...A UK person, just like myself. In that case,
please do check out this substrate, its what I brought for my last reef
tank.. http://www.atlantisaquatics.co.uk/acatalog/caribsea.html The one
at the bottom of the page. Excellent service and communications from
them, certainly one of my recommended suppliers.>> Thanks again,
Lex <<Thanks for the follow up, please do advise me if you order
from these and let me know your experience with them. Regards and have
a good day. A Nixon>>
Dolomite limestone, use as substrate 07/22/08 My
husband and I are in the process of setting up a 90g tank at home. We
have done some research and are interested in using pulverized
limestone as our sand bed. We can't find it at HD or Lowe's but
we found dolomite limestone at our local garden center. Is this the
same as the pulverized limestone I have seen others mention? <No.
Dolomite is a different mineral in contrast to aragonite and calcite,
the more common carbonate minerals that compose limestone. Dolomite is
less soluble and has a significantly higher concentration of Magnesium.
It also might contain potentially harmful elements it enriched through
its geological history. Especially if you want to keep stony corals, Id
prefer coral sand (also known as crushed coral, aragonite sand), which
might be more expensive, but safe and potentially beneficial for coral
growth and stable water parameters. Unless you know exactly the
composition of this specific dolomite and can determine if it is safe
for aquarium use, I would not use it.> Thanks for your help. Callie.
<Hope that helps. Marco.>
Sand 4/5/08 Hi I have a question regarding DSB's I
currently have two inches of aragonite sand and want to seed it
with live sand, my LFS told me to use pink live sand (not really
pink just called that) which is the type they claim to use on
their tanks which look great. <OK> My only problem with
this is that the sand is shipped like aragonite sand in that it
is dry in a plastic bag. I was wondering if dry live sand is just
a scam or if the microfauna is able to live dry? <There will
be absolutely no seeding benefit from this sand, and for that
matter very little from water packed sand in a bag. The best
thing you can do to seed your system is to talk someone with an
existing tank into a cup of their sand or to simply add live rock
to the system. Regards, Scott V. >
Live Sand 4/7/08 This question is for Scott V. <Hello,
with you.> I Recently asked if dry live sand is at all
reliable as a live sand and upon further research found a company
that sells wet live sand by the pound which is perfect for me
because I only need about 7 pounds to seed my aragonite sand.
They claim that there live sand has lots off little pods, worms
and such but I wanted to ask if these beneficial beasties would
survive the collection/shipping process and make it to my tank.
Thanks and I will try to procure a cup of live sand from an aged
tank! <True wet live sand will be of some benefit, much of the
life in it will survive shipping. Although simply seeding from
another tank or live rock is the easiest and most cost effective.
Welcome, enjoy the new tank, Scott V.>
Re: "New" 55 Gallon Reef Aquarium...
GARF "grunge"... 03/14/2008 Thank you, was
hoping maybe you could respond to some of the questions &
comments I sent GARF as well ? <<Added some comments into
the email text below that you sent to GARF.>>
<<Thanks, hope this helps. A Nixon>> Thanks again !
Re: "New" 55 Gallon Reef Aquarium 03/14/2008 Good
morning, <<Good evening, Andrew today>> Was hoping I
could receive your expert advice once again ? <<Shall
try>> Here is a copy of an e-mail I sent to Geothermal
Aquaculture Research Lab in Boise this AM. I have also included
my prior e-mails to you @ the bottom for reference if needed. One
thing I forgot to ask them is if they & now you think I am on
the right track, is this GARF safe to add w- the existing
livestock or should they or it be quarantined in anyway?
<<I would only acclimatize the hermits / snails>> I
am pretty sure you are familiar w- the product but here is a link
to the site just in case. http://www.garf.org/reefjanitors.html
<<yes, seen this before>> Also I do have concerns
about heat once the new lights are running, I am currently right
@ 80 (assuming the cheap little thermometer in there is
reasonably accurate) I don't know why it would be so high
though, ambient temperature is 70-75, has open back canopy, about
6 inches off wall, piping is matched to pump port size. Trickle
filter I thought helped w- heat dispersion. Current lighting is a
Corallife 65w 50/50, I have an additional 4x65 50/50 Corallife
retro on the way. <<Nothing excessive to cause temp rises.
Devices inside the tank also contribute to tank temp>>
Again, thanks in advance for all you do !! Aidan From: Stuart,
Aidan Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2008 8:09 AM To:
'Leroy@garf.org' Subject: GARF Grunge Good Morning, I
inherited a marine aquarium & am in the process of giving
myself a crash course. 55G, has been set up about 2-1/2 weeks w-
10 gallons of original water & the balance from LFS. Ammonia,
Nitrate & Nitrites all consistently test zero. There is I
would estimate about 30-40 pounds of live rock & about 1-1/2
- 2" of live sand from the original aquarium. Inhabitants:
Sailfin Tang (my LFS will take him, he is small now but since
will outgrow this tank see no reason to keep him) 2 Clowns 1
Anemone (again LFS will take, want coral & have been advised
I shouldn't have this w- coral) 1 Mushroom Coral I would like
to eventually have a nice fish / coral mixture. Current Lighting
is a 65W Corallife 50/50 but I have ordered an additional
retrofit 4x65W Corallife 50/50 which will give me 3 sets of
lights available to have on different timers. 2 50/50 @ 130w
& one 50/50 @ 65w for a total available of 325. Have a
wet/dry trickle filter w- mat & Purigen only (no bio-balls)
that has a 500GPM flow, also 2 Koralia circulation pumps on order
(600 GPM per) & a skimmer in the sump. As long as this
aquarium was set up prior to my receiving (6 years, but I
don't know how long the rock was in) I would have expected
much more coralline on the rock & overflow wall. The rock I
would estimate has maybe 15% - 20% coverage, but also has green
hair algae (doesn't appear to be increasing or excessive) The
overflow wall merely has nickel to quarter size patches.
<<Coralline will arrive in time given good lighting,
calcium Alk and Mag levels>> I don't want to get ahead
of myself before adding more livestock & coral before the
tank is ready & assume getting more coralline would be the
1st step ? <<This is no indication of a tanks suitability
to house fish or corals, the water parameters / cycling are what
govern this>> If I am correct in that I was wondering if
the GARF Grunge would be the best start (& in what qty),
<<Info stated on their website " 0NE POUND FOR EACH
THREE GALLONS WILL ACTIVATE TWO INCHES OF ARAGONITE SAND ADD ONE
POUND PER 10 GALLONS TO IMPROVE WILD LIVE SAND! " >>
if so what combination of lighting from my above options would be
best until the addition of corals, I am assuming the 1x65w @
10-12 hrs ? <<8 hours is plenty of lighting>> If I am
on the right track so far what would you recommend for a rough
time estimate before I could add corals & additional fish.
<<Once the cycle has completed and a large water change has
been done, you can start to slowly stock the tank>> Lastly
here is a list of species I thought may be good for a tank of
this size that would peacefully co-exist. Do these look like good
picks & if so what qty of each would you recommend both for
compatibility & bio-load. Would order added matter ? I do
currently have the two Ocellaris, the Sailfin & anemone will
be returned before I make any additions. Midas Blenny (Ecsenius
midas) Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) Bicolor
Pseudochromis (Pseudochromis paccagnellae) Limbaugh Chromis
Damsel (Chromis limbaughi) <<I would leave the damsel out,
these can get aggressive>> Sixline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus
hexataenia) <<Add this fish last>> Royal Gamma
Basslet (Gramma loreto) <<I would choose this or bicolor
Pseudo.. They are very alike and you may get some aggression
shown from the Gramma to the bicolor>>>>
Re: "New" 55 Gallon Reef Aquarium...
GARF/Grunge... using WWM 03/15/2008 Thank you sir, I
appreciate the advice, I assume you had no objections to the GARF
then. One forum I looked @ had to shut down a couple of threads
on the subject because they took a nasty turn, very strong
opinions on both sides. <<Its a very debatable issue I
suppose. An aspect you have to consider is how genuine the
product is? Fact is, a lot / most won't have a means of
checking out the product to ensure the specific contents. Would I
use this? No...Given time, life will be generated under its own
steam. Just my opinion of course. Hope this helps. A
Nixon>> <Aidan... take a look on WWM (the search
tool...) re GARF, "Grunge".... this "product"
is a hoax... "some old guy with a hammer smashing up dead
LR"... Andrew Nixon is in the UK... likely unfamiliar
Sand Bed, pH, and More 3/13/08 Hi Crew,
<Hello> I have a few questions. I have had a 46 bow front reef
going for about 5 yrs. now. I have about 50+ lbs of live rock and my
substrate is 4 in. of crushed coral and live sand mixed. LFS told us to
do this when we went from fish only to reef (6 months later). I would
like to go with one or the other. <Sand> There is a lot of
detritus on the live rock. Which critters are best at cleaning that up
and are reef safe? <You mostly, get more circulation to keep it
suspended where the skimmer can pull it out.> Another question,
I've been taking a water sample to my LFS every 2 weeks everything
tests fine except my calcium (380) and ph (7.8) I've been adding ph
buffer and calcium daily and doing 10 % water changes every 2 weeks.
Any suggestions on increasing these. <I would do the water changes
weekly, and make sure you buffer you top-off and water change water
before adding it to your tank.> I have a Hagen test kit that I
can't stand. Cal and ph are hard to read, that's why I take my
sample to the LFS. <Ok, have you tried other brands? You can even
get an electronic pH tester fairly cheaply.> I would like to add a
star fish any recommendations? <A Serpent Star would probably be
ok.> My tank consists of: A brand new Remora protein skimmer with
MaxiJet 1200, and 2 Hydor 2 pumps for water movement. <I have 5
smallish powerheads in my 46, I think more water movement will help
here.> I can't think of my lighting, but I do know that it is
enough for clams. Do I need anything else to keep my tank beautiful?
<Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.> I don't have any room
for a sump or refugium. Thank you for your help. 1 maroon clown 1
yellow tang (will get rid of when too big) <Already is regardless of
size.> 1 Naso tang (will get rid of when too big) <Same> 2
lawnmower blennies 1 bubble coral 1 flowerpot coral 1 chili coral 3
Nephthea 1 rainbow polyp rock 1 open brain coral 2 peppermint shrimp 2
Astraea snails Everything is doing quite well in the tank. <Good>
Tank upgrade Substrate/Refugium 2/4/08 Hello, I
would like to start by thanking you all for volunteering your time to
run WWM! I am an avid reader, and deeply appreciate this resource.
<Thank you, it is a pleasure to be a part of.> I will soon be
upgrading from a 55 gallon FOWLR to a 75 gallon. My current inhabitants
are a 5 Tetraodon nigroviridis, one 2 Amphiprion clarkii, and one 1 1/2
Chrysiptera parasema. I dont plan on adding anymore livestock after the
move, Id just like them to have more room to roam. <Yes.> This
system has been running for about 2 years. When I set up the new tank,
I will be adding more live sand and I was wondering which one to add
first, the newly purchased, or the sand from my current set up? <I
would put the old sand on top or even just mix the two together.>
Right now the depth of the sand is about 2 but Id like to increase that
to 3 or 4. <Go for the 4 depth.> I am guessing it doesnt matter,
but I really want to do this the right way and not cause a major upset
that I could avoid. I also have an Aqua-Clear 150 that Id like to stop
using after I switch. I currently have about 40# of LR (will add more)
and an AquaC-Remora Pro skimmer. I havent gotten rid of the Aqua-Clear
because every time I perform maintenance, there are tons of micro
crustaceans, etc. that have made their home in the filter and I think
they must be beneficial. <Acting as a small refugium.> Would
there be a benefit to adding a hang on refugium in place of the
Aqua-Clear even though I am not going to be keeping inverts? <Yes,
especially if you grow macroalgae for nutrient export.> I was
thinking I could put some of the filter media in the fuge to entice the
critters to switch homes. I know some advocate the removal of filters
and some still find them useful, so Im confused about my options.
<Possibly opt for additional live rock here instead. If you can
divide the area with baffles and light it and add macroalgae this will
be even better.> I searched through the tank upgrade FAQs and didnt
see anything that pertains to the sand question, so any help would be
appreciated. Thanks again! Jenny <Welcome, good luck, Scott
Cement Substrate 02/01/08 Hi all, <<Greetings>> I
have set up a 120 gallon tank (48x24x24) and because of the very
high flow rates and I cannot stand the look of bare bottom I
decided to use fine white aragonite sand (2 30# bags) and white
riverside cement (around 8 cups) to make a substrate for the
tank. <<Mmm, I see So essentially you have "poured a
concrete slab on your tank bottom. I hope you dont come to regret
this, my friend. I can tell you from experience, the cement mix
will foster nuisance algae for some time to come>> It is
around 1-inch deep. Can you give me any info on what I should do
now; it is "setup" 3 days old? <<You must now
cure the concrete. If you add water to the tank now, it will
yield a pH about 12.0. You will need to let the slab soak for a
few days to a week under about 20 gallons of freshwater, then,
remove the alkali saturated water, add new freshwater, and
repeatcontinuing to do so until the water yields a pH of about
8.5 or less after a minimum of three days in the tank>> I
assume I should treat it like the fake rock that people make
correct? <<Yesthough curing this slab in your tank as
opposed to curing rock in a plastic trashcan is going to be a bit
more of a hassle>> Soak it in water for a few weeks and
watch pH levels? <<Will take more than a few weeks>>
Would it be worth it to try to treat it with an acid to
neutralize it? <<Not in your tank>> How long should I
expect this to take? <<In my experience8-12 weeks>>
Thanks! <<Happy to share. EricR>>
Re: White "Cement" Substrate
02/13/08 Thanks for your quick reply. <<Very
welcome>> So a few follow up questions if you don't
mind. <<Not at all>> You said that "the cement
mix will foster nuisance algae for some time to come" could
you elaborate a little on this please? How long and why? You said
from personal experience so I assume you have done this cement
sand mixture before? <<Indeedas faux live rockand dont
recommend it/wont do it again. Admittedly my experience is
anecdotal, but cement-made materials (e.g. rock) appear to
provide both a nutritive source for nuisance alga (this, a result
of the Phosphate content of the lime/limestone used to make the
cement), as well as an attachment site that favors nuisance alga
over Coralline alga. Although this example is about cement-made
rock, I see no reason why the same principles wont apply in your
case>> I know people that have done this type of "bare
bottom" tank before and don't remember them mentioning
anything about algae issues. The reason I did this is because I
want to make this a SPS tank primarily, but hate the bare bottom
look. <<Me toonot natural at all>> I wanted any easy
way to keep detritus in check and have a very large amount of
flow without a sand storm while still maintaining the look of
sand. <<The sandstorm issue with high water flow is
overrated in my opinion. Yes, there will be some
movement/shifting (but this is natural), but careful positioning
of your flow devices will preclude any storms (I have more than
14,000gph of flow with a 7-inch sugar-fine DSB in a 96x30x30
tank). As for maintaining the look of sand, I cant imagine this
cemented substrate not discoloring/darkening to the point that it
looks like anything close to sand>>>> Is there a
preferred way to do this without cement? <<As mentionedor
maybe a shallow (3/4) substrate of coarser material
(3mm-5mm)>> I know some people have used epoxy but it
didn't work so well with the fine sand. The other thing I
wanted to run by you is thisIf high pH is the issue with not
allowing me to put my live rock in the tank until the pH comes
down on its own, why can't I inject CO2 from a tank regulated
by a controller/monitor through the skimmer to keep the pH stable
at 8.0 until the sand cement mixture cures and stops leaching out
into the water? This theoretically should work right? <<It
is true that CO2 will suppress pHbut it seems to me the amount
needed would render this environment just as uninhabitable as
otherwise (CO2 poisoning). If even possible, I think this amount
of CO2 would displace so much oxygen that nothing desirable
would/could survive. Much better to just soak the material in
freshwaterthough will be quite the pain since it is cast in the
bottom of the tank>> If I use a bubble counter over time it
will just stop injecting CO2 and once I see no more CO2 being
injected it should be stable at that point correct?
<<Bubble counter?...no A CO2 controller would be needed to
monitor the pH and the release of CO2>> I realize this idea
is a little "out of the box" but just wanted to know if
there is any solid reason why this wouldnt work. <<You have
my thoughts on it>> Thanks again for your time, its great
to have such a good source to bounce questions off and get a
non-biased answer. <<Hee-hee! Hardly non-biased hereand
although Im not trying to sell you a productI guess you could
consider I am trying to sell you on my opinions/way of thinking
[grin]! Regards, Eric Russell>>
DSB and new tank setup - Follow-up, reef
f' 2/1/08 Hi :) <Hello there> Please can you
help with a few questions. <Will try> I recently setup a
4.5x2.5x2 (LxHxW) bowfront tank. Should be around 120 odd gallons?
<About 7.5 gallons per cubic foot... about this> Made a DSB of
4" using sand from the local topical beach. I think you call this
sugar fine. <Okay> Did the vinegar test and magnet test to check
for suitability and was looking good. Dug a 1-1.5" pit in the sand
and placed 65-70Kgs of live rock in this for a foundation. Then built
the rock structure on top of this base. The sand is a bit thicker below
the 1st 2 inches. But it looked less white so I used the whiter sand on
top. When you look at sand in the beach after the tide has gone in,
there is a totally dry layer on top and a bit darker layer an inch or
so below. I have used both the types. Dark below and light above. 1.
The sand in the corner facing the water flow (powerhead) does not seem
to remain in place a BIT. The sand height in this place is around
2" only. <Will move about, seek its own level...> 2. A
little bit of sand is ALWAYS moving around as in a few grains hear and
there. Will it be better If I add some crushed coral that is grinded to
a slightly larger constituency? I could put this on top so the sand
flies less? <Might help, yes> 3. I plan to remove the powerhead
and use a 5 gall surge. Will this wreck my sand and make it a constant
sand storm? <Should pretty much settle down in time> 4. Will this
affect the DSB? Even if I put additional sand here it will get settled
somewhere else. <Mmm, no, not much> 5. Will my rock structure be
stable? I have not used any PVC structure. Dug a pit in the substrate
for 1-1.5" and put some of the live rocks there and got a base.
<If the rock is set on the very bottom, sturdily arranged, it should
stay put> 6. I cured RAW rocks in the tank as it was being setup. I
saw some pods initially when the rock was curing and then nitrates went
up to 20ppm. After this I din see any pods. But in 2 weeks nitrates are
zilch. I could not resist myself so put a small frag of Palythoa and
another small frag of Zoanthids. They are looking awesome from last 1
week. Can raw rock cure in 2 weeks flat? <Can> I used a DIY
skimmer only and did zero water changes. Lights on for 12-14 hours (1
150W 20K Kelvin MH and 1 40W 10K Kelvin NO tube). 7. Last week I picked
up a few rocks I have put in the sand bed and I saw black to silvery
material below. I guess this is rotting stuff as it smelt like that. Is
it toxic to have put the frags in? <Possibly> 8. Can you give me
any good reference to fragging Zoanthids? <What little we have on
WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidreprfaqs.htm and Anthony
Calfo's "Coral Propagation" book> They are on a big
rock which cannot be broken as it is hard as granite. Have to only
scrape them off. If I try to scrape them from the base, they sometimes
get smashed as they are small. Any better way? <Read on. An electric
saw would help... perhaps a sharp chisel (do wear gloves and eye
protection)> 9. How can I attach them to my live rock? <Read
on... best to "tie" to some other material, move this into
place once secured> 10. There is a bit of macro algae that came in
with the live rock. I did not cut it off during the curing. It is of
many types. Caulerpa, kelp, and some calcareous types as well. is it ok
if there are many types? Should I add more? <Please read on WWM re
Macrophyte/algae Compatability... the mix should be fine> Cheers and
Thanks Again Ranjith <Bob Fenner>
Circulation Questions. Heavy Water Flow And
Fine Sand 01/30/08 Am in the process of putting together the
components for my new 120 gallon tank (4x2x2). <<Neat>> I
want to keep SPS and clams. <<Ahhno softies?excellent I don't
want to utilize too much rock (75-80lbs) as I would like the tank to
have an open look. <<I am much in agreement with this method of
aquascaping. Far too much rock in many hobbyists tanks in my opinion.
If more biological filtration is deemed necessary a fine-grain sand bed
of 4-inches or more will do the trickcan even be placed remotely
(sump/refugium)>> I've got some unique aquascaping planned
using flexible PVC. With that in mind, here is my circulation setup.
Eheim 1262 (900gph) located directly beneath the tank in the cabinet
for my return pump with a gate-valve to control return flow.
<<Nice choicegood quality long-lasting pumps>> I just
purchased two 6-month old Tunze 6080's (2,250gph x 2, not
controllable) at a great price from a fellow member of my local reef
club. <<Very nice I am a big fan of these pumps for water
flow/circulation purposes. I employ seven such pumps (varying models
from 1600 to 3100 GPH) in my reef display>> This gives me 5400
gph total flow. Is this going to blow my sand all over the place?
<<Possibly But careful placement can mitigate this to a large
extent. Regardless of what pump/methods you use, fine sand is going to
move around some>> Roger from Tunze said it's a matter of
placement and that sugar-fine sand is going to blow around regardless.
<<Ah yesindeed so>> What is my best bet here? <<In
what respect?>> With everything maxed out Im looking at 45x/hour
and about 40x/hour if I throttle back the return pump. I've read
that this is an acceptable flow rate for a SPS system but it's the
DSB that's got me worried. <<Hmm Im moving around about
16,000gph in my display (375g 8ft tank) when everything is going at
once, though this isnt all the time as I have my Stream pumps set up to
switch randomly. I have my pumps set high on the end-walls of the tank
with magnetic mounts. I also have a 7-inch sugar-fine DSB. I do get
some blowing/sand movement when flow paths meet at times, but nothing
drastic. Gullies will form after some time, but this is usually gradual
and can be easily repaired if/when necessary by gently raking the sand
down from the high spots>> I don't like the bare bottom look.
Is there another substrate that I could use that would be less likely
to blow around and that would be acceptable to place clams on?
<<I dont think you will be able to go much coarser before it
becomes to large/sharp. It is my opinion that the benefits of the
sugar-fine sand; as a biological filter, in-fauna matrix, and even a
clam base, outweigh any disadvantages of movement from heavy (read that
healthy) water flow. Regards, Eric Russell>>
Sand For A Reef Aquarium 12/4/07 <Hi
Bryan> Any good sand substrate recommendations for a reef aquarium
96x30x30? We want to keep sand sifting fish such as gobies, wrasse, and
certain snails. The Carib Sea Aragamax talks about only using up to
1". I was thinking 4-6" depth for a substrate. thoughts? We
will also use a mud based substrate in our refugium in the sump.
<I'd go with fine sand, no more than 1mm, easier on burrowing
wrasses, etc. Personally, I would go with no more than 2 1/2 inches in
depth and mix with at least 20 lbs. of live sand. I'd let this
develop before adding the sand sifting critters to insure a good
population of beneficial critters. Read here for more info.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/livesand.htm James (Salty Dog)> Bryan
Particular Particulate Problem 11/28/2007
Hi Guys/Gals, <John> Let me start as most usually do.... You guys
are great and I love the site; I am new to reef keeping and your site
has kept me out of a lot of trouble. I have a small problem with
particulates in my water and I wasn't sure if you could offer some
advice. Quick rundown on my system: 95 Gallon Oceanic wave tank 25
gallon trickle filter/sump. 90 LBS live rock 40LBS oolite sand Coralife
Super Skimmer 2 AquaClear 70 Powerheads 2 Hydor Koralia 3 Powerheads
<Mmm, where, how are these pumps arranged?> 4 65 watt PC True 03
Actinic 2 250 Watt 15,000 MH Mated pair maroon clowns, Red Rose Bulb
Anemone, Spotted Blenny, Sand sifting goby, 3 Starfish, assorted snails
and hermit crabs I do water changes of 24 gallons monthly, I have
started doing it weekly since I have had the problem. I always use a
RODI filter and mix 50% Instant ocean and 50% Instant Ocean Reef
crystals. My water started to have a ton of floating particulates after
I got the clowns. I assume it was from overfeeding (Frozen MYSIS,
CYCLOP, and pellets) but since then I have cut back greatly, almost to
the point of underfeeding. The water is not cloudy and does not have
air bubbles, it just has a lot of free floating particles only visible
when the Halides are on. <A good clue> I then purchased an Eheim
Professional series 2 canister filter and it has not helped. I added
carbon filters and felt pads and every filter medium I can think of to
no avail! I even tried a 50% water change and still no change, any help
on this matter would be greatly appreciated, I want to start purchasing
corals but would like to solve this problem first. Thank you much! John
<I wish you had... maybe you do have, a small microscope... that you
could take a look at some of these floating bits. I suspect that the
oolitic sand has some attached small algae on it... that when your
bright lights are driving photosynthesis, cause the light weight
material (actually algae with trapped gas produced) to float about...
Now... as to a solution... Perhaps mixing in some larger diameter, more
angular calcareous substrate with it would cause/help all to stay down.
Setup, DSB, Kolorscape Play Sand 11/19/07 Hi, <Hello> I
am finishing plumbing my new system and I am looking for
aragonite sand for my DSB. I have found Kolorscape white play
sand in a local HD and am wondering if you know whether it is
safe to use and whether it is aragonite? <Have not personally
used it or seen it for sale in my area.> I have tested several
samples of different sands including some from a fish store and
non bubbles in vinegar. Please advise if I can use the Kolorscape
sand? Thanks again, John <I would check some of the major
aquarium forums and see if you can find people who have direct
knowledge of this product, or contact the manufacturer and find
out what it is actually made of and what additives have been used
on it.> <Chris>
Re: New Setup, DSB, Kolorscape Play Sand
11/19/07 Hi Chris, <Hello> I called OldCastle and they
say that it is silica based... I have also called my LFS and they
sell aragonite sand for $1 per pound (expensive!). <Yes it
is.> I need about 300-400 pounds for each of my two deep sand
beds and about 200 pounds for my display. Is it safe to mix the
two together? <That is quite a debate you are stepping into,
many say that you should only use aragonite sand while others say
that silica based sand is fine. In my experience I have only ever
used aragonite sand and have been happy with the results, but
there is debate even among the crew as to whether it is
necessary. Do a search and you can see for yourself the differing
opinions.> Or should I use aragonite in display and silica for
DSB or vice versa? My plan was to have 2" in the display
(150G, 60x24x24), <Too much, looking for less than 1 inch
here.> 8" in the lower refugium for nutrient export with
macroalgae and small pieces of LR (90G, 48x18x24), and 8" in
the upper refugium for food generation with another type of algae
(90G, 48x18x24). Can you please advise? Thank you so much for all
your help, John <There is much discussion here on these
subjects, check out our section on DSBs and related FAQs to get
the opinions of several members.> <Chris>
Quick Question About Sand From My LFS
(unexpurgated...) 11/02/07 Hello again WWM crew! <<Hiya
Shane!>> I am trying desperately to find 250 lbs of sand to use
for my DSB at a decent price. <<Indeedtis unfortunate the
aragonite sand so readily available from Home Depot a few years back
has pretty much all disappeared now>> None of the Home Depots,
Lowes or Wal-Marts around here carry the right type of sand.
<<Mmm, wellthe sand they carry can be usedit just isnt of the
preferred aragonite composition>> After looking for about two
weeks, I've decided to bite the bullet, put some KY on my arse and
purchase aragonite sand from the LFS. I ran all the numbers and the
cheapest way to get the sand I need from them is by getting 17 bags of
(http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/group/15381/product.web if the hyper
link doesn't work). I am assuming it would all be okay, can I get
you guys' thoughts and opinions on this stuff? <<Should be
fine>> Ever used it? <<Nope>> I guess I don't
mind the colored stuff; maybe it'll look neat in the tank...
Thanks, Shane <<Its up to you, but since you are biting the
bullet anyway, you may want to consider buying a few 30lb bags of
aragonite material in your chosen grain size from the LFS and get the
remainder of the bulk from Home Depot, etc. The Home Depot/garden
center sand is likely the same composition (silica) as the colored sand
you are contemplating, only without the dyemight even be a less
expensive solution. Regards, EricR>>
Re: Quick Question About Sand From My LFS
11/02/07 Thanks for checking this out Eric, <<My pleasure,
Shane>> I guess if it'll be okay, I will use a mixture of the
HD non-aragonite sand and the sand from the LFS like you suggest.
<<Will be fine>> Should I layer these? Or mix it all up?
<<If you have sand-sifters (gobies) that may not appreciate the
sharp edges of the silica sand then place this on the bottom with the
softer (round) aragonite material on topelse, you can mix it up (will
likely end up this way anyways)>> I was thinking about getting
120 lbs of aragonite sand and then 150 lbs of the sand from HD's
garden center. <<Sounds like a fine plan to me, mate>>
Thanks again for the advice. Shane <<Happy to assist. Eric
Sand Problem, floating bits 10/30/07 I
have a 220 gallon FOWLR setup. There is about 1-1/2 to 2 inches of
sugar-fine sand in the display as a substrate. My filtering consists of
about 150 pounds of live rock, a protein skimmer and a UV sterilizer.
Over the past several months, I have added a wrasse and Picasso trigger
that like to "play" in the sand. The issue with this is that
my water always has lots if sand particles floating around from them
stirring the sand up. I never have very "clear" water anymore
and I miss that. The sand has been in there for about three years. Do
you think replacing the sugar-fine sand with something with a little
larger grain size might help? <Yes> How big is too big? I
don't want to use large gravel that will create a maintenance
nightmare. Thanks for the help. <Just about anything larger than
your current substrate and smaller than crushed coral will do the job.
Anything you put in there will be stirred up, but it only takes a
slightly larger grain for it to promptly settle. Personally I like
CaribSea's Seaflor special grade for non-reefs. It is large enough
to not blow around and not so large as to require constant gravel
vacuuming. Thank you, Scott V.>
|Open remark, query from Sara to the
Crew <Re: Aragonite solubility, use as a SW
substrate> 6/30/07 Hi all, I've noticed that
it's said quite often that an aragonite sand bed helps
"buffer" a marine tank. And I know a lot of people
believe this. But my question to you all is, is there any way I can
convince any of you that it probably doesn't to any appreciable
degree? Or have you already heard this story too many times before?
<Is so that many "types" of aragonite are relatively
insoluble (have a lower Ksp (product solubility constant) than the
resident/extant pH of a given desire... in a marine set-up...
Won't bolster pH to the wanted degree... but do some good in
lower levels... do provide other benefits> And I'm sorry, I
know I'm new and I must be sounding like smart-arse... but it
is my birthday today, so anyone want to humor me? :-D Best, Sara
<Oh! Happy bday to you! If you were here I'd spank you...
What is it... 26 times? Might not do you much good, but would work
wonders for moi! Heeeeee! BobF>
|Sara -- Up to a point of course aragonite
or calcite in the aquarium will dissolve into the water and act as
a buffer. But I've heard enough stories of old brackish water
tanks gradually (sometimes suddenly) losing alkalinity when relying
on this method alone. My assumption is that once the sand grains
are covered with bacteria and algae they are isolated from the
water. I liken this to the candy coating around the chocolate in an
M&M. Anyway, eventually this barrier prevents adequate
buffering, and tank pH drops. So while I'm all for using coral
sand or whatever as *part* of the buffering system, I far prefer
using calcareous material in a filter where it can be deep cleaned
or replaced every few months (or whenever pH drop is noticed).
Happy birthday, by the way. My day has not been so good -- came
home to an aquarium flooding the living room carpet! I must be the
only man in England with a flood inside his house rather than
outside. Cheers, Neale
Cheap Aragonite SandWhat Was It Called
Again? 06/17/07 Hello again! <<Hiya Rob!>> Thanks for
all your helpful advice about my sometimes stupid questions!
<<Only stupid when you dont ask>> I have yet another...!
<<Shoot>> I have been searching at Home Depot....which
bothers me because I work at Lowes..., <<Hee-hee!>> for the
sand that is aragonite based. <<Difficult if not impossible to
find of latesupposedly the company that used to provide this was bought
out>> I've searched three stores, and asked employees. No
luck! <<Not surprising, I havent seen it around Columbia for
several years>> What is it called? <<OriginallySouthdown
Tropical Play Sand From The Caribbean, distributed by Southdown
Inc.Later marketed in the same bag but without the Southdown moniker
(bought out?) and distributed by Oldcastle Stone ProductsWhich was also
supposedly bought out, and the sand soon thereafter disappeared from
the stores. But, rumor has it that some K-Mart stores are selling an
aragonite based productthough this too I have not found around
here>> Is the sand white? <<Not so muchbut is lighter in
color than the silica sands. Aragonite sand will also feel soft as
compared to sharp Silica sandand of course, the vinegar test can
confirm>> I want a DSB in a large tank, and can really save some
money here. <<I can relateI have a thousand-pounds of sugar-fine
Aragonite sand in my display, and another three-hundred-pounds in my
refugium>> (Its a shame what marketing and packaging can do to
prices for the same item outside of our hobby! I guess they figure we
have the money...). Thanks again for your help! Rob <<Good luck
with your search. Eric Russell>>
CaribSea black substrates 05/11/07 Hi there! <Hi.> I
have a question on substrates. CaribSea has a black
substrate but does that contain the trace minerals and ph stabilizer
like the aragonite substrates? <They sell several dark substrates.
Eco-Complete is black, but intended for planted tanks. Some of their
cichlid substrates are dark, too. In addition, there is Coralline
Volcano Beach, which is dark, but also has aragonite particles. Most
dark particles are probably of volcanic origin, they are chemically
rather inert and wont help much with pH buffering. Only the whitish
broken shells, coral skeleton parts etc. in the substrates are
aragonite/calcite and will buffer your pH and while dissolving provide
trace elements beneficial to inverts for shell/skeleton construction.
See the homepage of CaribSea for more further information/pictures and
search WWM entering CaribSea to find further
recommendations/reviews/opinions on the products. Cheers,
Re: Marine Substrate Q; Sand Size for Goby 05/08/07
good day to all! <Hello Again.> (follow-up question) sir <No
formalities, Adam or AJ is fine.> regarding the size of my sand, it
is about 1mm to 2mm, is that okay for fishes that tend to burrow in the
sand like a yellow wrasse and a sand sifting goby? will they get hurt
since it is not a sugar fine sand? <Depends on how small the
specimens are, but if your getting an average sized goby, this
shouldn't be a problem.> thanks! <Welcome, Adam J.>
Marine Substrate Questions 5/7/07 Good day
to all the staff of WetWebMedia! <Hi!> I've got some concerns
regarding the type/size of sand to be used, here it goes...
<Okay.> 1. I was looking for a sugar fine sand for my 50 gallon
tank but could not find one available locally so I chose the one with
the bigger grain, (just slightly bigger), my question is that I'm
planning to add a sand sifting goby and a yellow wrasse in the future,
will they be ok in the sand I bought since they like to burrow and sift
through them? will the slightly larger grains be harmful to them?
<Well you don't say how large is my friend...so there no way to
give you an answer really. You should be able to find out the average
"mm size" on the grain you are purchasing. I can tell you
that you will need a DSB for these critters though.> My second
question is that I have some sugar fine sand in my old aquarium
(20gallons, about 2 months in operation), can I use that for the new
tank? <Yes I would use some to seed the new tank.> If so do I
still need to clean it (with saltwater or tap water?) <If it's
already in an established, functional display...no.> or should I
just directly put it in the new tank? <See above. use to seed new
sand.> thanks in advance for your reply, more power to your
wonderful site! <Welcome/Thanks, Adam J.>
Used Sand Bed: to use or not? ...and how to level 4/26/07
Hello, <Hello.> I perused your site trying to find an answer to
this but could not find it. I recently bought a used 120 gallon acrylic
tank. The previous owner had a reef setup. He had
a good established DSB when it was up and running. When I
bought the tank from him it had been broken down for 4-6
weeks. The sand was in buckets. I am now getting
ready to set the tank up and am wondering if its ok to use this
sand. <Can eventually be of use, but will initially
lengthen the time needed to cycle and ultimately stabilize for
livestock.> Its been in buckets in his garage so the temperature has
fluctuated significantly. The sand is dry. <Ahh. Well,
there you have it. I wouldn't bother unless you are seriously
budget-limited. Better sand can be had. Is not totally useless, but
will just be "filler" for some time.> Also, I am placing
this on a hardwood floor. < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstdfloors.htm
> The floor seems to not be level. What is the best way
to level the tank to reduce structural stress? It needs to be raised
approx .75 inches on one side. < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqstdleveling.htm
> Any help you could offer would be much appreciated. <I would
simply be regurgitating what I read in the links above.> Timothy
Pleus <-GrahamT> Lava Rocks, marine substrates, not
reading... 3/19/07 Lava rocks are believed to be porous
<Most, no... are very smooth> and is good for bacterial growth
<No... inappropriate make-up period... almost entirely siliceous...
Want carbonates> but many don't recommend it for Reef and marine
tank because it may contain some unknown minerals and silicates.
<Yes> Are coral chips good enough for bacterial growth ? And how
about limestones? I heard that limestones are good. I am using ceramic
noodles (bury in coral chips) for bacterial growth with supplement of
live rocks and DSB. I am thinking of adding in or replacing the coral
chips with something that is more porous and more effective for
bacterial growth. What will be your suggestions ? <Yes... Read here:
and the linked files above. BobF>
Broken Glass Aquarium Seal...What to do? 2/28/07 My 55
gal saltwater tank is losing it's seal (salt forming on outside
edges/corners). <Sorry to hear that.> I think this
would be as good a time as any to change everything over to live sand
in my new tank. <If you have sand already in the aquarium...and have
live rock, the microfauna fauna from the rock has likely made it's
way to the sand.....you already have live sand.> I
have about 30 lbs of live Fiji rock and fish in my current tank.
<...See above.> I planned on borrowing a pump and heater to
placing in my current tank and moving my rock in with the new sand and
get it up and running. How long would I have to give the new tank/sand
to adjust and should I use some of the water I currently have in my
tank? <I would get two rubber tubs (likely about 30 gallons in
volume each.) Move as much water from the tank as you can evenly into
each tub and compensate by filling with mixed water (preferably mixed a
few days in advance). Move the livestock into one tub and the rock/sand
into another. I would perform daily water changes on each of
10% if not then 50% weekly. Put powerheads and heater in
each...make them as stable as possible your animals may be here for a
while...if you can't do this see if an LFS will house them for a
week, longer is they can. Remove the tank to a garage or
well ventilated area and remove the current silicone sealing and
reseal, allow to cure for a few days. Then fill it with freshwater to
check for leaks...if it leaks...do it again. Once you have
it right, set-up the tank as you would a new tank, utilizing your old
rock. If want to utilize a new type of substrate/sand that is fine but
I would add at least a few pounds of the old sand to seed the new
sand. At this point do not add the new fish yet, monitor the
chemistry and when stable then acclimate them...much more is posted in
detail on WWM.> What sand do you like? <Fine sized (sugar),
aragonite based for most applications.> How much sand for 55 gal.?
<Depends you want deep-sand bed (functional) or a shallow sand bed
(aesthetic appeal)?> Kathy DeMann <Adam J.>
Beach Sand Use in Marine Aquaria 2/28/07 Hi
<Hello.> ..love your site! <Thanks.> I've read over the
faq on live sand but I want to collect dry sand from my local beach.
<Uh-oh.> I live in New Smyrna Beach, Fl, just south of Daytona.
I've called every Home Depot and every sand contractor in the
county and no one sells South Down or aragonite sand. <No that
secret has been out and mostly gone for ages now.> I have a 55 gal
and want to do 4". I was thinking of collecting it high up on the
beach, close to the dunes. If this is ok to do, <Typically no, most
beach sand is silicate in nature, and this would not be beneficial to a
marine aquarium.> how do I go about washing? <The problem is not
cleaning, disinfecting the sand but what it is composed of.> Thanks
a million.. Jen <Adam J.>
Re: Are you DBL sure I can't use beach sand??
3/1/07 Thanks for the quick reply... <Of course.> but I'm
confused... <Okay.> if the marine critters are ok with it and we
have a ton of them here...starfish and the like why wouldn't it be
ok for my tank? <You are making the common mistake here of comparing
something as large as the ocean to an enclosed bio-tope not even a
fraction of it's size. Please search WWM the effects of silicates
are well documented. You are not the first to ask this question.> Is
it due to the calcium and buffering capacity? <Somewhat...it's
not as efficient as aragonite but it's mostly die to the effects of
silicate on the nutrient levels in the water, trapping detritus and
causing unbearable algae tirades.> Also, what is your
opinion of Haitian live rock compared to Fiji Aquacultured? <Both
are nice, Fijian is probably cheaper and easier to come by.> Very
grateful for your help. Thank you! <Of course, Adam J.> Re:
Resp. to removing sand from florida beaches 3/1/07 From
Kaz I used to live in Deland near New Smyrna Beach. From what I
remember the mile long beach is a nature reserve and, as such,
collection of sand is probably prohibited anyway. <Thank you, being
in Southern Cal. I am not familiar with your law, however I do
encourage everyone to check w/ local fish&game departments before
interfering with your natural surroundings. Adam J.>
Re: Sand from beach, Necessary Filtration in Reef Aquaria
3/5/07 Wow. that was fast! <Oh I just happened to be answering
some other questions when your email came in.> I have another
question if you would be so kind... <Of course.> I've put in
aragonite and bought 70lbs Fiji premium which is now cycling in my tank
with powerheads and skimmer and an HOT. My question is
this: What type of filtration to go with? I've done a
ton of research on wet/dry and know about the nitrates. Therefore I was
going to leave out the bioballs and basically use it as a sump. But my
tank is not drilled (couldn't be, tempered glass) so I need a
prefilter. After doing more research I'm worried about how
unreliable the prefilter and U tube can be. So what is my alternative?
<A hang on refugium.> I've read everything on WWM on plumbing
with a prefilter and there doesn't seem to be a fail safe answer.
<There are tricks
to make them more reliable, but I can't comment on hose because I
don't have any personal experience. well because I never trusted
the d@mn things to be honest.> Shouldn't I have some sort of
a filter? <A large skimmer, lots of water flow, the live rock...you
have DSB...and LOTS of frequent water changes...accompanied with a
low/moderate stocking level is what I would aim for. If you can swing
it look into a hang on refugium.> I know live rock is the best
filtration but isn't it prudent to have carbon, <Not in a mature
system...though good to have on hand in an emergency situation.>
PolyFilters, <Nah, can be uses but not a necessity.>
etc? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you. <Welcome.> Jennifer <Adam J.>
Crushed coral and descriptions in the book Reef
Invertebrates 2/14/07 Hello again, <Hi
there! Mich here.> Very quick and easy question;
<Perfect!> In Reef Invertebrates pg 37 is the "Coral
gravel" and "Coral Shells" spoken of what pet stores
commonly refer to as Crushed Coral? <Crushed coral is actually more
akin to the coral gravel than the coral shells. Coral shells
are much more coarse and offer very little in buffering
capabilities.> Seems to me it is, but wanted
clarification. <Hope that helps. -Mich>
Which Marine Substrate?...How Much? - 01/26/07 Hi
Bob/staff...greetings Crew. <<Hello>> I have a 29-gallon
system, with BakPak skimmer, 10-gallon sump, and # 30 LR. My
tank has been running bare bottom for a few months now. At
first it stayed clean, but now there is still some algae and the corals
don't look as good as they used to. My mushrooms
don't expand well and Zoas have been strangely melting down
suddenly. <<Mmm, likely deteriorating water quality/buildup of
nitrogenous compounds. Stepping up water changes and
employing some chemical filtration (carbon/Poly-Filter) should
help>> I want to have a sand bed; I hate the way bare bottomed
tanks look. <<Me too>> Can you please share your opinions
on substrates, and what you think will do well in my system, (grain
size of sand, depth of the sand bed, live rock placement) and ways of
keeping the sand clean and the tank healthy. <<Many opinions to
found on this...but for me, a sugar-fine aragonite substrate of about
four-inches in depth would be my choice here. Utilizing
strong/robust water flow will help keep detritus in suspension and out
of the sand bed. Do have a look here and among the
associated links at the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm
Thanks for any help. <<Happy to assist, EricR>>
Substrate sel. 11/24/06 Hi, guys and girls
<Hello Wikus! Tim answering your question today!> I have more
questions! The more I read on your site, the more faults (gaps or
possible issues) I see in my own setup. <As do I my friend! We are
all constantly learning in this hobby!> At the moment I have a
2" to 3" layer of coarse crushed coral (2-10mm). <That may
be a problem... as it will undoubtedly collect detritus over time and
so create serious nitrate problems!> There is loads of life in the
substrate (pods, worms and small white stars (I think they might be
brittle stars) , but when stirred it clouds the water quite heavily
(Lots of detritus even with vacuuming weekly). <The problem is that
with such a thickness of coarse coral, you will not be able to vacuum
as deeply into the substrate as the detritus is able to settle.>
I've read that open brain corals would prefer a sandier substrate.
I have ordered a 55G custom built tank to use as a sump/refugium with
50kg of sugar fine aragonite (DSB). <Brilliant! You will no doubt
see a great improvement to the quality of your water.> Would it be
wise for me to take out the current substrate (1/3 per week) and
replace it with either sugar fine aragonite or 1-2mm crushed coral? And
considering that I will be incorporating a DSB, how thick would you
recommend me to go with the substrate? To me the substrate in the main
display is only for aesthetic reasons, but I do not mind a DSB in the
main display. <I am unsure of the size of your main display tank,
but assuming that the sump/refugium is adequately sized, you do not
need a further DSB in the main tank (though of course this would be
helpful... the more the merrier!). As such, I would recommend that the
substrate be no thicker than 1/2" to avoid detritus build up.
Though be careful as the refugium is commonly overlooked when it comes
to proper maintenance routines. Be sure to properly maintain your DSB
to maximize its functionality and avoid any problems.> Thank you
very much for your time and all the valuable information. Wikus
Re: Using alternate substrate for DSB + coral sand for
buffering. - 11/02/06 Hi bob! Thanks for replying so fast!
Just mailed you back to tell you guys what horrible laws, conditions
prevail in our country (India). 1) ALL REEF BUILDING CORALS are banned.
Yes, ALL! <Didn't know this... are there reasons
stated/offered?> 2) You are not supposed to keep any
'nautilus' spp. <Mmmmm> 3) You may keep live rocks, but
you have to prove (by showing) to any authorities that might turn up,
that they do not have any hitch hiking corals! 4) The only dedicated,
'mass available' aquarium items are available from a Taiwanese
brand named 'AZoo'. <They do have some good products> 5)
All these conditions and laws are in a country, which is probably the
biggest and best source of freshwater species in the world, and many
many beautiful saltwater species. e.g. Puntius demasoni endemic to a
southern river in our country. 6) A population of 1 billion, so a very
big market for aquarium manufacturers. Still, very very slow
improvements. <Ah, yes> And with all this, my idol bob...how can
you expect us to have a variety of crushed coral sands!? The only sand
that is available is red sea 'reef base' at an enormously
overpriced rate. <Ridiculous... so much natural material is used on
your shores for various purposes already...> Regards, (and crying
over the state of affairs in our 'nutrient rich' country) Amod
Oke. <Heeee! Be chatting, fighting the battles we choose.
Beach Sand 11/1/06 Hello, <Hi> I have one quick
question. I live on the Oregon coast and was curious if I were to take
wet sand (by the water) and start an aquarium with it, if the
nitrifying bacteria would live in tropical temperatures. Brian <Not
really a good idea, most of the microfauna/flora will not survive the
elevated temperatures of a reef tank, and unknown contaminates are a
real concern.> <Chris>
Silica Sand/Aragonite Mix in a Reef? - 10/10/06
Hey. <<Hey>> I wanted to get your opinion on using play box
sand for a reef tank. <<Is doable>> I have done a lot of
reading on this and have gotten contradicting opinions, as with many
issues in this hobby. <<Indeed>> I found sand called
Kolorscape which is distributed by Oldcastle (same company that once
distributed the famous but impossible to find Southdown).
<<I've heard some about this sand before...supposedly
aragonite based>> This sand is supposedly mined in a different
area and is not purely aragonite. <<Easy enough to test>>
From my understanding the sand passes the "vinegar test" but
not all of the sand dissolves meaning it's mixed with at least some
silica type sand. <<Hmm, maybe so...still...better than
"all" silica. Not that using silica sand is
necessarily bad, it just doesn't offer any buffer capacity/earth
elements to the system>> It also clearly states on the bag that
it may contain silica. <<Ah, I see...>> Is this really that
big of a deal? <<Not in my opinion>> I read that silica
sand is inert and won't release anything into the water. <<I
don't think that is entirely true, but I think the concern for
silica sand to foster huge diatom blooms or other maladies in our
marine tanks is mostly overrated...and even less of an issue in the
case of this "mixed" sand. I've used
100-percent silica sand in a couple marine systems over the years and
can't attribute any deleterious effects to the use of the
sand>> The source stated that it's only a rumor that
won't die. <<As with so many of them>> In your
opinion/experience have you found this to be true? <<As
stated>> Should I spend the big bucks for aquarium sand or take a
chance and save a bundle? <<Considering the Kolorscape does
contain aragonite...I would use it>> I have read forums where
people stated that they used Kolorscape and loved it, but the opinion
was based on only a few months of use. Any thoughts?
<<Perhaps you will let us know/write a piece on its
performance>> By the way, I already have aragonite that will be
used for the deep sand bed in the refugium so buffering won't be an
issue. <<Likely wouldn't anyway...but very good>> I
want to use the Kolorscape as a 1/2 inch deep sand in the display and
am only concerned about the safety/silica issues. <<Go for
it!>> Thank you, Jon <<Pleased to assist, EricR>>
Silica Sand vs. Aragonite Sand - 10/03/06 Greetings again.
<<Hello>> I am in the planning stages of a new system.
<<Great fun!>> I have seen (play sand) for sale at several
Hardware stores. I have not as yet been able to perform the
vinegar test so I can't say for certain that the sand is aragonite
or silicate based. <<Okay>> What is the opinion of WWM in
regard to using silicate verses aragonite substrates??? <<Mmm,
the opinions will vary...but I'll give you mine. I know
aquarists who have used silica sand in FO marine systems with no
problems. I have used it myself before for the
"bulk" of the DSB in a coral propagation system with no
adverse affect. Silica sand can be used, but it will offer
"no buffering properties" and tends to be sharp/abrasive to
sand/bottom dwelling critters. It is my preference to use
sugar-fine aragonite whenever possible>> Thanks <<Regards,
Halimeda Leaves 7/13/06 Dear
Crew, <Paul> I have two questions regarding a batch of Halimeda
leaves that has accumulated on the surface of my otherwise sugar-fine
aragonite substrate: <Okay> (1) Will the leaves trap detritus and
contribute to a high nitrate & phosphate problem? <No, not
likely... in fact...> (2) Will the leaves harbor small organisms
that can sustain a Mandarin Dragonet should I acquire one? <Will
likely help, and...> In other words, I am trying to determine if the
dead Halimeda leaves have any usefulness before I siphon them out.
<I would leave them, enjoy their beauty and utility. Are almost
completely calcium carbonate... of good shape...> My tank is a
75-gallon reef tank with plenty of live rock, coral, anemones, and 12
small (2" long) fish that unfortunately don't eat
algae. I've had 20 of these fish (Blue Damsels, Pajama
Cardinals) but I've recently reduced the fish population to 12 in
an attempt to control high nitrates, phosphates and hair
algae. There is also a 29-gallon refugium with a small batch
of Chaetomorpha that does not grow as fast as the algae. Thanks very
much, Paul. <If we could easily harvest such calcareous material and
offer it as purposeful substrate... it would sell. Bob
Home Depot Sand?
7/8/06 Hello! <<Hello!>> I've been through your
FAQs on sand and before I pay the $36 for the 40 lbs of sand at my LFS,
I just had to check on this sand called Colorscapes at Home Depot.
<<Hmm, don't recall hearing this was calcareous...but that
doesn't mean you can't use it if it's not, just won't
get the benefit of a buffer. Best I can offer is to test
this sand yourself. Place a pinch in a small container and
add some white vinegar...if it bubbles/dissolves the sand then it is
calcareous>> I've used Southdown in my prior aquarium and it
seemed to work well (after rinsing and a week of nothing but
cloudiness)! <<Mmm, yes indeed...and is what I used as well
(950lbs of it)>> I need enough sand for a 120 gallon tank, the
calculator on another site says 131 pounds should give me
3". Any advice? <<You say you've read up on
sand, but have you read up on DSBs? ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm)>>
Thanks! Regards, EricR