Originally Posted by shireelf
OK, that makes sense. I had read somewhere that you either needed one inch or 4-6 inches of sand. I had wondered why these two measurement choices but the article explained that. Here I thought that freshwater had so many different ideas on how to run a tank.
Guess that what makes it fun.
And it is choice that makes this hobby great. There are many ways to set-up and run a tank and what I have described here is just one way, and through trial and error (and believe me, I have had my errors) has become my preference.
I think the largest problem of saying "no" to a Deep Sand Bed now is that later down the road this is one of those things that is hard to change. Skimmers, pumps, lights and other hardware can be changed simply by swapping out the equipment. Rock can easily be added as long as it is cured or dry. I have added sumps to existing systems, changed sumps out on existing systems and even replumbed existing systems without any real disruption to the Display tank.
When you want to add more sand, however, it is a major project. First you want to take out some rock so the sand doesn't get all stuck up in the rocks on the higher areas, or bury the lower areas too much. You might like how you aquascaped the tank and breaking down that rockwork to add more sand might not result in the same rockwork you previously had. Also, adding sand after the fact results in sand storms and a cloudy tank for at least a few days, not to mention the film that covers the rocks afterwards.
I am not saying that you will fail if you don't put a Deep Sand Bed in. You won't. There are many successful hobbyists that do not use Deep Sand Beds. I personally have had continued success in my tanks and no problems as a result of Deep Sand Beds. To me, personally, it is a no-brainer. Why wouldn't I want to use a method that reduces Nitrates to near zero, reducing my need for regular water changes?
Onto what are perceived as the problems of a Deep Sand Bed. There is a school of thought that Hydrogen Sulfide Gas accumulates to toxic levels in the deepest parts of the sandbed and can nuke your tank if these pockets are disturbed.
This is what the expert Ron Shimek states about the problems of Hydrogen Sulfide Gas:
More imagined than real problems bedevil keepers of sand beds. The imagined problems are proposed by people who are ignorant of the sand bed dynamics. Among these imaginary problems are accumulations of hydrogen sulfide and detritus, and the need for sifting. Hydrogen sulfide will indeed be formed in the lowermost layers of a deep sand bed. It will NOT migrate up through the sediments to poison a tank. Hydrogen sulfide is an amazingly toxic gas, but that toxicity is exceeded by its pungent rotten-egg odor. The gas will have an exceptionally strong odor, and will seem overwhelming at levels well BELOW toxic amounts. If you can smell this stuff without it literally taking your breath away, it won't be at a harmful concentration. There is no real evidence to indicate that it may reach toxic levels in a deep sand bed. |
Again, I am not saying that you will fail if you use a Deep Sand Bed. I am saying that I have used a Deep Sand Bed for years and have been happy. I have not suffered any problems and will continue to set up every tank from the start with a Deep Sand Bed. But you are not doomed if you do not use this method. Macroalgae is a method that people use for natural Nitrate reduction. Mangroves are another good method of natural Nitrate reduction. As a hobbyist, you will find your niche. Don't be discouraged to try things, just do the appropriate research to make sure you succeed. I promise, the reward is worth the work.