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Its been years since I was in the reef hobby. Back then, reefers discuss the cause of sand packing down or becoming hard and how to resolve it. Now I do not remember much about it and if anyone has had this happen, would you explain the cause and solution?
There are two reasons for my question. If something is not right on the chemistry of the reef water, then the possibility is that the sand will harden causing some effort to break it up. This will happen over time. I belive i first noticed it after my reef was about 5 or more years old. I also noticed that I had dead spots in this sand, that when stirred, it released hydrogen sulfide. I had bought a package deal on sand stirrers that was supposed to keep the sand stirred up but it did not work as expected. I have not kept a reef tank since 2005 and now I have a fresh water tank. There are people who are promoting the use of playsand for frershwater and I have my apprehenions about using that instead of gravel. Your thoughts?
You won't have any problems using Play sand in a FW tank. the issues you had with a Deep Sand bed and the hydrogen sulphide is just that. The deep sand bed is robbed of oxygen and turns the sand bed into a DeNitrator. The bacteria gorwn in there eats Nitrates, but creates Hydrogen Sulphide. If you keep your sand bed at 2" or less, yoiu will not have this issue. As far as stirring up the sand bed, well, thats entirely up to you, but if its a deep sand bed, you will always have that anearobic issue to deal with. I don't like using PLay Sand in a Reef tank because it has to many silicates in it, and if you get any bottom dwellers this will mess up their bellies.
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