04-09-2007, 12:46 PM
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With a proper amount of flow in the tank (all to common is the lack there of) your 1" sand bed will be fine. It is typical for new reefers to get started using only an aesthetic sand bed and there is nothing wrong with that. The problems start around 3". Someone not familiar with the idea of how a live sand bed helps the tank might go in and disturb it regularly. One thing to keep in mind about a salt tank compared to a fresh tank is that there are jillions of organisms in the sand that EAT the left over detritus further breaking it down into coral food. However you need enough flow in the tank so that not all of the detritus lands on the floor and rots.
With a 1" sand bed I say turn it over by hand every few months or with each water change. The water will cloud up but will be fine in 24hours. This releases trapped bits for creatures to eat or be filtered out. No need to hassle yourself with trying to vacum it.
UNLESS you plan to run a heavy bioload fish only tank full of predators like lion fish or groupers, all would be a bad idea in a 40g tank. They will overwhelm the sand bed and pollute it quickly.