Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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usmc121581 11-19-2006 02:14 PM

Colored sand.
Since I have gotten rid of my sand shifting goby's my sand around the base between the glass and the sand is turning green, pinkish. Whats the deal the sand depth is about 3 1/2" deep. I hadit happen before but want to know for future reference.

caferacermike 11-19-2006 06:29 PM

Your sand bed is doing it's thing. Sounds like the cyano bacteria is growing under the sand. I stir mine by hand once a week. Or you could add a few sand shifting stars.

usmc121581 11-19-2006 06:50 PM

I used to stir it up everysunday because I thought it was bad. No of the LFS could tell me what it was. I also have 2 large sand shifting stars. I just wanted to know what it was since I could never get a right answer.

bettababy 11-19-2006 09:37 PM

Actually, if it were cyano it would be more burgandy in color. What it sounds like is Coraline Algae growth, which is normal and not harmful to anything.
If in need of critters to help keep the sand bed clean, maybe try nassarius snails? These do an awesome job and are pretty easy to keep. They spend most of their time buried in the sand, and they eat a lot of detritus... comparable to the sand stars if not better. When they come up and go down into the sand, they're a blast to watch. You'll just want to be careful not to let them crawl on your skin, as whatever is in their slime will numb your hand, fingers, or whatever else they climb on. I found this out the hard way and it was a pretty disturbing feeling, even if it was harmless.

caferacermike 11-19-2006 09:49 PM

I'm positive it's cyano. Cyano comes in many colors, from pink to blue, green. USMC is stating that the color change is between his sand and glass. This means under the sand. Coraline does not grow there. I'll bet money that either bubbles can be seen or will be seen in a few more days right along side the "coloration". I can send pics of my tank doing exactly that. I can send pics from lfs around town with the same business going on.

bettababy 11-19-2006 09:53 PM

There is an easy way to tell which of the 2 it is... take your finger and slide it along the pink, green growth. If it is rough and doesn't simply wipe away, it would be coraline algae growth, if it is soft and wipes away easily, then it would be cyano.
Let us know what results you get please.

usmc121581 11-20-2006 06:47 AM


nassarius snails
I have a ton of these. I know when i did stir the sand around before I installed the canapy (harder to get to the bottom now) it would just mix/wipe away.


I'll bet money that either bubbles can be seen or will be seen in a few more days right along side the "coloration".
You right there are bubbles there, I have always stirred the sand up when the color and bubbles would show up. Now that I can't get to the bottom with out removing my hood it just has been getting real colorful there. Can you explain what is going on. Since LFS stores haven't been telling me and I would like to know for future reference.

caferacermike 11-20-2006 07:38 PM

It's due to a high organic load settling in your substrate. The dead space is allowing the cyano to flourish. Now comes the debate. Some say it is a good sign to see the bubbles and cyano, the signs of an active DSB. Basically proof that your sand bed is breaking down wastes as it should. Recently I've been reading a lot about DSB needing to be frequently turned over to release all the business back to the water for further removal. Essentially saying that if cyano is present in the DSB that your organic load is to high. Maybe your skimmer isn't up to the task. Maybe your GPH through your sump or fuge is to high. That has the effect of not allowing the skimmer to recycling the output and wisks it away to quickly, redepositing it into the tank. So from what I've been hearing lately is that when you see it happen plan a large water change. At the time of water change stir up the gravel as best you can and leave a few powerheads running. They will keep the detritus suspended while you siphon your water out. That's how I time my WC's. About once a week when I remember or once every other week if I notice the coloration.

usmc121581 11-20-2006 08:03 PM

What I have noticed ever since I upgrade to a 120gal. That my tank has depris floating around in it. When I had my 72 gallon it was crystal clear all the time, but this is a sign that I need a bigger skimmer which I'm in the process of researching which one to get. Then this is the reason I insert glass panels in my sump, before it would just go into the sump the skimmer wouldn't get all of it. So I decide to put panels up to block the water. So now my sump has 3 areas; 1-the skimmer area also with my magnum 350, 2-the refug. it has about 2" of live sand and full of calarupa, 3-the return pump. Since I did this the depris in the main tank is slowly dissappearing and I have to empty my skimmer 2x since thursday. I have also been doing water changes since we had that talk in another topic, this weekend I'm doing another one to get whatever depris is left in the main tank. How much would you say to do.

caferacermike 11-20-2006 11:00 PM

Don't quote me on WC volumes. I tend to do 10-20% depending on how I feel that day. Is it Boerneman or Calfo that says he does 95% WC weekly in a 200g show tank? I can't rememebr which said it but I know it really set the room ablaze at MACNA in Houston. Everyone was talking about it for weeks. He said his fish are now trained to lay flat on the bottom of the tank when they see the hose.

I'm averaging 15g once a week in a 75g and I still have a small amount of what you are describing. If I go 2 weeks between WC or gravel stirs I can see the beginings of the problem. But then again is it really a problem? I think it's only dangerous if left for months on end.

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