live sand and live rock questions. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-11-2007, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
live sand and live rock questions.

hey guys i'm currently planning out my new fishtank.
it's gonna be a 180 gallon fish only, but maybe live rock.
i'm really wondering what the benefit of live sand is. i know it helps with filtering, but i'm wondering if it is recommended or if crushed coral is good enough.

also i read somewhere about making your own live sand. can you make your own or do you have to buy it.
the thing i read talked about 30lb bags at home depot for $5. then you add something to it.
now i can't find it anywhere.

i'm going to be making a w/d sump out of 2 10 gal tanks.
i've read on here if you have live sand you don't need any other filtration cept for a protein skimmer
so if i go with live sand can i get away with one 10 gal tank with just a protein skimmer.

with the live rock i've read that i need one pound per gallon, so that is 180 pounds of live rock, how much will that cost????
can i add live rock after my tank is set up, or do i have to add it before i cycle the tank.
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-11-2007, 04:53 AM
technicly u dont, but when at the initial start id definatly recommend some type of filtration to talk off the load from the start, the typical (with filter) to cycle a tank is usually a month with no fish,i have an aquaNova 1500L/H cannister filter and in my 55gal tank i really dont think i could handle that stress of a weekly water change, but i also dont have a protein skimmer took me about 3 weeks to cycle my tank fully with fish and LR from the very start.definatly recoommend green chromos to cycle, they r such a placid fish.but it has been said b4 u can support a system with a protein skimmer but personally even in my breif experience i really would recommend u atleast start off with some type of filtration to avoid the ammonia spike + the 2nd cycle phaze and perhaps slowly remove the media filter and put the load back on the LR at a slow rate..thats how id do it if i was going to...
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-11-2007, 06:44 AM
Crushed coral is typically to large of a substrate. There are different grades. If it looks like crushed shells, don't get it. If it's ground all the way down to sugar grains it'll be all right if they are calling it CC. Aragonite is the good stuff. The larger bits will trap detritus and allow it to foul the tank. Depending upon where you live Home Depot does carry a really nice reef grade material. It is generally referred to as SouthDown in the concrete business. It is a sugar fine reef sand loaded with calcium and other trace minerals. It is a true ocean substrate. "play sand" is actually a terrestrial based crushed quartz or silica. Basically eroded earth that has been cleaned by the Oceans waves. But technically it is not "natural" to a reef zone. The silica contained within will forever cause algae issues. It's not recommended by anyone as a substrate. But if you can find Southdown go for it. The only problem I could see with it is that the grains are so fine you might have it blowing around your tank. Southdown is great for deep sand beds, 4" of sugar fine and 2" of aragonite and you've got a great system. But for a fish only I'd recommend a 1" sand bed just for aesthetics, not for filtration. You will probably got a minimal amount of bio active areas including some small micro fauna that will help to further break down wastes but not as serious as a DSB. With a FO system you'll probably end up with a large fish load so you don't want a sand bed that will trap wastes. A 1" bed will also naturally turnover and stay clean for you. You can easily save money by buying dry aragonite to use in the tank. Get 2 cups of substrate from the shop you buy at a week after setting up the tank. the sand will be loaded with bacteria that will seed the new sand.
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-11-2007, 02:08 PM
I highly recemend you do not use a 10 gallon sump. No skimmer for a 180 gallon tank will fit in a 10 gallon sump. I would recemend a 30 gallon long or somthing of that size. When i tried a 10 gallon sump i had microbubble problems so make sure you build some bubble reducing baffles in your sump. For a fish only you might want to add on a wet dry filter, but im not sure. If you have about 200 pounds of lr and a reely nice proteins skimmer than i dont think you would need a wet dry.
You were asking about how much 180 pounds of lr would cost, it will prolly be about a thousand dollars. But you may beable to buy it in bulk and get a good deal.
i dont see any reason for ls in a fish only but it couldent hurt, and like mike said dont go out and buy 180 pounds of live sand, just buy a whole bunch of aragonite sand and mix in a handfull of lr from an established system.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-11-2007, 03:19 PM
a sump for a 180 shoud be more like 40 gallons or more. and make sure you measure to make sure your protien skimmer will fit in it.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-11-2007, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
ok so to recap all that info.
with some livesand from my LFS
at least 40gal tank for the skimmer (not sure why i didn't think about how small the 10 gallon tank is)
only need an inch or two.

if i only have 1-2 inches of live sand, do i still need a wd filter?

also if the tank is 180g and the sump is 40g then when i do a 20% water change i drain out 44g
(180+40)*0.20 = 44

so would i just turn off my pumps and drain the sump then add water to the sump, get the water ready then turn everything back on?

thanks for the help, this is a great site. lots of info.

edit: oh and when i make my "overflow" i was wondering if i should take the water from the top of the tank or if lower would be better.
i was going to use some pvc pipe with a water pump to suck the water out of the tank.
if i keep the overflow at the top then i dont' have to worry much about syphon if the power goes out.
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-11-2007, 05:52 PM
First things first, your consept of and overflow is all wrong. If you did that you would have a disaster in a matter of seconds. Think about it. If you have a pump pumping water down to your tank and you have a pump pumping water back up to the tank, what if the pumps arent pumping exactaly the same amount? Than you would flood your tank or your sump and end up with a mess. An overflow is exactaly that, the water that comes from your sump overflows back into the sump. They come either built into the tank or a hang on version. I recemend the built in kind cause there quiet.
For your question about the water change, im not sure the recemended amount for a fowl but if you have a good skimmer you wont need to change too much water. Now that we are talking about skimmer have you any idea what skimmer your gunna use? Your skimmer is gunnna set you back a bit. Im sure mike can recemend a good one. Maybe a used one for like 300 bucks.
You asked if you would need a wet/dry if you had an inch of live sand. That sand bed isent gunna do much for filtration. But if you have 180-200 pounds of lr and a good skimmer than i dont think you will need a wet/dry. But if you cant afford that much lr and deside to do fake decorations you will need a wet/dry.
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-11-2007, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
all you need is a ball valve to regulate water flow.

the price of skimmer doesn't matter. i can afford it. if not i wouldn't be buying a 180g tank.

i will be making my own wet dry cause i can't bring my self to spend a few hundred dollars on a tank with some bio balls and a sponge.
i know there is more to a wet dry but really it's just that, a tank with bio balls and a sponge...
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-11-2007, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
now that you bring it up i guess i could just make my intake syphon the water, and have a pump to put the water back in the tank, but i will still need a ball valve to regulate the flow.

that would save some money. i'd like to use two pumps that way i'm making sure that the flow is about the same.

any idea how many gph a 1.5" pvc pipe would syphon?
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-11-2007, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
what kind of skimmer would you recommend. a few years ago when i had my 125 fresh water set up i was going to make it salt water and i was looking at the berlin skimmers.

according to fosters and smith the one i would need is only $200. so what ones are $300 used?
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