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Discussion Starter #1
I have only done water change since changing my substrate over to live sand last week. I did it by just scooping water out. I have a syphon hose like this http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produ...ll&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Np=1&N=2004&Nty=1 left over from my freshwater setup.

Is it recommended to use this with live sand? I'm concerned that I would suck the good microbacteria out of the sand. Of course I would never use it to fill the tank with tap water.

Sorry if this is a dumb question. Thanks.
 

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I was just about to ask the same thing. When cleaning a reef tank do we move the sand or not? I have a few guys that clean up the sand but is that enough?
 

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I never touch my sand when I do water changes or clean my tank.
 

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are you telling us not to clean the sand??? what about left-over food and feces from the fish? how are those supposed to come out the tank???
I allways siphon the sand. Im not an expert but common sense tells me to get the bad things (feces left-overs) out.
 

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I have 4 starfish and over 1500gals/hr being pumped though the rock work, so what happens is that all the waste is either eatin or gets sucked into the over flow box's and into the sump to be skimmed out. Most reef keepers have a 3" or more sand bed and that is also another way of filtering the water. A deep sand bed breaks down nitrates into a gas form which escapes the sand bed and escapes out the top of the tank. it is not good to desturb a sand bed deep as it will release toxins and make a tank crash. Now if its less then 3"'s then you wont do any harm siphoning out the sand, but I believe you might remove alot of benificial bacteria doing so.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I only have about a 1 inch sand bed and I tend to stir the top of it up a little every few days with my hand. This is mainly because my algae blenny leaves tons of excrement everywhere. Is this a bad practice?
 

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absolutely do not stir live sand in reef. what happens if you do not have a very dense sand bed is you will get nitrate pockets buildups and if you aggitate the sand before the live sand can decompose it on its own it will all release into your system and that will mean the end of the system. Also make sure you have a lb of sand per gal. at least
 

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Andre said:
absolutely do not stir live sand in reef. what happens if you do not have a very dense sand bed is you will get nitrate pockets buildups and if you aggitate the sand before the live sand can decompose it on its own it will all release into your system and that will mean the end of the system. Also make sure you have a lb of sand per gal. at least
No its alright to stir up the sand when you only have about 1-3" of sand . This is because the oxygen kills off the bacteria that breaks down the nitrate. Now what you said is true for 3" or more of sand. :D
 

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Andre said:
well i have a six and i know from past experience BAD IDEA.
Yeah Im totally with you on that. It is a bad idea but with only 3" or more as the oxygen cant reach into the sand that deep.
 

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I would say about 2-40lb bags.
 

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generally the rule of thumb is 1LB of sand to 1 Gallon of water. Now depending on the shape of your tank you may need to double that. Remember the thicker the bed of sand the finer that your sand particles should be so you dont make it possible for nitrate pockets.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I followed what my LFS recommended and went with 40lbs for my 38 gallon tank. This ended up being a little more than 1 inch sand bed. I have a rectangular tank.
 

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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.
 
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