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FAQs about Deep Sand Beds 3

Related Articles: Deep Sand Beds, Marine System Substrates (Gravels, Sands) by Bob Fenner, Marine Substrate Options by Sara Mavinkurve, Live Sand, Biological FiltrationBiominerals in Seawater, Understanding Calcium & AlkalinityNitrates in Marine Aquariums

Related FAQs: DSBs 1, DSBs 2, DSBs 4, DSBs 5, DSBs 6, DSBs 7,  & FAQs on: Rationale/Use, Dangers, Physical Make-Up, Biological Make-Up, Size, Location, Depth, Conversion to/from, Maintenance/ Replacing/Adding To, & Live Sand FAQsFAQs 2Live Sand 3, Identification, Selection/DIY, Systems/Placement, BiotaMaintenance,  & Marine Substrates, Live Sand, Mud Filtration 1 Plenums Nitrates in Marine Aquariums, Refugium Substrates/DSBs,


Depth of DSB 7/7/03 First, Anthony and Bob; I'm enjoying your new book. A lot of very interesting reading. Anthony, thanks for the inscription. <very welcome my friend... thank you :)> In it you bring up that 3 inches of sugar size sand is the min. for NNR. Do you have any studies that back that up? Want to know for when I am talking to people about their tanks. <Dr Rob Toonen has released some prelim data on such matters... will have full report soon I hear. Other data exists (some of the original work) from French academic aquarists in France dating back to the late 1980's/early 1990's (Jaubert, Ounais). To be honest though... I'm really speaking from a decade of practical experience. I used 48,000 lbs of the sugar fine aragonite sand for my mariculture facility. Heehee... this combined with similar reports from colleagues led me/us to the statements> The other question is about the "half-life" of 18 to 24 months you bring up on page 36. I've not seen that in any of my tanks with aragonite DSBs. <indeed... 'tis because of the commonly variable pH that works in the favor of aquarists in this case (not dissolving the sand consistently/fast enough... but at the expense of dissolved bio-minerals)> I have a number of tanks with 3 or more inches of aragonite that are 2 to 3 years old and do not seem to show that in any of them. <without a Ca reactor, such tanks usually do not have fast coral growth either (scleractinians). No worries at any rate> Could this be caused by having too many borrowing detritivores or animals like pistol shrimp? Thanks, Ray Pollett <no my friend... really just a matter of adequate water flow and various faculties to dissolve the material. A matter of grain size too if larger. Kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Live Sand Bed 7/5/03 Anthony, <cheers, my friend> Thanks for the info on the LSB and your usual prompt response. <always welcome :) > Still can't believe you guys respond as quickly as you do--and today's even a holiday! Any ideas as to where one might locate large quantities of the sugar-fine aragonite?   <Caribbean white child's play sand from the DIY store (Home Depot or the like) is really quite fine. Perhaps you've heard of the SouthDown brand on the message boards?> Locals only seem to carry the SeaFlor.   <Hmmm... do browse the online catalogs for brands that carry what you like (like CaribSea)... then contact the mfg for the closest dealer to you... let them work a little for your money ;) > Also, any length of time to wait before adding the sand stirrers, live sand, to the new substrate? <Hard to say... perhaps 6 months or more... especially for the sea cucumbers> Mix in live sand or simply add to top of bed? <Simply dump on top... and do resist predaceous fishes for many months. Let the DSB establish well first> Thx again. <Kind regards, Anthony>

Deep Sand Bed and Aiptasia control Hello, <Hi Rodrigo, Don here today> I have no words to appreciate all the benefits everyone can get here in your web site. Thanks a lot. <Thank you, it is an honor for me to be a small part of this> I have very high nitrates (huge)  in my reef tank. Everything looks fine with the fish and corals but reading here I just notice that my sand bed is in the range where you say is not good (1" to 2"). My tank is 29gal (the base 30" x 12"). I am planning to increase the deep to 3" or 4" using the Southdown Sand. Is this sounds good? <I would go 4+ while you are at it.> I am planning to do a 50% water change this weekend that I haven't done since 6 months ago. <Yes, likely a major part of the problem. If you can, changing 3-4 gallons weekly will do wonders with the water quality> May I ask you how to mix the new sand with the existing one? I thinks some of the actual sand is fine but also some it is not that fine (not coarse either). Or should I put the new sand over the old sand? Maybe I should do the opposite? Right now I have a couple of Maroon Clown fishes and a bicolor Pseudochromis so I think these guys are hardy enough to resist some chemistry changes. I also have skimmer, AquaClear with Polyfilter and Chemipure. <If the existing sand is < 2mm then I think I would go right over the top, a little at a time.> I have a second question: I have some Aiptasia, like 10 of them. One month ago I tried to introduce a peppermint shrimp but the Pseudochromis bicolor bothered him until he died. Should I remove the bicolor from the tank? The Aiptasia looks very ugly. <Check here for more info on controlling Aiptasia: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm Hope this helps, Don> Thank you very much, Rodrigo.

Nano No-No's? Scott, <Hi there!> That was quick!  :)  Thank you very much for the quick reply.  I have some questions for clarification... <Sure- ask away, my friend> It seems you place more importance on DSB than live rock in this setup.  Does DSB serve dual functions (nitrification on upper layer and denitrification on lower layer)?  If that is true, then is 3" sand (instead of 4" for water volume issue) and 5 lb of live rock good combination (again water volume issue)? <That's my take on it...In fact, make it over 3 inches for best results...> I read 1 - 1.25 lb live rock per gallon of water as rule of thumb.  But if DSB can help in nitrification too, above combination maybe best considering the water volume issue or do I still need at least 7lb of live rock (after DSB, it would definitely hold less than 12 gal of water) in addition to 3" DSB?  Or would still you go for 4" sand and 5lb or 7lb live rock? <I'd go for 4 inches of sand, and whatever amount of rock you choose...remembering, of course, the displacement that these materials will cause> Grain size: I saw CaribSea aragonite.  The bag said 1 -2 mm grain size but it definitely looked more coarse than that and was not uniform size.  Grain size similar to sugar powder is the best size for DSB? <I like the so-called "sugar fine" grade, which is from 0.2 mm-1.0 mm> Critters:  You mentioned just a couple of snails.  You would not trust hermit crabs in the small set up (may try to eat shrimp or bother clowns)?  I think snails and shrimp will help with detritus (and some sand sifting with Nassarius or Bumble bee snails) <I'd go for the Nassarius and maybe some Trochus or Strombus - Bumble Bees are cool to look at, but t hey don't do much for your system, IMO> and was considering hermit crab for sand sifting, but if they will likely bother other creatures like Banded Coral Shrimp, I will forget about them.  I remember reading red legged ones are nicer than blue one or the opposite. <Well, I love those little crabs, but they sometimes snack on the snails! Counterproductive in a small tank, if you ask me!> Should I stir sand manually once a week?  Both upper and lower layers? <If you are running 3 inches or less, you may want to stir the top layer once in a while. Personally, in a 4 inch bed, I just let it be> Dumb question: The water inlet strainer for Eclipse pump.  I currently have it come as close to the bottom as possible.  I should do the same with DSB (as close as possible to surface of sand) for better water circulation and allow it to suck in detritus? <Actually, I'd probably trim the intake to get it just a bit farther off of the sand. In a tank this small, manual extraction (i.e. siphoning during H20 changes) of detritus is still the best way...> Thanks, Kevin <My pleasure, Kevin...Good luck with your efforts. You might want to check out this site dedicated to nano-nuts: http://www.nano-reefs.com/    Regards, Scott F.>

Deep (dry?) sandbed >Good morning O-fish-al advisors! >>And a good afternoon to you, Richard!  Marina here. >I have been wondering about my DSB. My 55 gallon reef tank has been set up for about 6 months now. The bed varies from about 4 to 7 inches. The bottom 3/4 or so is very fine play sand and the top quarter is sugar fine aragonite.  When the tank was set up , I put the sand in first and then poured water in on top of a plate to allow the least amount of sand to go flying around. My question is: with such fine sand, did water ever get to the lower reaches of the bed? Is this necessary and should I have made sure that all of the sand was wet to begin with? >>No worries, you can be fairly certain that the water was wet enough and of proper viscosity to saturate throughout. >It's difficult to tell what's wet from the front glass, though I do seem to remember seeing what I'll call some internal condensation at the lower reaches of the tank for the first few months after it was set up. I don't think that this still exists. My nitrates were at zero for quite some time. I haven't checked them lately. I just figured that between my protein skimmer, live rock and DSB, my de-nitrification was going along well. Opinions? Thanks! >>I think that if your DSB is well-established, and sufficiently fine, then you should actually be seeing gas pockets.  Also, consider nixing the skimming, this can remove many of the planktonic/microbial critters that you are growing in your DSB.  Most folks I know who go sans foam fractionation are utilizing a full-on refugium, if you have a sump that you can baffle (no, not confuse) to create areas of low flow then you should be able to convert it.  Just go to the home page and look up the set up section of the marine aquarium articles for lots of information on refugia.  Best of luck!  Marina

Calcium reactor, UV, Ozone Hi again, <Hello to you, JasonC here...> I have a simple one this time. I am constructing a FOWLR. Will this benefit from having a calcium reactor? <Not especially.> Will the presence of calcium help me grow a more diverse range of "things" on the live rock or in the sand (I plan to have a deep sand bed too). <It would pay to keep the calcium in a decent range, but you could achieve that with additives. Calcium reactors become more useful when you have organisms that consume large amounts of calcium.> Will a UV sterilizer help or hinder a DSB and LR? <Don't think it will affect it either way, but in general more useful for hospital and quarantine tanks.> I want to use ozone, how do I know what size of unit to buy? <Buy what you can afford WITH the controller.> I cant find much on that. I plan to use an ORP controller so that will take care of things for me but I don't want to buy a unit that is too big or small. <Most of the small units available to aquarists are too small to get into big trouble with.> Thanks, Adam L <Cheers, J -- >

Fighting conch vs. DSB - Strombus alatus 6/22/03 Hey Gang! shouting "howdy" from Denver! <right back atcha Tex!> Anthony, the LFS sold me a fighting conch after I asked for something to keep a sand bed stirred up. The little conch disappeared under the sand. Did the LFS sell me a good DSB critter or? <perhaps... this Strombus species grows medium large (4-5"... or 10+ cm) and is rather clumsy in the reef. Like all Strombids, they do not fare well in tanks with a lot of rock and need enormous amounts of deep live sand to survive long term (say 100 gall mostly sand 6"+ for lifetime). They eat both algae and meaty fare... rarely if even bother cnidarians and are fairly good at aerating sand> They said it would get about the size of my fist, but would take quite a while for it to get there. <agreed> Also, I got a great deal ($45) on another 70 gallon tank with a double iron stand, while I've been thinking 'bout a lion fish to put in there, I've also been wondering if it would be overkill to put the 70 gallon reef display over the 70 gallon, if I turned it into fuge/sump. <actually sounds cool for stability if the fish 70 is not overfed... and lions are large but infrequent feeders. Could work nicely> Having a great day & hope you are as well! Stormbringer <to you in kind my friend. Anthony>

Re: Where to put DSB, need help with skimmer adjustment. >Hi - Thanks for all the help.   >>Hello, and you're welcome.  Marina tonight. >I'm setting up a 180 Gal reef tank, and moving very slowly.  I'm currently in the process of curing 250 lbs of live rock.  I plan on getting 50 to 100 lbs more.  I'm curing the rock in a 70gal Rubbermaid trough and my 140 gal sump using a Fluval 404 filter and my Aqua-C EV240 skimmer. (All the filtration setup is in my basement - the tank is above the basement and I'll cut two holes in the floor for water moving between the basement and upstairs.) I'm having a little trouble getting the skimmer adjusted.   I always seem to be turning the outflow value one way or the other.  But I'm starting to get some good dark skimmate. So far - that's all good. >I also just got 400 lbs of Southdown sand (I live on the west coast - Seattle) but found someone on a newsgroup that had purchased a skid.  My question is about the DSB.  I'm a little concerned about putting the DSB in the tank (60x30 - x 24 high).  I'm thinking about putting the DSB in a Rubbermaid trough that's a 50 gal - about 28 inches wide and 48 inches long.  So I would have slightly less area (and consequently slightly less surface) but I could make a slightly deeper bed with the same amount of sand.   >>I've seen it done, and it works great. >My concern is detritus getting into the sand.  At some point it seems that the sand is going to be filled with gunk and have to be churned/cleaned.  It will be easier to do that in a trough that in the tank.   >>No, you do NOT want to do this with a DSB.  Please see here (and follow other links for more information, also, see the setup section of our marine aquarium articles on the home page at http://www.wetwebmedia.com   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm >So if I have the room and ability to locate the DSB outside of the tank, is that preferable to being in the tank itself? >>That's a matter of personal preference.  You would do better to use animals like sandsifting sea stars and cucumbers to handle the detritus and stirring issues, but part of the *reason* for having a DSB is to gain the anaerobic area that will allow natural denitrification.  If you stir the bed up on a regular basis, you have just defeated its purpose.  The tubs, a refugium, or within the sump and/or tank will all work just fine.  FYI, the system in which I saw the tubs being used (within the sump) was on a 150gal, and the sump is UNDER the house (no basements in Cali, mate).  This guy has an AWESOME system, and he uses the DSB tubs to put his frags and/or the corals that are not doing well.  They tend to come back in there.  Also, he has much macroalgae in this section of the system.  Hope this helps!  Marina >Thanks for answering all my questions so quickly and thoroughly!

Deep sand bed Hi guys, <Howdy, Don with you today> Happy Tuesday J <Thanks!> When we put our 55 gallon Reef Aquarium together I zoned out and used a crushed coral substrate. I don't know what I was thinking. <I spend my entire day wondering the same thing <G> > Anyway, I want to make a deep sand bed (3 inches or so). Will my tank cycle again if I use new sand? Is there a way to do this without cycling the tank? We have an anemone, so I don't want to rock that boat. <You don't mention how much live rock you have. You will likely see a slight cycle depending on load. I would have as much aged, aerated water available as you can to do water changes during this process. Do you have a plan for changing the substrate? Just 'pouring' in the sugar fine sand is likely to be a dangerous/frustrating experience as a silt storm will result. The best approach is to empty the tank into holding bins with a high volume pump. Swap the substrate, and refill the tank. 30 minutes tops if you plan things well. BTW, 3" is in the danger zone for a DSB, more than 4" with 5-6 being ideal.> Also, how long does it usually take for a clownfish to find the host anemone? <Could be immediate, could be never, depending on the individuals> Thanks! What a wonderful resource you have here!!! <And I am humbled at being a part of it. Ta Ta, Don.>   C Evans.

Goin' Deep (DSB Questions) Wow Scott, asking that substrate question just opened a larger can of worms. <Rinse them thoroughly before feeding them to your fish...LOL> I've been reading over the FAQs re: sand beds all morning and am thoroughly confused. <Welcome to my world, man!> First let me tell you more about my setup if I may.  I have a 125g tank with an Ocean Clear Canister filter supplied by a Blueline 1100 gph pump.  I didn't know any better at the time and followed the advice of the LFS to have the tank drilled through the bottom for the intakes and returns (two of each). <Doesn't sound too bad to me...Can be modified (?) to work with a sump, maybe? Lot's of potential here...> This is what's making the planning of live rock so difficult.  Trying to figure out how to arrange it and not block the returns.  Both returns are aimed at the surface for surface agitation.  I have also installed two air stones in the back corners for more water movement.  I have a Remora Pro skimmer that produces a couple of cups of dark stinky stuff every couple of days. <Excellent- dark, stinky skimmate is a thing of beauty!> I also have an Emperor 400 that I keep carbon and Polyfilter in.. <Polyfilter rocks! Best sure to rotate out the carbon and Poly Filter regularly> I cut the carbon out of the filter pads and rotate in new clean ones (bleached and dried) with water changes.  I believe I have at least 10 times water turnover per hour.  I have 120 pounds of crushed coral substrate that is probably close to 2 inches in depth. I think I finally figured out why I had such persistent algae. < Me, too! You're on to something here...keep going> Now, I was reading in the DSB FAQs that in FO tanks there can be a lot of detritus accumulation in the sand bed which would fuel algae. <Well, there certainly can be. However, a well managed deep sand bed (with occasional light stirring/siphoning of only the top 1/2" of sand can avoid any potential problems...You don't want to disturb a DSB> What would be my best bet? Bleach and reduce the amount of my existing crushed coral, or go with sand.  If I go with sand, since it is fish only, should it be around 1/2 inch deep or go ahead with the 4 inches? <Well, either would work. I have kept many tanks successfully both ways. Take also into account the kinds of fishes that you are keeping. If you are a Goatfish or Dragon Wrasse fan, or keep other fishes which dig  deeply into the sand bed, this may not be such a good idea. I kind of like the DSB look, some people don't like the aesthetics of the "ant farm" effect that a DSB can show. Frankly, I would go with the DSB. When used in conjunction with regular water changes, filter media replacement (really important in a system designed around largely mechanical filter systems), and overall good husbandry techniques, you should be fine. Sorry to keep bothering you on this holiday weekend. <Believe me, man- not a problem! Your talking to a guy who gets excited about making twice weekly water changes and cleaning his skimmer regularly...Glad to be of service!> Thanks again for all of you help. Vince <Any time, Vince! Have fun, whichever route you choose! Regards, Scott F>

Sand Storm Hi how are you guys today? I have a question regarding sand. I am setting up a 55 gal reef with DSB I have added the sugar fine sand without rinsing it. I had thought I read to do that somewhere. <Quite likely here, and possibly from me.> WOW what a cloud in my tank. It did settle down and I am running a canister filter on it to try to take some out. <No, you don't want to do that. The dust is good. It buffers your water and makes a very good place for bacteria to colonize (smaller particles = greater surface area for bacterial colonization.> The thing that I am wondering about is will the fine powder eventually compact to a solid and not allow the benefits of the DSB? <Not unless you have pound upon pound of it, which is pretty unlikely.> Should I remove and rinse? <No.> Or will everything work out with time? <Give it time, remember, nothing good happens fast in a reef tank. Good things come to those who wait.> Thanks Dennis Vigliotte <You're welcome Dennis. Have a good weekend, PF><<I'd pre-rinse... RMF>> Deepening a Deep Sand Bed I have a 90 gal tank setup since 1/10/03. Currently I have 1 coral beauty and a variety of Turbos, dwarf and scarlet hermits. I am not in a rush to stock. <Good> I have 90 lbs of Kaelini rock and a 2- 3" fine sand bed. I now know that this depth should be at least 4". I want to use extra fine aragonite sand. Can I add this sand a bag at a time allowing the nitrifying bacteria to catch up before adding more? Will it be okay to do this with inhabitants in the tank? thanks <One bag at a time, or all at once, it's up to you.  You will want to rinse it really well and pour it in slowly and carefully to avoid a sand storm.  My front porch currently looks like a beach from rinsing sand a little too aggressively. -Gage>

Deep sand bed conversion 5/14/03 Thanks Anthony, How much of the existing sand would you re use? <use all on top of the new "sterile" sand if you like> I have read that some people use only from the top 1", yet when I look up at the tank from inside the cabinet, that is where I can see a lot of the worms and life. Some suggest rinsing it? <if its in good condition (has not been allowed to accumulate excessive detritus) I would not rinse it> Any tricks to keeping the unused sand for a few months since I would like to use it in a new tank I am setting up? <strong water flow and feeding actually (source of organic matter)> My quarantine is out of the question (copper). A bucket with an aerator and circulating pump? <yes... but spread out a bit... shallow plastic storage containers work well (as for under beds)> Once I make the switchover how long would you wait before bringing the fish back in? <2-4 weeks if chemistry agrees> Thanx again, Ken <always welcome. Anthony>

DSB Color Hi, I've got a 55-gallon FOWLR tank with 5 inches of live sand, about 60 pounds of live rock, a protein skimmer and 3 power heads. The system has been up and running for about 8 months and I've noticed an increasing amount of color against the glass in the DSB. It's very colorful (green, purple, black) but not very pleasing to the eye. Is this something to be concerned about and should I do something to correct this, or is this natural? <Yes, this is very natural. I put a strip of wood trim to match the stand around the bottom of my tank. Hope this helps, Don> Tim

Move to a Sand Bed Peace to you... <Hi, Don here today> I was considering moving my 60 gallon FOWI tanks to a FOWLR setup. I currently am using a coral substrate and want to get rid of this and use a sand bed instead as I read that it is much more stable in the nitrification process. This is my setup... Prime Canister filter Power heads x 2 UGF filter Air pump Coral substrate Some calcareous rocks from the sea few damsels blennies and clowns 3 shrimp 1 anemone I am currently looking out for a skimmer. -------------------------- I am considering driving down to a spot on the reefs on the East coast to collect some Live Sand and rocks which a friend has directed me to go to. Will this be ok if quarantined properly? There are no laws in this country regarding this coz saltwater hobbyists are extremely scarce. Will there be an ammonia spike if I do this ?  Could you give a run down on what needs to be done to make the move with minimum impact on my little ones. <There is no way I would recommend this. Too many possible problems. Unwanted critters, parasites, etc. Best to start new. Yes you would get an ammonia spike. I would move the fish you have to QT or secondary tank, add the new sand and rock, and wait for it to cycle. I would wait for the skimmer as well before starting this.> Thank You <You are welcome, Don> Personal Regards Lyndon

Deep Sand Beds >Dear Marina, >>Good evening, Mohammed. >thank you very very much for your fast reply. It is nice to speak to an expert, and know that their advice will do more good than bad. >>Thank you for such high compliments, Mohammed, although I must protest, I only resemble an expert. ;)   >I just wanted to ask you the following: a) Are you saying that I should remove everything and start again with DSB?  If that is the case then I will have to find a home for all my animals, corals, and live rock. >>Not necessary.  You should first acquire the sand, wash it to remove the very finest of silt, and carefully add it to your tank.   As I mentioned previously, a sand that is calcareous in nature will help in two ways, not the least of which is the capacity to buffer the alkalinity of the water.  You will first remove your crushed coral.  This is a good reason to do a HUGE water change, by the way.  Then add your freshly, well-washed sand VERY gently and carefully, so as not to cover too much with it.  If it's very fine, much will stay in suspension for quite some days--simply give it time, and it will settle out. Then just squirt it off the animals.  Remember (and refer to the links within the links) that you'll have to give this time to grow all the bacteria.  In the meantime, you can try using your friends' water, see if that makes a difference. >b) Is skimming a must? because this system is at my work, and noise is a no no !!! Skimmers are a bit noisy. If I have to add one, then I will, however, I would rather not. >>Understood.  No, skimmers are not a "must", they do help greatly, but it is certainly possible to keep a system (especially a nano) without them.  You will have to make up the difference with water changes, plan on doing 50%/week (5 gallons, not too bad) instead. >c) If I keep the crushed coral, and never vacuum it again, then is that the same as a DSB? >>No, it is not.  A DSB means specifically *sand*, and coral is far too large to create the anaerobic layer vital to denitrification.  Sugar fine to 1-2mm sizes can be used, I recommend something on the fine side because this is a nano. >d) Is there any other suggestions you can give me other than the sand-bed and the skimmer, or are those my only solutions? >>Please read these links, and the links that are included within for an idea of the scope of solutions and applications, one of the links, if I recollect correctly, speaks on algal filtration methods. >come to think about it, my friend does have a DSB. >I did a couple of tests on my tank water, and even took a water sample to my LFS to be tested, and everything is fine. >>Good to know, though it's helpful to know what was tested, and exact readings. >The sand-bed idea does sound reasonable, however, I want to make sure that it will work before I go disassembling everything to add the sand. >>Again, read up and you'll see there's no need.  Besides, you have to place the rock in before the sand anyway (never build rockwork on top of a DSB), so that makes it even more practical.  Just remember it takes time to get going.  Marina AGA Overflows and DSB Hi to everyone, Love your site. Ditto to all the superlatives about you guys (and gals). Quick question.  I am currently setting up a Reef tank (65 gal. AGA with 2 corner overflows). The problem I came across is this: the AGA corner overflows have a row of inflow slits that are located only 3" above the tank bottom. Could I just keep the DSB at three inches around these openings or should I try to "block" them with some live rock. The goal obviously is to have a 4-6" DSB. I'm sure I am not the only one who has come across this problem. Your opinion as to how best to handle these overflow slits would be greatly appreciated. Tom <Ah yes, I would use some black silicone and seal those hummers off myself, but that's just me. You might want to jump over to WetWebFotos.com (the WWM forums) and search the forums for AGA overflow questions, you will likely see several pertaining to this issue. A good chance one of our AGA owners will chime in as well. I wouldn't want my DSB making it's way inside my overflow boxes. Craig>

Mixing Up A New Substrate> I haven't bugged you guys in a while - so I thought I was about due. <Never a bother! This is what we do! Scott F. cruisin' on the laptop tonight> I am moving next week and thought it would be a great opportunity to replace my 5 year old 40g FOWLR with a new 45 with a brace since my old 40 has a few chips out of a corner and is bowing too much for comfort. <I hear ya! Good idea> I know it'd be nicer to take the opportunity to upgrade to a larger tank but I am a poor law student and the 45 with same dimensions will still fit my stand and PC fixture (and the brace will be added comfort).  I am also going to build a sump/fuge. I plan on putting a DSB in the fuge with some macro - along with my skimmer and heater. In my current 40 I have about 4" of crushed coral that is full of pods and spaghetti worms that have developed over the years and I don't want to lose all that life when I switch tanks because I'm going with sand in the new tank (less than 1/2"). Can I put the old crushed coral in my fuge with the DSB? on top of the DSB? under the DSB? mixed with the DSB? Which combination would work best - or am I better off just sticking 6" of Southdown in there alone with some macro and LR rubble, let new life grow, and pitch the crushed coral (and all that is within it)? <Well, there are a lot of schools of thought about DSBs. A larger particle size is very good for copepods and other larger benthic organisms. Typically, many worm species do not do well in crushed coral substrates, so you're ahead of the curve here! If you are looking to a DSB for denitrification purposes, I'd stick to a fine oolithic sand at 4-6 inches of depth. I agree- why waste all of the life forms that have reproduced so fruitfully over the years, so I think that I'd go with a relatively shallow layer of the crushed coral in the 'fuge, and add a 4-6 inch DSB in the display, if you can handle that. Otherwise, your plan of "seeding" the other sand isn't such a bad idea. There is no absolute rule as to how to do things here...> Secondly, believe it or not, I have a UGF under my crushed coral (at the insistence of my LFS - although I'm sure it didn't hurt). I have not cleaned under it since I put it there almost 5 years ago. I can only imagine the sludge that will be there when I tear down the tank. Would that "sludge" be of use in a sump under the sand? <Well, the organic material that accumulated under the UGF plate is probably best left out of the system. The potential for a large influx of undesirable substances, such as hydrogen sulfide, nitrates, etc. is too great to ignore. I'd just seed the new substrate with some of the old stuff...Should do the trick> Sorry for the long email for short questions . . . THANKS. <Good luck with your plans! I'm sure that it'll work well for you! Regards, Scott F>

Prep for DSB Hello Again,<Howdy> Just the one quick question: Do I have to clean/remove any growing algae's etc from the tank bottom? does the tank bottom have to be spotless before placing in the sand.<It would be a good idea to clean the bottom before adding sand so any algae that gets buried doesn't die off and become ammonia.  Cody> Regards Lee DSB Hi Bob (I hope it's Bob) <Tis> I just read your exchange with Steve Walker regarding the set up of his custom 825 gallon tank. My question is this, with so much controversy over DSB lifespan, wouldn't it be wiser for him to go with a bare bottom or minimal sand?  He is going to have a large refugium with DSB and an enormous live rock capacity.  I am already worried about my barely cycled DSB giving up the ghost down the line and that's with just a 55 gal tank.  I would have a heart attack if I had to redo a 825!!!  Thanks and keep up the good work, I love this site. Jerry <Thank you for this... I suspect (strongly) that in the course of rinsing and placing all this sand and consequently the rock, that Steve will have plenty to think about re this possibility. Have actually seen much larger (public) aquariums with DSB's, plenums... Like many endeavors, there is correspondingly less work (relatively) with increasing size... not too hard over the course of a few good sized water changes to vacuum out a good part of the substrate with a good-sized diameter length of tubing. Bob Fenner>

DSB Bob, I appreciated Jerry's question, and your response.  I can't say I'm excited about rinsing 2000+ lbs of sand, but as you suggested, when it comes time to replenish/replace - I will always have the option to 'go thin'.   <Yes> To the question of DSB lifespan, it occurs to me that I have made a rather large assumption about my DSB design and I had better flush it out (no pun intended) sooner rather than later.  Am I correct in assuming/understanding that DSB lifespan is, in part, a function of its rate of dissolution? <Yes>   Or asked differently, if the rate at which the DSB dissolves is reduced, will it remain viable longer? <Affirmative> If this assumption is valid, is it reasonable to assume that I can reduce the rate of dissolution of the main DSB (1000+ lbs of sand) by adding a second large DSB (another 1000 lbs of sand) in the refugium(s)? <Correct> Could this strategy serve to extend the life of the main DSB by any meaningful amount of time (recognizing both DSBs will dissolve at an equal, but slower, rate)?   <Yes, could easily double plus> Anthony estimates in his book that the half life of the DSB is 18-24 months - hence the reason for my dreaming/scheming to find a way to extend the interval for what will certainly be a significant maintenance event. <I agree with this value and your concern/thinking. Bob Fenner> Thanks again for your thoughts. Steve  

Replacing the sand bed Hello, My name is Lee and I live in Melbourne Australia. Before I get into the question I want to ask, I just want to compliment everyone involved with the WWM website, it is by far the most informative, professional website that I have yet in counted, and believe me I have seen a few ! <Thank you much for the kind words> Now, my question is "Can you add a DSB to an existing reef aquarium? If so what are the risks involved if any, and what would be the best way of going about it. <Yes you can add DSB. I recently went through this and tried the large diameter PVC pipe to act as a funnel, I tried putting the sand and water into large plastic bags and set the bags in the aquarium and cut open to allow sand to flow out. Both of these techniques failed miserably for me. Large amounts of silt all over the tank, really a mess. The best I believe is to get enough containers to hold the volume of water in the tank, pump the water out and remove the livestock, put in the new sand bed and refill the water. If you are organized and have a large enough pump, it should not take more than 30-45 minutes. You want to end up with a bed that is no less than 4" and around 6" is better.> My setup: Tank is 461 litres with built in overflow. Custom made Trickle Filter with Bio Balls and a 72 litre sump. 50kg of Live Rock. 15kg Base Rock. Pond Master 2800 tank return in sump. Custom made Protein Skimmer. (Venturi, and assisted with a Otto 200 Power Head) Korallin 1502-C Calcium Reactor, vacuum pump and pre-filter. KNOP reactor media Rainbow Lifeguard 25watt UV Sterilizer (Connected to aquarium return line) Fluval 404 Canister Filter for additional filtration For water movement I have two Otto 200 for bottom circulation and two Otto 600 for mid water and top of water column. Each of these is place either side of the built in overflow which is central on one end. 300watt heater. Pin Point PH Monitor (PH 8.2) Two twin overhead light reflectors: Power-Glo Marine-Glo Tri-Phos Actinic     (All are 37 watt) Bio Load consists of: 2 Banded Coral Shrimp 1 Bi-Colour Angel 2 Ocellaris Clownfish Chelmon rostratus 2 Turbo Snails 1 Blue Starfish 1 Anemone 6-7 Soft and Hard Corals. Ammonia 0mg/l - Nitrate 0.5mg/l - Nitrite 0mg/l - Phos 0.1mg/l - Calcium 450-500mg/l - dKH 100mg/l In general my tank runs well with no problems so far and is 8 months old. I believe in emulating nature as much as possible and I believe adding a DSB would be very beneficial to the overall balance of the system. There is a lot of miss-information out there and I want to obtain the best possible information I can before going ahead with the DSB. Any help and information would be most appreciated indeed. Look forward to hearing from you soon. <I hope this helps, Don> Kind Regards Lee

Re: Replacing the sand bed Hello Don, Thanks for the quick reply ! Outstanding :) In light of your answer, I have decided to have a 5" DSB, and I will be taking your advise and removing the live stock and the water. <Excellent, I think you will be pleased with the results. Just make a good plan, have all the stuff you expect to need and it will go well> I want it to run smoothly there by minimizing in more undue stress to the live stock etc with delays. I have 1 or 2 more question's though: 1. "Can I just place the base rock onto the sand? or should I use supports? <I favor placing the rock directly on the sand> 2. "Eventually I would like to rid myself of the Trickle Filter but keep the sump (Maybe a Refugium), when would I be able to remove the Trickle Filter? time frame etc" <I would wait until water values stabilize before going to the next change. Ammonia and Nitrite 0 and Nitrate as close to as possible, should take a few weeks to make sure. Then remove about 1/4 of the biomedia at a time over a 2-3 week period. Monitor the Nitrites and as long as you go slow, they should remain at 0 and you should have no problems. As Bob says, only bad things happen quickly.> Again I look forward to your reply. <Glad to be of service, hope all goes well. Don> Regards Lee

A DSB and me <Hi Tim, PF here tonight> Just a quick bit of advice needed. <And hopefully a quick answer to your questions.>  I have a 20 gall sump for my 100 gallon tank and I am starting to set up the sump as a fuge. Would adding a layer about 3 inch of sugar sand help with nitrates or is it not worth it as I have about 45 kg of live rock in the tank, I plan to put Caulerpa in the sump.  <Making me think in metric Tim, no fair. ; ) > Well, most of what I've read says you need 4" and the footprint of a 40g (turn about is fair play) to get the most from a DSB. That said, a 1/2" [1.5?] would be about right for growing critters in your sump. I don't think though that a 4" sand bed would do any harm though. Another alternative would be to add more LR to the sump (or even dead base rock, it will be colonized by critters from your tanks LR). I'm not a fan of Caulerpa, it choked off my xenia and was an unholy mess to get out of my tank. You might want to do a search on the wetwebmedia.com home page. Down on the bottom is the search link to the FAQs, look up Caulerpa and Allelopathy. A much better choice IMO is Chaetomorpha - all the benefits and none of the allelopathy.> Thanks Tim <Your welcome, hope I didn't talk your ears (eyes?) off. PF>

Re: Live rock and sand for a new tank Don (you guys are awesome!!  Please no need for the apologies in delayed response time.  Your time and assistance are priceless. <Thanks for your understanding.> I have decided to go with a deep sand bed, and follow your recommendation below.  I know 4+ inches.  I will probably buy 5-10 lbs of live sand from dealer to seed.  Two questions: <All very good> 1- What is this talk of a plenum now?  Do I need one or can I just lay the 4" of sand on the bottom? <All my experience has been 'plenum less' and this has worked well for me. Here is a link to plenum FAQs on WWM http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plenumfaq2.htm> 2- What is it of this "Southdown" sand from Home Depot as a substrate?  I found it and have bought 150 lbs.  What a deal I received too.  Mismarked, received for $2.25/50 lbs.  It seems that this is a hot ticket item in the field as well according to the countless message boards and forums.  Is it recommended to use? <You are a lucky man. A great way to setup a DSB inexpensively. I would highly recommend it and wished I could get it in my area. Since you have this available, I would make sure I had at least 4" depth across the entire sand bed.> Kindest regards, Louis Rizzo

Moving my DSB - A labor of love, lots of labor <Hi J., PF here> Hello, I hope this finds you doing well. <It's Monday after a nice weekend off, as well as can be expected. > You know, this whole DSB thing has got me concerned. I have used a DSB for the past 3+ years, and am totally hooked. They really work, and mine is particularly well populated with critters. <Good to hear, I love mine too>.  Now comes my situation.   I'm moving my tank. Actually, I'm moving to a new home, and moving into a bigger tank. <A bigger tank is always a good thing, but oh the move... >I really wanted to reuse all of my sand, and also add to it but everyone seems to say I should only use the top inch, or totally start the new tank with all new sand. <I would say use the top 1", unfortunately, the rest will become polluted from the dead and dying life when it's pulled out. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. I've known people who try to rinse the sand off and reuse it, that goes about as well as Sisyphus and the boulder > What is the benefit of this? <Not spiking your nitrates, ammonia, and other nastiness>  I'm in California, and Southdown is not available/cheap out here <Well, if you're in the bay area check out: Home Depot Colma II #639,2 Colma Blvd Colma, CA 94014 (650)755-9600 - a local reefer talked them into ordering some> . I planned on adding some silica sand to the sandbed to increase the depth. Obviously I could just do a new bed with silica, but I really want the beneficial critters from my sand. What should I do? <Ok, when I moved my sandbed from my 29g to my 75g I used some of those disposable Ziploc containers. I think you could upscale the system I used. First though, have your new tank all setup and ready to go. The faster you do the move, the less life you lose. You would need enough plastic storage containers to approximate the area of sand you are moving (I was only moving 12'). Cut the end off one of the containers so it looks like [_] from head on. Use that as a scoop and take the top 1" off the bed. Then slide it into one of the containers you will be using to move the sandbed. Cover it with approximately 1" of water. Use a small container, and place the old sand on top of the new. Hopefully this will work as well for you as it did for me.> Also, I don't have the option of setting up two tanks when I get to the new house. I was planning to set up the new tank with the new sand and water, then the next day, break down the old tank, dig out my old sand and package/move all sand/coral/fish/LR to the new tank. I was planning on adding sand, LR, old tank water, and critters etc. then topping off with new water as needed. What do you think? <Sounds good to me, just make the transition as quick and painless as possible.> Would it be better to do a totally new DSB, and then use LR/old tank water to cycle. <That's another option, and in all honesty, less work and hassle than moving the DSB. The choice is yours to make.> I'd need to put fish etc. in within a day or so, because there is nowhere to save them. Decisions, decisions.... Also, some people mention just saving the top 1" or so, to recycle beneficial critters.  Would this be advisable? <See above.> Thank you. <Hopefully, I've answered your question. Good luck with the move, hopefully I'll be repeating your experience in the not to distant future.>

Powerhead and DSB Question  4/6/03 Hi there!<Hey, Phil with ya this morning!> Is two Maxi Jet 1200's in the back corners of a 29 gallon too much circulation for a tank that "will have" roughly 35-40 lbs of live rock, one Flame Angel, and miscellaneous crabs, shrimps, etc.?<I don't think so.  I'm really big into have a lot of flow in a tank.  If you read on WWM, you'll see that a high flow rate can help stop Cyano.  Which is a very good thing.>  or would two 900's be better.<The bigger the better, IMO>  Also, with this kind of circulation would I be better off with a DSB or stay with the 1" of CARIBSEA "Puka shells" I have now so as not to blow the sand around.<I like DSB's but I have CC in my 29g "reef" tank.  It does well, get's a little patch of Cyano every once and a while.  So I guess if you like the CC stick with it.  If not switch to sand.  As long as you don't have your powerheads pointing down you shouldn't have a big problem with sand blowing.>  I like the sugar-sized sand look but people I've talked to say that it's hard to place the powerheads "out of sight" and keep from blowing the sand all over the place!<The rule is to place the heater AND powerheads in the tank before the live rock.  This way the powerheads are hidden from sight.> Thx in advance, you guys are great!<Thanks for the kind words.  Let us know how the tank turns out!  Phil>

Stirring The Sandbed Good evening every one <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a couple of questions about maintenance of my new 4 inch sandbed.  I perused your FAQs and got confused. I could swear Bob said to use a wooden dowel and punch holes and gently stir once a month - all the way to the bottom of the sandbed. I'm pretty sure Anthony said to do this, but only to the top 1 inch.  Is there a consensus here?  I am not a scientist but want my sandbed to work.  I currently have my old crushed coral substrate on top of the sandbed in mesh bags to seed it, plus my live rock. <If you're working on developing a true "deep sand bed" (I think that Bob's reference was to a "fish only" setup with a more shallow substrate...), I'd keep my stirring limited to the top 1/2 inch to 1 inch, to avoid disrupting the denitrification processes that you're trying to foster. To be honest, I really don't stir my DSB at all. You may want to utilize the services of a brittle star or two to do it naturally for you, without excessively disturbing the sand bed> I read an article today saying that I should seed it with a kit (rotifers, etc.)  Is this correct? <There are a number of e-tailers that offer "starter kits" of appropriate sandbed animals. My favorite source is Indo Pacific Sea Farms in Kona, and other folks swear by Inland Aquatics, or other firms. Most of these kits contain beneficial worms, snails, bacteria, and other useful creatures to help "jump start" your sandbed. Do some searching on the net for some good sources.> Also, I had lavender/purple algae all over the sides of my tank and in the substrate.  I left it on the sides when I cleaned the tank, but it is vanishing fast.  Why is this?  And will it come back?  I have plenty of it on my rocks, don't want to lose all of it.  Can you explain? <Well, if the lavender/purple stuff is coralline algae, then you will need to maintain proper calcium/magnesium/alkalinity levels to keep it going. If it is a Cyanobacteria (a nuisance algae), then you don't want it back! Do a little reading on the WWM site, using the Google search feature to get more information on exactly what kinds of algae you are seeing> A note to Anthony:  I took your advice and went through all the crabs.  Just have six red-legs now, along with snails. I will watch them carefully, and if I lose any more shrooms they will get fired. <I'm sure Anthony will be stoked to hear that!> I also got a new Remora skimmer, and wow, what a difference. <It's an outstanding skimmer, and really will do a great job for you! Glad to hear that it's working so well for you!> Thank you all so much for your continuing support  I have been doing this for a little over a year now and have come a long way.  It is a very rewarding "hobby" (more like "addiction". And it would not have been possible without your continued support and advice. Connie <Connie, we are so happy to be able to be of assistance for you! Sharing experiences and growing together in the hobby is what this site is all about! Keep growing in the hobby, and feel free to call on us if you need any additional assistance! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Moving a DSB >Hi there.   Greetings, Ana.  Marina here to help you today. >I tried searching on your moving pages but I did not find reference to this particular question.  My understanding of DSBs is that they become very toxic which is why they should never be disturbed, other than the very top 1/2" or so.   >>True.  This has to do, in large part, with the reason for having a Deep Sand Bed--denitrification.  This part of the cycle can only be achieved by culturing anaerobic bacteria.  Once these creatures have been cultured, disturbing them can cause the release of toxic gaseous substances. >If I am moving to a larger system, can I salvage my sand?   >>Yes. >Should I stir it up after I've moved out the livestock and rock and then siphon out and toss that last really bad water and keep the sand? >>You're completely on the right track.  Be gentle with the top layers of sand and you'll shorten the process of regaining the desirable creatures.  After that, it should take a relatively short period of time for the sand bed to become fully active again. >Thanks, Ana M. Saavedra >>You're quite welcome, and good luck.  Marina

Deep Sand Bed 3/19/03 Hi Crew ... <cheers!> As always I would like to thank everyone at WWM for giving us hobbyists the support and knowledge we hobbyist are in great need of. <thanks kindly... its our pleasure/biz and life> To my questions. I have put down a Southdown Tropical Caribbean play sand DSB of about 4 inches or so, on the bottom of my tank. God was it a hassle to get the sand to settle. But finally it did. My problem is that I have a clown fish that loves to dig. And almost everyday the clown makes a mess making the water all cloudy and takes almost a whole day to settle down again, the sand that is. <bummer> I have a FO tank and I'm thinking of getting some LR, about 30lbs or so. What do I do to keep that clown from making such a mess? <it will likely be hard to dissuade the behavior. You may try to find a surrogate host/nest. A large empty decorative shell (like a conch) often works... else remove the frisky bugger> Another question if I may. My tank chemistry is out of whack after introducing the sand. <unusual... but will settle in less than 2 weeks I assure you. Water changes in the meantime> My ammonia is 0ppm. My Nitrite is 0.25ppm, and my Nitrate is 40ppm. Before it was Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrate 40ppm and I read on the FAQs and all on WWM website, that the DSB would help get rid of the Nitrates or at least reduce it. But why am I getting a Nitrite rise (before the DSB it was 0ppm) and how long will the DSB take, if it does work, to reduce my Nitrates, and now the Nitrites?? <2 weeks or less... you can almost set your watch to it. Nitrate will be reduced> By the way, I lost 3 of my damsels in the process of changing the substrate. I did move all the fishes to another container with a heater and an airstone and all until the sand settled in the main tank. <heated vessel?> 2 of the damsels didn't last long in the container which had water from the main tank before putting the DSB in. I don't know why they died because after testing the water I found the Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and the Nitrate 40ppm (in the container). <temp drop/shock oftentimes> Now, after the DSB settled in the main tank and after testing the Main tanks water I got Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.25ppm, Nitrate 40ppm, PH 8.0, and Salinity 1.022. So I put the fishes in and all of them are breathing heavily. I then lost another damsel. It's been 3 days now after introducing the fish to the main tank with the new substrate and the fish are still breathing heavily. Please help !!! What is happening ??? What do I do ?? Many thanks crew in advance... Regards, Ash   <use heavy carbon in addition to doing several large water changes... something sounds amiss. A possible contaminant. Your chemistry is really not that bad at all! Best of luck. Anthony>

Deep (Sand Bed) Trouble! Hi Crew ... <Scott F. at the keyboard tonight!> As always I would like to thank everyone at WWM for giving us hobbyists the support and knowledge we hobbyist are in great need of. <Thanks so much for your kind words! We get a big a kick out of helping our fellow hobbyists-we all should share our experiences and learn together> To my questions. I have put down a Southdown Tropical Caribbean play sand DSB of about 4 inches or so, on the bottom of my tank. God was it a hassle to get the sand to settle. But finally it did. <Yep- a nasty process!> My problem is that I have a clown fish that loves to dig. And almost everyday the clown makes a mess making the water all cloudy and takes almost a whole day to settle down again, the sand that is. I have a FO tank and I'm thinking of getting some LR, about 30lbs or so. What do I do to keep that clown from making such a mess? <Well, unfortunately, there is no real great, guaranteed way to prevent the fish from engaging in this behavior. Nature is in charge! In fact, I can't really think of any way, short of moving the fish to a different...! Sorry about that one! Another question if I may. My tank chemistry is out of whack after introducing the sand. My ammonia is 0ppm. My Nitrite is 0.25ppm, and my Nitrate is 40ppm. Before it was Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrate 40ppm and I read on the FAQs and all on WWM website, that the DSB would help get rid of the Nitrates or at least reduce it. But why am I getting a Nitrite rise (before the DSB it was 0ppm) and how long will the DSB take, if it does work, to reduce my Nitrates, and now the Nitrites?? <Well, the nitrite is not something we like to see, but it probably snuck up as a result of the increase in sand bed depth (perhaps some temporary interruption of the biological filtration process occurred). With routine maintenance and patience, it should quickly return to undetectable levels> By the way, I lost 3 of my damsels in the process of changing the substrate. I did move all the fishes to another container with a heater and an airstone and all until the sand settled in the main tank. 2 of the damsels didn't last long in the container which had water from the main tank before putting the DSB in. I don't know why they died because after testing the water I found the Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and the Nitrate ppm (in the container). Now, after the DSB settled in the main tank and after testing the Main tank's water I got Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0.25ppm, Nitrate 40ppm, PH 8.0, and Salinity 1.022. So I put the fishes in and all of them are breathing heavily. I then lost another damsel. It's been 3 days now after introducing the fish to the main tank with the new substrate and the fish are still breathing heavily. <Well, this could be anything from the obvious (i.e.; detectable nitrite level), to the bizarre (perhaps some silt or other compounds leaching from the Southdown (that escaped the rinse process), causing a shock reaction of some sort...Hard to say. If it were me, I'd get the damsels back out of there, if possible, and let the tank "re-cycle", which will probably take a week or two, maybe longer.> Please help !!! What is happening ??? What do I do ?? Many thanks crew in advance...Regards, Ash    <I think that a healthy dose of patience and careful monitoring of the tank chemistry is the best thing to do, at this point. Nothing really spectacular, just basic moves...Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Substrate depth Hi guys, oops.. and gals :)  <howdy> Just wanted to thank you for all the help you have been able to provide it the past. The things you all do for the hobby are immeasurable. I was planning on a DSB of 4-5" in my 75G reef tank with CaribSea Aragamax (1-1.7mm size), but let me know if there is something better. And if I used a smaller grain size could I make a shallower bed and still be able to achieve an anaerobic area to reduce nitrates? Or would this not be recommended?  Thanks once again for all your help and knowledge.  <This is a fine sand to use.  Your sand bed should be at least 3.5" but 4-5 would be better.  As for the smaller grain, I would stick with the Aragamax because anything too much smaller would just be mud. Cody> Best Regards, Jeremy

Deeper DSB - 3/12/2003 Hey Guys, <Hey!  Scott V. here.>   I have really been fortunate to find this site.  Just a quick question:  I recently changed to a DSB, and almost immediately saw my nitrates drop form 10-15 to trace. <Great !!!>  I have it at approximately 3-1/2 inches.  I would like to add another inch to my system. <Yep, good idea.>  I have approximately 80 lbs. in my 55.  I would like to add another 10 lbs of live sand total over time.  What the safest way?  <First, I would rinse it more than you would otherwise, although it does settle pretty quick anyway.  But just start feeding it in one handful at a time so you can make sure most of it goes where you want it to, instead of all over your rock.  It will take a little more time to get it level because you may not be able to see it well enough by then.  Just work at getting it leveled when you can, and don't worry if you can't get it exactly perfect.  It will continue to level itself over time.  Have fun!! Scott V.>

DSB bubbles I have aprox 400 lbs of natures ocean aragonite sand in my 180gal reef has LR in it been running with rock in it for aprox 2 weeks. there seems to be tiny air pockets here and there is this going to be a problem? I can see them along the front of the tank. only seems to be around the 1st 2 inches or so? do I need to mix it up or just leave it? once again thanks for all your help you guys rule..... Scott Mutter.... <No worries, leave it, its part of the process.  Best Regards, Gage More info here -> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dsbfaqs.htm  >

Building Up a New Deep Sand Bed Hi guys hope you are well mailing you from South Africa.. Feeling somewhat depressed after our knock out of the cricket world cup (That's if it even exists in the States) <I can totally sympathize with you. We're no threat in the cricket world, but my friend from Cape Town is in serious depression over this, too...Chin up! Scott F., hoping to cheer you up today!> Quick Q I currently have a 100g Reef tank with +- 2inches of medium to large crushed coral that has been my sand bed for over a year and is full of nice little critters. I'm purchasing a 125 G tank and am planning on using your deep sand bed method. Should I put my existing sand at the bottom and then my 3 inches of fine sand on top or vice versa and will this size still be ok to use ? <Well, the "deep sand bed" concept seems to favor a uniform bed of aragonite in the "sugar fine" sand grain size. The uniformity is supposed to foster proper dissolution of nutrient within the sand bed. If I were doing what you're doing, I'd probably distribute some of the existing sandbed material into the new sand bed, to help "kick start" it. The majority of the sand bed should be the fine grained variety to take advantage of the beneficial processes a sandbed is capable. Obviously, you don't want to waste the beneficial life forms that are in your current sand bed, so just try to utilize what you can> Also my local pet shop has told me of fine sand that is very rich in Calcium and gives off Ca for about 5 years. What is your experience with this and do I still need to add Kalk? <Well, this sounds like they are describing the Aragonitic sands that are available, like CaribSea's "Aragamax" products. It's true-one of the benefits of a deep sand bed of fine aragonite is that it will provide some dissolution of calcium and other minerals over time. However, I would not consider a deep sand bed a substitute for other methods of calcium supplementation, such as Kalkwasser and/or a calcium reactor> Thanks guys. Werner Schoeman <Any time, Werner! Have fun building up that new sand bed...Regards, Scott F>

Re: DSB livestock Hello one and all, In reading about DSBs I see references to "worms and pods" that should be populating it… well where do you get these critters?  I have live rock -but how do I know any made it in on these (if they're normally introduced as hitchhikers that is)  I just want to make sure my DSB functions as it should. <You can go one of two general routes: either supplying starter cultures of these animals from purchasing them direct (like from IPSF, Inland Aquatics...) or allowing your live rock to populate the substrate. I don't encourage buying "some live sand" in a bag to do this. Bob Fenner> Many thanks DGG

Re: DSB livestock Bob: Whew!  $60 for the detritivore kit!  Sometimes I think it would be cheaper to raise white tigers.... <Me too... how about checking with other hobbyists in your area to see if one will "give you a scoop" of their populated substrate? Maybe a club, local fish store... Bob Fenner> DGG

Deep sand bed depth and how many pounds- 2/25/03 How much sand do I need for a 55gal tank I need enough for my coral rock and Saddle carpet anemone I heard 4 inches is safe but how much is that in pounds? Thanks < Sorry for the delay. Paul here.......Well without knowing the dimensions of your tank and what type of sand you might want this would be impossible to estimate. In any event this topic has been discussed many times in the various FAQs. Start with this link as it has a calculator for this exact question: http://www.purearagonite.com/sandbed.html. I would personally recommend sugar fine oolitic sand 4-5 inches in depth and is easily found from a great many suppliers. Check around these FAQs for more information on deep sand beds and live sand: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubfaq4.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lsfaqs2.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dsbfaqs.htm Good luck to you. Paul>

Shifting Sands...? (Remote DSB) Hello to all! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 65gal FOWLR tank w/ a fine substrate ranging in a depth from 1/2"-3".  After reading your FAQs I would really like to add another 100lbs of sand but I don't feel up to going through the process of taking everything out.  I have a 20H which I use as my refugium that is gravity fed to the main tank.  My question is: I have a 3" sand bed in my refugium w/ 6-10lbs of live rock. Would the DSB in my refugium make up for not having one in my main tank? <It certainly would benefit your system...Good thought! I know a lot of hobbyists who do just this, for a variety of reasons> I know I would probably benefit more by having the DSB in the main tank and it might come down to doing so. <Well, not really a big problem, IMO. Some people like the benefits of DSBs, but hate the aesthetics of a 5 or 6 inch sand bed in the display...A remote DSB is perfect for them> Thanks, Jason-Surfs Up! <Glad to help! Save me a spot in the lineup, bro... Regards, Scott F>

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