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FAQs about Live Sand 3

Related Articles: Live Sand, Marine System Substrates (Gravels, Sands) by Bob Fenner, Marine Substrate Options by Sara Mavinkurve, Deep Sand Beds, Reef Systems, Refugiums

Related FAQs: Live Sand 1, Live Sand 2, Identification, Selection/DIY, Systems/Placement, Biota, Maintenance, Deep Sand Beds, DSBs 2, DSBs 3, DSBs 4, DSBs 5, DSBs 6, DSBs 7,  & FAQs on: Deep Sand Beds Rationale/Use, Dangers, Physical Make-Up, Biological Make-Up, Size, Location, Depth, Conversion to/from, Maintenance/ Replacing/Adding To, & Sumps, Refugiums, Live Rock Calcium, FAQs 1

Lysmata amboinensis (De Man 1888), the Indo-Pacific White-Striped Cleaner Shrimp or Ambon Shrimp.

New Live Sand?    7/22/19
We have spent almost 1.5 years battling Ostreopsis. The tank is only 2.5 years old. We have finally reached balance with the dinos, now Cyano and diatoms invaded.
Scooping out sand and chemi-clean is straightening that out.
<Good product>
A Large amount of the sand has solidified, I’m breaking it up as I go. (Whew)
I need more live sand. I’m seriously thinking about removing as much as possible and adding new sand. Am I asking for trouble? I have to add some any way.
Any brand or type you like. Would the biota be a better choice over CaribSea?
300g, mixed reef aquarium.
<Personally, I prefer CaribSea but there are other good/reliable brands worth trying.>
Thanks, William
<Welcome. Wil.>

Live Sand Maintenance     8/24/17
Bob -
I've read your write on live sand maintenance at Live Sand , where you state,
Live Sand
"Maintenance Issues: Should you periodically stir your Live Sand, even vacuum it? In my opinion, yes. A bunch of infauna will die consequently, but the effects of sifting are warranted: removal, reshuffling of mulm, release of trapped gasses, re-assortment of life forms... all make stirring, vacuuming "worth it"."
My question to you, and I realize there's a lot of debate here, e.g.; one camp saying not to vacuum the sand at all, but when you say to vacuum, how deep do you suggest vacuuming the sand? Down to the glass or just at the surface level?
<Were it me, mine, I'd vacuum all the way to the bottom, BUT only half or third of the tank/DSB at a time... alternatively, I'd at least stir (with a wooden or plastic dowel) the whole thing and vacuum the top couple inches.
Bob Fenner>
Thanks, John
Re: Live Sand Maintenance

OK. The sand bed in my tanks is on average 2 to 3 inches. So I am not sure if that constitutes a DSB.
<Four inches, 10 cm. plus is about it. Depends on grade mostly>
As I am always reading, learning, trying to maintain the best tanks possible, and for whatever reason I started recently reading more about sand bed maintenance, my new concern (question) is have I been creating potentially deadly issues for my fish by vacuuming the entire tank sand bed from top to bottom?
<Nah; not much/any cause for concern>
I see that you've stated to me to not vacuum the entire tank but only 1/2 or 1/3 of the tank each water change, yet stir up the rest of it with a wooden or plastic dowel.
<Yes; to preserve infauna stocks>
I suspect that will reduce the disruption of beneficial bacteria while not potentially releasing an over abundance of toxins in the water?
<This too>
I do on average 25% water changes in my FOWLR tanks every 3 to 4 weeks (these tanks, except one, includes some noxious soft corals, e.g.; mushrooms, leathers, ...etc.), again, while always vacuuming the entire tank and from top to bottom. Thus far, it has been working thru the years but I am beginning to wonder based upon further reading if I've just been fortunate so far and I've really been playing with fire by my husbandry and eventually I'll either 1) kill off good bacteria and/or 2) stir up and release too many toxins (nitrates, nitrites, ...etc.) that could quickly and negatively impact my water quality despite the water change? Or maybe my sand bed isn't deep enough to where it has mattered that much?
<There is a means and extremes measure here. You do want to have an ongoing static AND disruptive (mild) situation. Too much change can trigger too much negative reaction; too little can allow the same>
Thank you, John
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tragedy, storing LR, LS  10/25/12
Hi Bob,
I have one last question not related to the tank failure.  It has to do with the 80 or so pounds of sand (most of which was nearly new) and the live and base rock.  Can this be kept/stored for future use?
<Yes to both>
  I was thinking about letting the sand get good and dried out and keeping it in a Rubbermaid tub.
As for the rock, rinsing it off really good, letting it dry and storing it in a tub as well.  It may be several years before I use it again, but if I keep it, perhaps it could save me a little money the next time, right?
<Is worth doing for sure... can be made "alive again" by placing it/both in the presence of a few pounds of new live rock for a few months>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Live Sand versus Live Rock. Sources of nitrifying bacteria of use      4/29/12
Hi Crew, I am having problems with an ammonia spike with a new system, although new", the water and sand were taken from the pristine waters of the Andaman Sea so should contain bacteria, the sand below the low tide area so it does not dry out. I was thinking maybe live rock contains more bacteria as it contains possible micro ammonia areas where the crabs etc
live inside it for the bacteria to flourish where as the sand is in regular sea water. Any thoughts? Regards, Adam.
<I don't know... perhaps a literature search:
Bob Fenner> 
Re: Mistake on your website.... nitrifying bacteria sand/LR

Actually for your readers Bob, as you know already I am stupid. 
I have been to the beach in the monsoon season in the Andaman and it was certainly emotional swimming to the rocks with huge waves, not advisable for the faint hearted. I located a heavily populated area of butterfly fish, clown tangs (looking great in their natural fast moving water environment, but I think they should remain there as in captive conditions they do very poorly) and my theory which I hope will help your readers who live by a beach is that it is misunderstood that live sand contains large colonies of bacteria as there is no ammonia in their environment where as the rocks close to the fish covered with algae etc have some ammonia exposure in the form of waste from the fish, my theory at this stage.
<Likely so; but as stated, I don't know how much useful nitrifying bacteria there might be...>
 I placed the rocks in the quarantine tank and I am glad to say my Emperor, Blueface and Majestic Angels are picking at the rocks (I have more than one tank, these fish will often fight so should not be placed together, I have been lucky on that front) I do hope the ammonia subsides at the moment it is 1.0 per million.
<Yikes... I'd be NOT feeding any proteinaceous foods>
I could go to the beach and collect more water but within a few hours would have the same problem and the stress of changing the water on the fish I think would do more damage. I will update you. Strangely a paid of true Percula clowns seems to be taking the ammonia worse than the angels.
Regards, AA.
<And you. B>

Re Live Rock/Storing For Future Use 4/6/09
Also, do I just throw away my live sand, or can it be kept like the live rock?
<You can put it in with the live rock, can't say how long the "live" would remain under storage conditions. Personally, I wouldn't make the effort. I would just store dry and try to sell. Might want to see what your :LFS would be willing to pay you for it before doing
so. James (Salty Dog)>

Dry Live Sand 4/5/08 Hi I have a question regarding DSB's I currently have two inches of aragonite sand and want to seed it with live sand, my LFS told me to use pink live sand (not really pink just called that) which is the type they claim to use on their tanks which look great. <OK> My only problem with this is that the sand is shipped like aragonite sand in that it is dry in a plastic bag. I was wondering if dry live sand is just a scam or if the microfauna is able to live dry? <There will be absolutely no seeding benefit from this sand, and for that matter very little from water packed sand in a bag. The best thing you can do to seed your system is to talk someone with an existing tank into a cup of their sand or to simply add live rock to the system. Regards, Scott V. >

Re: Dry Live Sand 4/7/08 This question is for Scott V. <Hello, with you.> I Recently asked if dry live sand is at all reliable as a live sand and upon further research found a company that sells wet live sand by the pound which is perfect for me because I only need about 7 pounds to seed my aragonite sand. They claim that there live sand has lots off little pods, worms and such but I wanted to ask if these beneficial beasties would survive the collection/shipping process and make it to my tank. Thanks and I will try to procure a cup of live sand from an aged tank! <True wet live sand will be of some benefit, much of the life in it will survive shipping. Although simply seeding from another tank or live rock is the easiest and most cost effective. Welcome, enjoy the new tank, Scott V.>

Live sand procurement   10/8/06 Hello all, let me first say thanks for all of the info and help you have given me in the proper set up, stocking and maintenance of my marine aquarium, I couldn't have done it without you! I read approx 2-3 hrs each day on WWM, and I enjoy every minute. I have a question regarding live sand in which I hope you can be of assistance. I live in San Antonio, TX, and am very close to the Texas gulf coast. Both of my marine tanks (55 and a 30 gal) have been set up with live rock and aragonite substrate (consisting of crushed Florida coral in the 55, and aragonite sand -not "sugar fine" in the 30). The 30 gal is just cycled at approx 6 weeks, the 55 about 4 months old. Parameters in the tanks are all normal (0ppm of ammonia, nitrates, nitrites and phosphates, calcium levels are strong at 450-500, and ph is a constant 8.2), the 55 has only 1 maroon clown, 1 yellow tang and 1 lawnmower blenny with a small clean up crew consisting of snails and such, the 30 is not stocked with anything just yet. Both tanks run Emperor hang on filters with protein skimmers that achieve a good amount of skimmate every day, water turnover is approx. 15 times per hour, both run MH lighting of about 5w per gallon. I would eventually like to put some corals, clams etc... in both tanks. I am considering replacing some of the substrate with live sand, and I am considering harvesting it myself from the gulf coast. My question is.... Is the sand at the coast actually considered live sand? Can this be used? It is much cheaper and also more enjoyable for me to drive a couple of hours to collect enough sand, than it is to purchase 100lbs and have it shipped. What are the pros and cons to my idea, and should I even consider it given my current tank parameters? Also, if I do replace the substrate with live sand, what potential damage might occur in my ecosystem? I have read that it could be a disaster (fish kill off from anaerobic activity?) Any suggestions would be helpful.....Erick. <<Erick: Anytime you disturb a sandbed in a move, you run a high risk of transferring sickness and disease to the fish (I found out the hard way when I moved a tank that had been established over 2 years).  Assuming you could find a legal place to collect the sand, introducing it to your tanks would likely cause a new cycle and could introduce harmful critters, and pollutants, to your system.  While sugar fine aragonite is the current gold standard for deep sand beds, there are many people who do not use it and have successful tanks.  For example, I once was so freaked about crushed coral causing my nitrates to go up that I pulled it out of an established tank and replaced it with brand new sand.  I was shocked to find out after all that trouble that the nitrate level stayed the same!  Before that experience, I would have never expected those results based on everything I've read.  At this point, I think pulling sand from the coast will be more trouble for you than it's worth.  If you want more diversity you can ask for a cup of sand from a fellow reefer.  Best of luck, Roy>>

Redoing Substrates 9/13/06 To All: <Hi> I'm getting ready to redo my substrates in my 90 gal reef tank. I have had problems in the past with nitrates sometimes high but can be controlled with water changes. <Best method> Currently I have a 5 inch crushed coral bed with underwater filter powered by one 110 and a 70 aqua clear power head on each corner. along with a canister filter and skimmer). <What we call a nitrate factory.>  UG filters are not used much anymore for this reason, among others.> After reading endless amount of info on your site I just wanted your opinion on what would be the best substrates for me to use. I would like to stick with a substrates for some of the goby's and other creatures that enjoy digging. <I like using substrates in the main tank.> I was thinking of going with 3 to 4 inches of live sand. <Good, sugar fine is best.> I have 75lbs of live rock that I use for my reef too. Should I use underwater filter or just place the sand on the bottom?? <Sand on the bottom, the UG filter will not work with sand.> And should it be mixed with crushed coral or something else?? <Nope, just sand.> This seems to be the most difficult question to come up with an answer for. There is so many ways to setup a substrates. <Many different ideas out there, I like a simple 3-4 inch thick layer of sugar fine sand.> I'm sticking with mostly soft corals since I currently don't have a metal halide light. <Sounds good.> Thanks, J.R. <Anytime> <Chris>

Quarantine For Live Sand? - 8/10/2006 Hello WWM Crew, <Scott F. here today!>    With the help of an extraordinary amount of excellent input from your website, I am nearly done putting together a new 135 gallon system to upgrade my old 40 gallon hex tank. <Sounds exciting>    A quick summary of the new system is as follows, 135 gallon (72x18x24") with two 100% overflows and Ecosystem 3616 mud sump.   EuroReef CS 135 Protein Skimmer   Four 160 W AquaSun VHO's (with provisions to add three 14K 150 W HQI pendants later).   Recirculation rate is roughly 2600 GPH (half through mud sump and half through separate closed loop).    <Nice equipment/system>      My plan for the tank is to move over current inhabitants of the 40 gallon (Flametail Blenny, Fourline Wrasse, Neon Goby, Purple Firefish, Diadema, two Cleaner Shrimp, Peppermint Shrimp, some Zoanthids and Star Polyps) along with its live rock (about 60 lbs) then gradually add fresh (cured) live rock over time as additional critters - soft corals, fish and invertebrates - are added to the system. <This is a good way to stock...do it gradually.>    I don't plan to move the existing coral gravel substrate (roughly 5 mm dia.), as I have now learned that a finer sand (say 1-2 mm) is a better choice. My current thinking is to keep the sand bed to less than 1" thick (I'll consider adding a DSB later if the tank "grows" into a full blown SPS reef tank over the next few years). <No problem. Just keep the shallow sandbed clean.>    My question is about the risk/rewards of using "live sand" (say from Fiji through Blue Zoo Aquatics) versus a sterile aragonite mix "off the shelf". It would appear that the "pro's" of using the live sand would be the additional microfauna that would inoculate the system and provide a more natural system and food source. But my main concern is for the health of my fish (vis-a-vis the potential pathogens that may exist in the live sand mix). <Well, there certainly is a risk involved in using anything "live" in your tank. If it's live sand collected from a reef, I suppose I might actually be more comfortable than if it was from a store or other established aquarium. On the other hand, if you do get some live sand, you don't need all that much to inoculate your system.>    Would you kindly advise your opinion - is there a significant risk of Ich/Velvet infection with live sand? <Again, I feel a greater risk of exposure to potential pathogens exists in a system using live sand from an aquarium with fishes.> Would the sand/mud develop a healthy level of microfauna over time anyway (by the addition of cured live rock) with the sterile mix? <Absolutely.> Would there be any benefit to putting live sand in quarantine (for say 6 weeks) before introducing to an existing display? <If you could do that, this would be the best way to assure as pathogen-free an environment as possible.>    I have dealt with "the heartbreak of Ich" in the past and want to do everything possible to avoid it during this upcoming transition - your thoughts are sincerely appreciated. Scott <I certainly think that you're on the right track, Scott! Best of luck with your new system! Regards, Scott F.>

Do you have to replace live sand every so often? Yep  7/19/06 I have a 4 year old 55 gal saltwater tank with 75 lbs of live rock, 3" of Arag-live Special grade sand and varies corals and anemones. <... plural?> I have been having a problem with my nitrate levels and noticed there is a lot of tube like worms in the sand. The tubes are thin and covered with sand and they have little worms that come out from the sand. When you move the sand you can see there tubes that are heavily embedded into the sand. <Beneficial mostly> I talked with my local fish guy and he said you should replace your substrate ever 4 years? Is this true? <Mmm, better to add to, replace a part after a year and a quarter or so... Ten, twenty percent every six months... to provide soluble components, volume...> I read the back of the Arag-live sand and it said it never needs replacement. <Mmm, better to replace, add to on a regular basis... Most captive systems become overly "unbalanced" chemically, stagnant in terms of bio-diversity, abundance... the changing, adding of substrates helps forestall these tendencies> I was thinking about moving the live rock around and filtering the sand underneath it to clean it up a little. What do you suggest? <Reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/livesand.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Donovan Flores

Adding live sand  - 05/29/06 Hi crew, <Hi> I have a 90 gallon FOWLR with crushed coral at the moment. I'm interested in housing Jawfish (Yellowhead) and wrasses (red Coris) and realize that they need a sandy substrate. My CC depth is ~1.5" now, and my plan was to add sugar-fine LS to a depth of 2.5" or 3". This results in a couple of questions. 1. Would these guys be ok in a mixed CC/LS setup and this depth, or do they need a complete sand substrate? <The problem is that the CC does not stay at the bottom, it will rise to the top of the sand, making problems for the Jawfish especially.> 2. I've read up on your site about the LS depths recommended (1" or less for decorative purposes, 4"+ for DSB). I'm very diligent about regular water changes (~15% a week w/ vacuum) and monitoring nitrates, so I'm more concerned fish happiness than nitrate reduction. <Jawfish make mostly vertical burrows, so 3+ inches of sand is best.> 3. Tied to question 2, are there additional drawbacks to this combination and depth I should investigate further? <I would remove the CC, and replace with sand.  A pain but really the best long term solution.> Thanks for all of your help and support. Ian <Chris>

How long can I store live sand?   5/27/06 I have searched your site and have not found an exact answer to my query.  Recently I obtained approximately 100 lbs of aragonite live sand from an existing reef that the owner broke down.  I'm not quite ready to tear down my tank but will be doing so in order to swap out my system for a reef ready tank in about six months.  I'd like to keep the sand "living" in storage if at all possible.  I was considering placing it in several 5 gallon buckets with water and a lid to seal it from most of the air. <Mmm, not this...>   The reason I thought of doing it this way was to mimic the bags of live sand for sale at just about every fish store.  Is this the right thing to do or should I just let it dry out completely?   <Neither> Also how long will live sand remain active if in aquarium water but outside of the original system? <With proper care a few to several months...>   Any assistance that you could provide with respect to this mater would be greatly appreciated and keep up the great work on the site!   Thanks, Dave <Best to "store" this in "aquarium type settings"... with some water atop the sand, it being recirculated, adding a bit of food every few days... A heater if there's a chance of cold... But the live components need oxygen, gas exchange, nutrients, stable water quality. Bob Fenner>

Live Rock/Live Sand, Collecting Your Own - 03/14/2006 Hello, <Hi Matt.> I have been reading postings on the importance of curing live rock. Are there any methods (e.g. limiting exposure to air, container selection, collection protocols) to employ in order to avoid the need for curing the live rock; that is, if you are collecting your own? <Well, all of the above really. Some die off to be expected regardless. For minimum, I suppose you could try duplicating the ocean during transit (flow, water conditions, etc.), not cleaving organisms in two. Perhaps best to just keep moist, preventing waste material build up in the shipping water. Aside from this, are you sure collection is legal in your area?> I live close to the ocean and can make the transition from the sea to the display tank/refugium in minutes. <Would be nice, though I would still plan some wait and see time.> The water in the tank will also be natural, collected from the sea. <Not advised, see WWM re.> I would like to make the transition of Live Sand and Live Rock as seamless as possible. <Not advised for the sand either...also posted on WWM.> As I have only just finished plumbing the system, I am now ready to add water, LS, and LR to my display tank and refugium. Since it is an initial startup, do you recommend adding all of the LS and LR to the display tank and refugium all at once (125 gallon display/20 gallon refugium -- not sure how many pounds of LS/LR I will be adding yet)? <For typical start up plans, yes, best to start all at once.> Also can hermits/other sand sifters and macro algae be added immediately to the refugium at startup? <Not until a cycle is established.> My other question is this: What type of a maturation cycle should I expect knowing that all the contents within the tank have been taken directly from the sea (nothing is synthetic)? About how long (understanding approximately 1 month for most systems), if any at all, should the cycle take? <Hard to say, may experience minor or major issues. I'd expect major if you use the water and sand.> Anything I should watch out for? <Just the usual suspects.> I understand my situation is somewhat unique. One last question --Haven't seen a lot of info on critter stocking schedule/protocol. <No? All posted on WWM.> Once the tank has matured appropriately (this timeframe still questionable to me in my situation), how much can you stock for the first time (this being a local fish and invertebrate tank). I have read the rule is fish first, then invertebrates. <Hmmm...covered also. Not always the case.> The intertidal species I will be adding are pretty hardy to begin with. How long should you wait after the first stocking before adding more? <Depends how much you add at once, generally a month or so.> What should that amount be, the same as the first stock? <One - two fish at a time (first and thereafter).> I just would like to have the initial startup go as smoothly as possible.   <In this case, ditch the water/sand idea. Make your water, purchase your sand. Start all up and let the cycle work out. Stock from there.> Thanks, Matt <Hope that helps. Do check on the legality of your collections first. - Josh>

Marine Set Up/Live Rock/Sand  - 3/1/2006 Hey WWM,  <Hey Johnny> You guy's have helped me a lot in the past and was wondering if you can bail me out a little more.  <Will try> I'm in my 6th day of cycle [100 lbs live rock 20 lbs LS ]. I removed the bio balls from my pro clear 150 wet/dry from the get-go. And put about 5 lbs of live rock in the "now' sump...not that big [should I put more LR in there?]. <No real need to.> I keep reading about DSB in the sump but with my wet/dry I have that blue sponge and I'm wondering how I would change it out without all the sand going into the return pump area...or just leave live rock with no sand?  <I'd just use the live rock.> I am also lighting the sump with the Coralife [2] 9watt marine mini light.  <I wouldn't have any lights on until this tank is cycled, at least 28 days.  Nutrients will be high and you will be inviting a nuisance algae bloom.> The incoming water into the sump [live rock area] is very turbulent, will this be O.K for the live rock? <No problems.> just worried that it will be too rough to put anything else in that area. Please help me out with some advice. Thanks for all the help. <Johnny, in future queries please do a spelling/grammar check.  We just don't have the time to edit queries before posting.  Thank you.  James (Salty Dog)> Johnny

Do you have a suggestion on how to get worms and small crustaceans to populate my substrate?     1/20/06 I've got nothing evidently moving in there.  Started with 30# aragonite and 10# "live sand".  The live sand seems like a waste of cash considering that nothing macroscopic grew out. Thanks Dan <A couple of standard approaches include stocking "relatively fresh" live rock and seeing what develops... and buying/seeding the established system with a "critter kit"... the last from folks like Inland Aquatics, Indo-Pacific Sea Farm... .coms. Bob Fenner>

Replacing Sand, Building Depth Back Up - 01/05/2006 Hello, <Hi there Anne.> I've looked through the questions but haven't come across one that answers mine........ <Ok.> I have been taking out small amounts of sand during my weekly water changes (the last three times) that seem to have Cyanobacteria growing on it. <Hate it when that happens. You can try a smaller diameter tube, should help.> I'm starting to notice my DSB isn't so deep anymore. Is it ok to add sand back into the tank a little at a time to build this back up? <Yes, and you're right, a little at a time. When adding try moving small portions, add the new, smooth the old back over. Don't bury the existing bed.> Thank you <Gladly. - Josh> Anne Canfield Staff Research Associate II California National Primate Research Center <Awesome. I love 'em!:)>

Live sand question 7/21/05 Hello, Do you know what could cause the sand to turn a rust brown color. <Mmm, usually diatom profusion... sometimes BGA, at times both... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgid.htm and the linked files...> We stirred the top layer up, and the next day it was back. Maybe even worse. We have a 50 gallon, with live sand, and 2 clown fish. We are trying to get started, but are waiting to find out why our sand is turning orange. Any more info that you would need from me? <Mmm, what sort of source water, what do you do to treat it, salt brand, methods for its mixing, storage... tank set-up, history...> I am not sure what else to tell you. I know it s a salt water tank and all the levels look good! Thank you! Kristi Pekar <Take the long read, please, and learn to use the tool, collective experience which is WWM. Bob Fenner> Live Sand? - 06/20/05 Thanks for that.  When you say sugar-fine sand bed you are not referring to live sand? <<Nope.  You can use any sugar-fine sand...even silica sand (I can hear you gasp <G>.)...though I confess I prefer to use aragonite when available.  Just seed the "dry" sand with a bit of sand from your mates tanks or from the LFS and it will become "live" in short order.>> Also I should put some critters in the refugium as well correct? <<Depends on what you mean by "critters."  If you mean amphipods, Mysis shrimp, copepods, bristle worms, and the like...then the answer is yes...if you mean shrimp, crabs, small fish, etc. ...then the answer is no.  The latter defeats the purpose of the refugium.>> Thanks for the info you guys rock. <<From this old rocker...Regards, Eric R.>>

Live Sand Hello there, and thanks for responding to me. <You're welcome>  Sorry to bother you again with more questions. I talked to a friend of mine and told him that I was going to live sand. He said that I may want to keep the UGF for good filtering. <A sand substrate is just too fine to be used with an UGF.  You would have little to no water flow through the lift tubes.>That sand don't do that good of job filtering by its self. He also said that a live rock and live sand together would do a good job. So would it or could I get by with just live sand? Just to let you know that I will have fish only, unless I need live rock. Plus I have a filter and skimmer. <Cody, you need to educate yourself on different types of filtration and which one will be right for you.  Google search "live sand" , "live rock" and "wet/dry filters" on the WWM and read all the info presented.  You will then be able to make your decision and be a more informed aquarist in doing so.  James (Salty Dog)>Thanks Cody

Restarting Tank...LR/LS Question - 06/09/05 Hello WebSiteMedia Guru's, <<Good evening>> Not wanting to sound too cliche, I very much love your site and all the great information you have for all of us! Thank you already for what you have taught me while reading through your site. <<And thank you...happy to serve.>> I am 'Beginner-again', having had marine fishes a decade ago and recently restarted a fish only tank in Nov '04, and converted it to a combo in March '05. My biggest problem, currently, is an amazing growth of Diatoms in an otherwise seemingly healthy tank ( based on the growth of fishes and inverts ). If I don't scrape the glass in 4 days, I can't look through it. Phos = 0, Nitrate = 0, Silica = 0. pH 8.3, SG 1.0024 <<Hmm...likely a result of your "conversion."  Will probably pass with time/good husbandry.>> Being from the old school, I started the set-up with a W/D filter ( 10 gal ). I now understand that is not desirable. <<Fine for the FO setup...no, not so desirable for the reef.>> Being ignorant, I also started the tank with my old substrate (15 year old Dolomite!, yup, I can hear you now ). <<tee hee!>> Sooo, if I searched your site well enough, I now understand the following: 1) I need to change the Dolomite. <<I would.>> 2) I need to add more Live rock. <<More of a subjective issue in my opinion.  I prefer to leave lots of space for corals to grow, fish to swim...>> 3) I need to get rid of my W/D media ( bioballs ) and convert to sump only. <<Another good move, yes.>> Here is my current set up: Tank: 75gal Lighting: Compacts 2-55 watt 10,000 2-55 watt actinic-3 Filter: Remora Pro w/ Mag drive, 10gal Wet/ Dry Sump Water circulation: One 200gph powered, internal <<EEK!  You need to increase your water circulation by 10-fold my friend!>> Substrate: Dolomite <<Again...tee hee!>> Live Rock:  44lbs Premium Fiji Fish: 1 - Foxface 1 - Molly Miller Blenny 2 - Redeye Cardinals Inverts: 1 - Fighting Conch 5 - Blue legged hermits 2 - Scarlet Hermit crabs 4 - Astraea Conehead nails 2 - Banded Trochus Snails 2 - Cluster Dusters - Feed Zooplex 1 - 6" Hairy Mushroom Polyp ( splitting very well ) - Feed Zooplex 1 - 5"  Candy Cane Coral ( Fiji ) ( splitting well ) - Feed Zooplex 2 - Turbo snails ( haven't seen them in a while ) Plants: Shaving Brush (not doing well, being eaten) <<Your Foxface said to say "thank you!">> My questions: Should I change the Dolomite to live sand or other (what do you suggest? & how many pounds) at the same time of adding more live Rock (I am scared!) <<No need to be frightened <G>.  Replace the dolomite with sugar-fine aragonite (no need for live...will become "live") to a MINIMUM DEPTH of 4" (6" is better), and if you really think you need it, add more FULLY CURED live rock after the sand.>> I should remove the bioballs slowly AFTER more rock and substrate change, yes? <<Of small concern I think given the size of your wet/dry, but it won't hurt either to wait a couple weeks after the addition of sand and rock to pull the bio-balls.>> If my tank will have app. 90 pounds of live rock, what is the sense of having a refugium? <<Huh?  Thought you said you read our FAQs <G>?  Start reading here and at the related links in blue, then come back and tell me "why indeed?": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm>> Any other suggestions? Keep reading/learning/researching.  And increase the flow in that tank!>> Thank you very much, in advance, for any specific help you can offer! Rainer <<Very welcome, Eric R.>> P.S.: My apology if this is a copy of a post which reaches you - I have problems w/ my DIAL UP provider and am using another e-mail account) <<No worries

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