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FAQs about Live Sand 2

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 3, Identification, Selection/DIY, Systems/Placement, BiotaMaintenance, 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

What would you like to be anchored into?

Collecting LS Hello all at WWM, <Hi there Matt... please don't write/send HTML...> Superb site, spent hours and hours looking around over the past 6 mos. <Glad to find you find it useful> I live in Charleston SC, and have access to tons of sand (not beach sand). Last fall I collected about 20 pounds of the coarsest sand I could find (which is much finer than sugar). Cured it in a 20L tank for two months (just for caution), and that tank is now a refugium for a 15g Nano (and odd mix, I know). Grows TONS AND TONS small invertebrate life (well, until I put a gravid native sailfin molly in it, and the babies wiped out the infauna). Pretty Sailfins, though. <Ah, good> Anyhow, it grows infauna like nothing I've ever seen. But the 1-inch depth doesn't seem to do a lot of denitrifying. My tank has 6 fish in the 1 to 1.5 inch range, nitrates hang around 15. <Likely not deep enough mainly... could make a DSB if you have a sump/refugium you can tie in> Would adding another inch of cured sand run a major risk of hydrogen sulfide? Or would you just add some normal store-variety LS and have a two beds run side by side for nitrate removal? Other than the moderate nitrates, the tank has been a fantastic experience, my first "reef". <Likely not a problem/risk> Again, great site, great job! Matt, Cha'son SC <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Second annual coast to coast sand trade - diversity, anyone? More diversity the better! Just make sure to quarantine. M. Maddox <Actually, am not so sure re this idea... I suspect there is tremendously more diversity in all systems taken separately, but that mixing them will do very little to enhance their individual mix, mass of biota... such systems are established, built-of competing communities that are niche-saturated, and the prevailing conditions in each system will dictate whether new life becomes established... Am suspicious that simply introducing more substrate to such dynamics with a different mix will do much other than to feed the present communities. Would very much like to see actual data from experiments like this... measuring before/after species, numbers...  Shannon-Weiner Species Diversity Index numbers...  Am asking Ron Shimek and Anthony Calfo for comment.  Bob F>

Substrate/Sand beds confusion 1/19/04 Dear Bob, Anthony & Staff, <cheers... Moe in the middle> After getting advice from my LFS. I started to take out all of my substrate which was live sand about an inch thick. They told me to have either 4" or nothing at all. <any sand depth can be made to work, my friend, with adequate water flow above it and sand stirring. Now I'm down to about a 1/4" in the tank but it starting to clump up and has that dirty look to it. I have a lot of current in the tank and when I tried adding more it looks like I'm going to blow my corals off the rock. <the problem is not that you have too much flow, but rather that it is not diffused adequately (you have limited laminar outputs from a water pump or your powerheads). Do a keyword search for "Goodbye Powerheads" to make a closed loop manifold to better distribute water flow> My problem is at this point I'm frustrated and am not sure if I did the right thing by taking all that sand out. I would like to add sand to the tank to make a deep sand bed but I think the right way to it would be to remove all the rock first. It has taken me a year to get things really going and I'm worried that if I take that rock out and add the DSB how my fish and corals would hold up? I was also thinking if I can leave the rock in and pour from 4" in the front to nothing in the back? I'm confused on what type of sand to use after reading this statement. "Live Sand: Is the latest and not-so greatest sub-specialty in "reef" keeping. Though this stuff has lots of microbes, it also presence many potential problems. Introduction of pests, parasites and pollutants not the least of them. Unless you're utilizing very little (a few grains thick) of this stuff, be wary of it going anaerobic. Keep your eye on it for dark spots" <the above statement is remarkably ignorant (as in uninformed) and incorrect> I have made many improvements to my tank with the help from your web site. Thanks again! <all good my friend... and please do consider reading our coverage on DSBs, living substrates, etc. in "Reef Invertebrates" - it is comprehensive if I may say so. Anthony>

- Live Sand - Bob, I hate to sound too na?e, but the fact is, I am! <Not Bob, but JasonC today.> I have a question about live sand. My 55 gallon has about 3 inches of a fine crushed coral/sand mix, with about 15 lbs of live rock. No live corals or anemones, but a few fish, some hermits, feather duster.  The tank has been up and running about a year. I don't stir it, but the tank inhabitants (especially my clown fish) do, to a point where the level of the substrate is constantly changing from one area to another, with peaks and valleys. Anyway, my question is, since the substrate has been in for about a year, and you can see some algae growth along the glass below the sand/crushed coral level, is what I have considered "live sand" at this point? <Yeah... to some extent... sure.> Thanks again. You've helped me with lots of other questions, and I'm sure I'll think of lots more as I continue to try to learn about what has become, at least for me, and intriguing, addicting, but less than easy hobby. I haven't even delved into sumps, refugiums yet. Still staying with the simplest stuff right now, but eager to move on when my knowledge level (and finance considerations!) improve. <I suggest you spend some of your spare time reading our web site, where you'll find many of these issues addressed over and over.> Oh, and before I forget (see, I knew there would be another question), I've been doing water changes regularly, and in refilling, I generally fill a bucket with tap water, use a dechlorinator, mix the salt, check the SG and temperature, and add very slowly to the tank, so far without any apparent problems or stress to the inhabitants. Recently however, I have been reading that it's best not to add the new water for at least 24 hours after mixing, to make sure the salt dissolves fully. How significant is this? <Patience is a virtue... would be best to wait, although sometimes you don't have this luxury. If you can wait, you should.> The bucket of salt itself says it can be added immediately. If I'm doing a 20 - 30% water change, it's a bit inconvenient to have 3 buckets of water sitting around for a day or two before adding, but if it'll help, I'll do it.  Thanks! <Cheers, J -- > Live Sand and Live Rock Curing 9 Jan 2005 Hey guys. <Hi Stephan, MacL here with you tonight.> I have been having problems receiving your reply on my last e-mail! I figured you guys might have been off for the holidays? Anyways I will try again with some questions. I getting ready to order my Fiji LR for my 180 gal. reef. I going to start with 180 lbs and perhaps more later depending on how it will fit with the aquascaping design. Is buying all of the live rock at once the best way or should I buy and cure in smaller batches at a time. I have a former 100 gal. tank I can use for curing. Is best to cure it in the 100 gal. or should I cure it directly into the tank? I plan to put 5'' of sand on the bottom of the display. <Stephan, Sorry if you didn't get a timely reply. We weren't off for the holidays but not a lot of us were around. I know I personally didn't hold up my end like usual. So lets get to your questions and get you all fixed up.  Stephan, there really isn't going to be much difference except in the smell as you cure your live rock.  Honestly as far as doing it in one bunch of multiple bunches you really need to find a way to get it some circulation all around, and also be able to blow the nasty die off away from the rocks in my opinion. Most people prefer to add the sand first so that the live rock can help to feed the sand but you also get the die off from the rock on the sand so its really a toss up as to what you want. I personally think its worth the smell and the die off to feed the sandbed and bring it to life.>   Should this sand be added first before water and LR or after? <About adding the water, one of the best things I have found is to pour the water into a picture that's sitting in the sand if the sand isn't live yet. I prefer to add the water first with live sand and then cut the bag open.> Also, what kind of turnover rate should I aim for in a Cryptic refugium. <Depends entirely on what you keep in the refugium and the purpose of it. I will say I'm not familiar with the term Cryptic refugium. Sorry if I'm missing something. Maybe some more details?> What is the name for reef keepers' convention and when will it be held this year? <There is IMAC, the International Marine Aquarium Conference in June and then there is MACNA, Marine Aquarium Conference of North America in September. Both have websites online.> You guys provide a great service and I am very thankful. You guys rock! (live rock that is)<You are very kind!> Sincerely Stephan Gaudreau <Thanks Stephan, Take care, MacL>

Live sand question Hello Mr. Fenner, Thank you for all your work.  I love to read your site and I drool over your book.  My question is this, from what I have read I do not want to use an undergravel filter even in reverse with live sand since I need a dead space under the sand.  This is a plenum (sorry for the spelling) right?  Can I use an undergravel filter plate unconnected to a pump for a plenum?  I have a 55 gallon tank I am thinking of setting up as a mangrove swamp.  Any suggestions for reading?  I was thinking that the refugium tanks were pretty cool and may go that way. <Cindy, you don't want to use an undergravel filter as a plenum.  There is not enough space under the plate for a plenum to work properly. Most people use the plastic eggcrate covered with a fiberglass screen.  The eggcrate will sit on 1/2 plastic PVC couplings using enough of them to prevent the eggcrate from sagging. Jim Gasta (Salty Dog) > Thank your time, Cindy Haralson Kenai Alaska

Tweaking An Established System...? Gentlemen - <Scott F. with you tonight!> First of all Happy Holiday's to all and what a wonderful site you have, so very helpful and priceless! <Thanks so much for the kind words! Hope that your Holiday Season is a good one!> My question is how deep should my live sand substrate be?  Here are my details: - 60 Gallon Tank - Remora Hang on Skimmer - Wet / Dry Trickle filter with live rock as the medium (Poly filter above rock in chamber so it goes thought this first) - 9 Watt Coralife U/V Sterilizer - Fluval 404, packed with Chemi-pure and Purigen (No Ceramic media or pads) - (2) Coralife Power Compacts (2x96 10K) and (2x96 True Actinics) - 2 Rio 600's for water circulation, plus water return from sump and Fluval - 75 lbs live rock in tank Animals: (1) Potter's Angel (1) Green Mandarin (Eating prepared foods) (1) Maroon clown (1) Green Bulb Anemone (1) Torch (1) Piece of live rock with assorted polyps NH4- Zero N02- Zero N03- getting better, 30 ppm (going down) SG - 1.023 The sand right now is about 1.5" thick.  What should I do, if anything, to make my system more efficient? Thank You gentlemen! Bryan J. McLaughlin <Well, Bryan, there are a few things you can do. First, I'd consider just using the wet dry filter as a "sump"; and not directing water flow over the live rock. It's similar, in my opinion, to using plastic bioballs. Efficient at converting ammonia to nitrite, and nitrite to nitrate-but that's where the efficiency stops. If you're accumulating nitrate, you'll need a deeper sand bed to help reduce it! Consider increasing the sandbed depth to 3" plus if denitrification is your goal. Another suggestion: Don't use the Poly Filter as a "prefilter". At $5.00-$10.00 each (depending upon where you get 'em), these are expensive "mechanical media"!  These are chemical filtration media, and you need to orient them as such within the system. Better to place these in the water, where the flow can be directed through the media for maximum efficiency. Finally, do consider a potential lighting change at some point (utilizing metal halide). Anemones require intense lighting, and metal halide is the most economical solution, IMO.  Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> Growing Live Sand?  Hello my name is James and I am starting my first 55 gallon marine aquarium. What I would like to know is can live sand grow into other sand and make it live also? <Yes, absolutely it will just take some time.>  Such as, can I take Florida crushed coral sand and mix it  with a small amount of live sand from the LFS and it grow onto the coral sand?  You have a wonderful and very informative site and I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question. James, <James, Thanks for your patience.  Live sand will seed regular sand.  It will take approximately 2 to 4 weeks depending on how much live sand you start with.  Good Luck.  MikeB.>      Panamanian Live Sand - Is It The Best Stuff? >Hello I have a question. >>Hello.  Let's hope I have an answer Alejandro. >I am setting up a 155 gal reef, and would like to know if I could use live sand directly from the ocean. >>Generally, as long as it's NOT outside any river mouth or sewer runoff, sources of human/agricultural pollution are the issue here.  Also, be aware that you do stand a chance of introducing parasitic organisms, and as such the sand should be quarantined as one would any other living organism going into a closed system. >I live down in Panama in Central America, I could go and dive for the sand, could I just put it directly into my aquarium? >>Again, I would quarantine with heavy filtration and foam fractionation FIRST.  30 days is the bare minimum on this.  Don't forget you'll need to feed it to keep it live, a few bits of fish food, shrimp (keep it to invertebrate flesh), etc.   >Thank you much, Alejandro >>You're very welcome, and best of luck.  Marina

Live Sand 10/26/04 Hello. This is my 6th marine system. had fish only and corals of many kinds, all very successful. read many many books. my current system is about 2500 liters. read your articles on live sand. once, twice and thrice. I have no substrate at all right now and thought of putting LS. from what I understood a lack of oxygen may occur in lower levels of my LS system if not stirred well and frequently and if it is too deep. I intend to go for no more than 2-3 inches deep. I'm really sick of the look of grainy substrate ("crushed corals" etc.) and want to go for a  the "tropical island sand" look with dusty white sand. <this can work... but requires very strong water flow (20X +) in the system to keep solids from settling in and accumulating> should I use LS ? < at least a little bit (pounds) to inoculate the dry bed> how deep should it be? <for fin sand... I prefer 3-4" minimum> what kind ? (Fiji sand, the sand on my beach ?) <fine for better denitrification> anything else I should know ? <macroeconomics> thank you very much for your time. Mr. Asaf Gur. <with kindest regards, Anthony> Why Live Sand? >Quick question.   >>With concurrent quick answer, greetings my friend. >People are always talking about adding "live sand" to a tank.   >>Indeed they are!  What's up with that? >Is it really beneficial... you're sand is going to come alive anyway if the proper amount of live rock is in the tank?   >>HA!  A man after my own frugal heart!  It's beneficial if you're in a hurry (a hurry to spend money!  j/k, but only slightly). >Wouldn't it be better and cheaper just to purchase Southdown sand or aragonite sand, put your live rock in the tank, then, maybe, seed that sand with a few cups of live sand?  Am I missing something? >>Keith, no, you're NOT missing anything (except a reason to spend money on sand), you don't even need to worry about seeding with other live sand if you've already got live rock, especially if it's righteous.  I'm with YOU!  Marina

Sand bed/live sand questions 9/20/04 Hello.  This is my 6th marine system. Had fish only and corals of many kinds, all very successful. read many many books. my current system is about 2500 liters.  Read your articles on live sand. once, twice and thrice. I have no substrate at all right now and thought of putting LS. from what I understood a lack of oxygen may occur in lower levels of my LS system if not stirred well and frequently and if it is too deep. I intend to go for no more than 2-3 inches deep. <Old thinking is that anoxic/anaerobic zones are dangerous and to be avoided.  Newer thinking has recognized that very effective denitrification occurs in these areas.  There is the added benefit that fine grained sands support a fantastic range of detritivorous critters including an array of worms, various 'pods, etc.  My suggestion for fine sands is to use an inch or less (aesthetic and prevents nutrient accumulation, but supports less life) or a minimum of 3-4" (some risk of nutrient accumulation, but supports more life that better processes these nutrients, also better denitrification).  In either case, I would avoid any stirring or major disturbance of fine grained substrates.  Such action can cause major disturbances in water quality.  Instead, use sea cucumbers and burrowing snails to do this work for you in a very controlled manner (Avoid the white "sand sifting" starfish... they are predators on the worms and pods that you want to encourage).> I'm really sick of the look of grainy substrate ("crushed corals" etc.) and want to go for a  the "tropical island sand" look with dusty white sand.  <I totally agree with the aesthetic consideration, and also believe that finer sands perform functionally better.> should I use LS ? how deep should it be ? what kind ? (Fiji sand, the sand on my beach ?) anything else I should know ? <The answers to these questions depend a lot on where you live and how deep your pockets are.  Live sand is very expensive, often of questionable quality, and if you know other local aquarists with established live sand beds, it is unnecessary. (you can "borrow" a few cups of live sand from other to "seed" your new sand).  Live sand should be collected from reef areas, not the beach. Beach sand won't contain the desired critters and carries a high risk of pollution.  Any living animal, live rock or live sand must also come from tropical areas.  Temperate life will not survive tropical temperatures.  See above for comments about depth.> thank you very much for your time. Mr. Asaf Gur.<Always a pleasure!  AdamC>

Live Sand Starter Hello, I was wondering if you think it would be ok to add 1 quart of "live sand booster" to a new setup for a seahorse only fish tank?  I will get my seahorses from Oceanrider, they are all tank raised and eating fortified frozen Mysis.  This kick start quart comes from CULTUREDAQUARIA.COM.  It is supposed to be full of "critters" like copepods, small sand stars, bi-valves, and sand worms and stuff.  I was just wondering if it might help with getting my tank ready for my new seahorses.  I want to make it as perfect as possible for them.  It is a 29 gallon aquarium, and it will have 30 pounds of live rock, Carib sea Indo-Pacific black live sand, protein skimmer rated for a 75 gallon tank, with a hang on the back filter (170 gal hr) with bio wheels for good bacteria to grow on.  My clean up crew will be the first thing in after cycling though.  The sand already has lots of good bacteria, I thought this other stuff would give everything else a head start.  What do you think?  Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  By the way, I was referred to you by Oceanrider.  The person I talked to was not familiar with the stuff in question.  Thank you.                                                                     Jerry Cranford   ***Hello Jerry, The live rock and sand make the BioWheel in your filter superfluous at best. As far as the sand booster goes, if you have the money to burn, go for it. I've never heard of this, but there are similar kits offered from other vendors. Myself, I've never bothered as I've found them over priced for what you get. WAY over priced. I just go to my LFS and grab a few handfuls of the gunk from the bottom of the live rock bin. I've found I get plenty of critters that way. It certainly will enhance the variety of life in your tank, but you have other avenues available to you, including sand from other reef keepers. Bottom line, if the $$$ aspect doesn't hurt, give it a try. Jim*** Rock & Sand Questions (9/8/04) Hi Wet Web Gods! <Mere Mortal Steve Allen at your service.> I am still in the process of  building this 180 gal. reef tank of mine and I am getting close to getting things started. <cool> I have several questions regarding the curing of live rocks and the seeding of sand. My plan for this system is to have a 35 gal. upstream refugium (24"x28") with a deep layer of sand 5" sand and Gracilaria growing for nitrate export. <Do learn of the care requirements of this macroalgae--it can be difficult to grow due to high flow requirements. Take a look at Chaetomorpha too.> The surface of the main display is 49"x30" minus 2 corner overflow. <Interesting shape--a "standard" 180 is 72x24.> It was suggested to me to put a thin layer (1") of sand in the main display in conjunction with a deep layer 5-6" external refugium. <This is for aesthetics. Personally, I don't like the look of a bare-bottom tank.> If the best size for a refugium is 40% of main display's water volume <more is better>, this would mean a refugium of 72 gal. Since I only have a 35 gal. refugium it appears that I need to expand somehow. <Any is better than none.> Or it is the foot print that matters? <Volume is important: "The solution to pollution is dilution."> Would it be advantageous to create a DSB in the main display as well? <Yes, if the stocking plan can accommodate this.> Would the buffering capabilities increase or improve? <Yes> Since I will use aragonite as media will this combination produce too much calcium? <No. The calcium in the aragonite comes out slowly based on pH, alkalinity and Ca concentration in the water, among other factors.> Is there such a thing? <Yes, created when adding too much supplement. Can mess up alkalinity and cause precipitates in the tank.> I purchased a calcium reactor for this system. Will it still be useful considering the amount of aragonite dissolved? <I'd say this expensive piece of equipment is only necessary in reef tanks with a number of high calcium-consuming corals. Most tanks can get by with the sand bed, rock, and some supplementation with two-part liquids or Kalkwasser, not to mention regular water changes. Lots of info on WWM, elsewhere.> I plan on suspending all the live rocks above the sand anyway. Will the sand in both tanks need to get stirred and/or vacuum? <Stirring by appropriate creatures such as Nassarius snails and burrowing shrimps or fishes is plenty. For the 1" bed, I'd vacuum.> Can vacuuming kill the micro-fauna? <It will certainly remove a portion. One should not be too aggressive. Search FAQs for details.> As for rock work I'm going to go with uncured Fiji Live Rock. Does it come directly from the source via airplane? <No. There are middlemen involved.> I want to cure the rock in a separate vessel so I can build the structure in the display without being rushed. Should I still look for Mantis Shrimp or that has been taken care of? <Mantis shrimp are not all that common in Pacific LR, but can usually be detected and extracted during the curing/quarantine process. More info on this in curing and mantis FAQs> What would a safe photo-period be to preserve the Coralline Algae? <Hmm. I cured mine in Rubbermaid containers in the garage (stinky stuff--not nice in the house) with only a window for light and the coralline came through just fine. Read the curing articles/FAQs.> Can I seed sterile aragonite sand simultaneously with each batch of Live Rocks. Or  is there a better way? <I would not recommend sand in the curing vessel because you will need to do a lot of water changes and detritus-vacuuming. Better to put the sand in the tank and let the cured LR seed it. Another option would be to add Bio-Spira Marine to the tank with sand in it while waiting for the LR to cure. Great product, but not cheap.> And finally should I have different grain size in the main display than the refugium for the sake of variety of microfauna? <This can be useful to promote variety.> Thanks folks, Stephan Gaudreau <You're welcome. Hope this helps. BTW, I think you would find Bob Fenner & Anthony Calfo's book "Reef Invertebrates" a prudent investment for its outstanding 100 pages of info on DSBs, refugiums and macroalgae (in addition to the valuable info on all sorts of non-cnidarian inverts. It is available at Amazon.>

Sticky stuff in substrate Hi there, << Hi. >> I have a 75 gallon reef tank that is about 9 months old with about 4 inches of crushed coral substrate. While I was scraping the algae off of my glass today I shook up some of my substrate and noticed that there was like a rug on the bottom. << Hmmm, could be Cyano holding it together, or "glue" from worms>>  Do you have any idea what this might be? It looks like a bunch of worms colonizing sticking straight in the air.<< Yep you got it.  That is what does it, worms.  It isn't bad, just their way of making a home in the sand. >> They are about 1mm in dia. and about 1/4 of an inch tall. They look the same height all over. Could they be harmful? << Nope, not bad, don't worry. >> Thanks,    Josh Breeds <<  Blundell  >>

Adding live sand, follow up Dear Mr. Blundell, << No Mr. just "hey you" or "Blundell" >>  I have really made a mess of things! (It never occurred to me that you would answer personally!!!) << Isn't that why we are here?  I hope we help, we try. >> While I was expecting to read your answer regarding "adding live sand to an existing set-up" in the daily Q and A, and "thinking" I had no time to wait, I started removing the crushed coral.  I left two to three inches, added a couple of inches of SeaChem "Pearl Beach" Aragonite and added the 250lbs. of live sand. (The tank is 72" L.x18" D. and the bed is now 5" deep.) << That isn't bad.  It really can't be too deep. >> I also added what must be approximately 50lbs. of "base rock". YUCK!!!  Well, the tank is cycling. (Duh!)  Amm. is 0.4, nitrites 0.4, nitrates less than 10 and I was "thinking" again.  Would it hurt or help to do a water change and add my original live rocks which are being held in a Rubbermaid tub with heat and circulation. << I think a water change can't hurt.  I'm not sure it is going to do any good here, but it can't hurt.  I would add your other live rock, as live rock is always good.  Mainly you need time and patience, just wait it out. >>  I believe that one should not do water changes during cycling unless approaching  1.0 but I don't know if this holds true since there is still a lot of the original bacteria in the tank and filters. << I have no idea where that 1.0 number came from.  I would say water changes are good even in stable tanks that read 0. >> This time a will wait for your reply. << Okay, but my reply may be full of bad information, so you shouldn't just do what I say. >> Thank you so much for your time and effort (and patience).  P.S., the original live rock has lots of life on it including worms, baby brittle stars and bi-valves.  I don't want to kill anymore of the little guys. << Understood, but those things can also help "cycle" the new rock and get things going again. >> Diane <<  Blundell  >>

Adding live sand 8/31/04 Dear Crew, I have spent hours reading your fabulous site and I have seen several questions similar to mine however I have also seen several different answers.  I have 250 lbs. of live sand coming from Tampa Bay Saltwater that I was going to add to my 125 gal. tank that already has four to five inches of crushed coral of different grades, with the smaller size settled to the bottom.  These smaller grains are small enough to start clogging the UG. filter plates (which I am removing as I do my water changes).  What I have planned is to remove fish to various other tanks, then remove live rock (approximately 60+ lbs.) to a large Rubbermaid tub.  Remove the top one inch, possibly two inches, of the larger grade of crushed coral and add the live sand on top.  Is this feasible? <Disturbing all of this "muck" can be disastrous if not handled properly.  Your plan is a reasonable one, but I would consider leaving the UGF plates in place and simply pulling the airlift tubes.  If there is a lot of life in your CC, I would add the new sand on top a little at a time (this will require you to store the sand properly for at least a few days).  By adding 1/4" or so per day, you give the life in your current sand time to come to the surface and not get buried alive.  Even if there isn't much life, there is little harm to leaving the larger CC.> If I remove all CC then I will not have nearly enough depth and I have already broke the bank with this T.B.S. order. (Also have 100 lbs. of live rock coming)  Plus I was thinking the differences in size would help future burrow builders.  With this order comes a variety of hermits, snails, cucumbers and starfish; and others I know I'm forgetting. The inhabitants now are: 1 3" Coral Beauty 1 2" Six-line Wrasse 2 2.5" Firefish 2 4" Scissortail Darts 1 Flame Hawk (going back to store) 1 4" Tasseled Filefish (not including fins or tassels) <Adding all of this sand and rock will initiate a new "cycle" in your tank.  You can avoid this by cycling it all in a separate vessel before adding it to your existing tank.  I would highly recommend this.  You could also add it directly to your display and move your current animals, but this seems like the greater hassle.> I was wondering just how big a threat my Filefish will be at this time and if I must leave him out, what size tank could he be content in?<It will probably be fine in as small as a 20g tank for the short period of time you would have to remove him for.> Also, with the addition of so much more live rock and everything rearranged could I add my feisty Cherub Pygmy Angel in with the Coral Beauty? <They would probably be fine in such a large tank.> Please, one more question, but first a brief description of changes.  Three weeks ago I removed the first of three filter plates during a water change and had also switched salt mix from Coralife to Instant Ocean and now my pH has gone from a pretty constant 8.1 to 8.6!!!  Is it the different mix? My well water tests at 8.0. <A good possibility.> A month ago we added different lights: 3 175 watt Metal Halides with a 72" 2x96 watt Power Compact blue actinic bulbs and now have blooms of hair and turf/mat algae.  Could this affect the pH? <The photosynthesis from the algae could be driving CO2 down and pH up. You can verify this by checking the pH in the morning and in the evening.  If evening pH is much higher than morning, then photosynthesis is the culprit.  If there is little change, it is most likely the salt mix.  If you find large swings, you need to improve gas exchange in the tank (greater water movement, larger skimmer, etc.)> Please help and thank you so much for your time and dedication.  Diane. <Glad to!> P.S.  Could pH. rise with evaporation and the corresponding rise in salinity?  We are having a hard time getting the top-off right with the hotter lights and the open top now.  Again, thank you.  <This is not likely to be a significant factor, although if you removed glass cover in this process, you may have increased the gas exchange, leading to the higher pH.  Best Regards.  Adam>

STORING LIVE SAND Hi Folks-I've got 2500#'s of live sand that I have to move (along w/all the livestock). << That is a lot of sand!  Were talking some serious Rubbermaid containers for this. >> Some of the sand is going to have to be stored. Can this be done? << Yes, but it's difficult.  I wouldn't store it long without light, heaters, and powerheads. >> Can I reuse it at some point?  << Yes, but I don't think this is a good idea.  I think you would be better selling the sand, and buying new down the road.  Keeping it alive and in a running tank is going to be very difficult, but certainly possible. >> Please, please help me. Lynne Bennett << Adam B. >>

Setting Up Tank hello crew, <Hi Ed, MacL here> it has been  a long road to getting my tank set up and appreciate the help you have given me. <Congratulations> i have yet another ? for you. in regards to a new 120 gal set-up i plan on adding 1-1 1/2 inches of Carib sea Aragalive Fiji pink live sand and 120lbs of semi cured Fiji live rock. can i introduce the both at the same time? or would it be better to cure both  separately in different containers then introduce to the new tank? <I would do them together> also does the store bought Aragalive Fiji pink need to be rinsed?<No you don't want to rinse live sand>............. thanks for your patience ! Ed <Sounds like you are on your way Ed, good luck.>

Playing In The Sand (Keeping Sandbed Clean) Hi-Just to give ya a little background. I am running a 20 gal (first time) saltwater tank, and I have live rock and very fine live sand. As for fish, I got two damsels, a clown, a sixline wrasse, and a turbo snail. My snail has taken care of my algae growing on my rock, but it is the sand I am worried about. My tank is fairly new and doing well, but my question is this...is there an easy to care for fish or sea star that will help me clean my sand w/o devastating the natural balance of the tank (I don't have detritus just yet, just algae on the surface of the sand). <Well, there are a lot of fishes and animals that can fit the bill. I am partial to some of the snails that can do the job, such as Nassarius and others.> My goal is to have my tank run pretty much as self sufficient as possible (cleaning wise). Or is there a way to clean the sand w/o stirring it up? <Well, you can use a slow siphon and disturb just the very top layers of the sand. Unfortunately, and siphoning of the sand or use of "sand sifting" creatures will result in some level of disturbance to the resident fauna. On the other hand, if you are not too aggressive, it probably won't be too big a problem. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Small worms in sand 1/19/04 Hello! Thanks for being here for us! I have a JBL 12 Nano cube running for about 3 months now. I have 2 damsels, 1 clown, 1 anemone and several hermit crabs and emerald crabs...  It has been great!  Picture attached! 2 questions: <Hi Roberto!  Adam here.  Glad to hear you are having fun!> First question: It has been great! I have about 1 inch of sand... looking into the sand just by the edge of the glass you can see something like little caverns that go vertically/diagonally like if they were made from bubbles rising. But some days ago I discovered something moving along that little hole like a worm with two very small  black dots at the edge like eyes! It suddenly moved away down and  vanished. It has never appeared on the surface of the sand so I believe  is living under the sand... is this something to worry about? It is  amazing how many little things are inside our tanks. <Yes it is amazing, and some of the best fun that this hobby has to offer.  Such critters are very common and quite beneficial as scavengers.> Second question: sometimes if I'm looking at the tank from an edge I  can see like red film on the inside part of the glass (like powder) but  if I look straight forward there is nothing. You can only see it in an  angle. Should I attempt to clean the glass anyway or this is good stuff  that it can stay there... Thank you always, you are all the best... Roberto <I have no idea what this might be, but I have seen it in my tanks too.  Nothing to worry about.  Best Regards!  Adam> Sand Activation (1/6/2004)  thanks for the quick reply! <Steve Allen pitching in this time. Scott has certainly helped me in the past too.>deeply appreciated. when you suggested a activator for my dead oolitic sand did you mean the (Surfzone live sand activator by indo-pacific sea farms)? to kick start.  <I have personally ordered from IPSF and Inland Aquatics. Both excellent companies. IPSF has a great deal for a hundred bucks where you can pick nine items with free FedEx Priority shipping. Their Wonder Mud, Live Sand Activator and Liquid N-Reducer worked Great for me. You can also order some 'pods and Nerites and Strombus Grazers as part of the package. If you're doing a refugium with lighting, try some of their Tang Heaven Red (Gracilaria parvispora). Grows great for me. Their bristle worms are useful too. I separately ordered mini brittlestars that are reproducing in my system. If your DSB is to be in the main tank, do allow plenty of time for it to establish (beyond just cycling) before adding predatory fish. Inland Aquatics refugium fauna kit and macroalgae (including Chaetomorpha) are also excellent.> 

Real Live Beach Sand (12/24/2003) I have a question and hope you might have an answer. <I'll try. Steve Allen tonight.> I'm starting up a 60 gallon Marine Tank and would like to save a little $. <Just don't be penny-wise and pound foolish. Every time I've bought something cheap to save money, it didn't cut it and I had to go back and buy the more expensive, better product. There is some truth in the clich?"you get what you pay for."> Instead of going to the local pet store and buying crushed coral I was wondering if taking sand from the beach would work just as well if not better. I'd be taking sand from a place called Bodega which is in Northern California. What are your thoughts? <My thoughts: 1. Is it legal to take sand from the beach in question? In some places it's not. 2. NorCal ocean water is cold and the organisms in it may not survive at tropical temps. 3. Are you certain there are no pollutants in this sand. Where's the nearest sewage outlet, Superfund site, nuclear power plant, etc? 4. What about parasites or other noxious organisms? 5. See if your local Home Depot carries Southdown Tropical Play Sand. It's aragonite and fine for aquariums and much cheaper than LFS products. Seed with some live sand from another aquarist or LFS. 6. Search WWM under terms like "beach sand" to find more info.  Hope this helps.>

- Cleaning Live Sand - If I have a reef aquarium with a live sand bed of 1.5-1.75" deep is it best to siphon it or just stir it up. <Depends how fine the particles are... siphoning larger particles makes sense because you won't vacuum too many out of the aquarium. Smaller/finer particles will likely get sucked out of the aquarium during such an operation, so stirring it would make much more sense.> How deep through the sand should I stir? <All the way to the bottomed.> Should it all be stirred at once or a little at each water change? <A little at each water change is more practical.> What is the best thing to stir the sand with? <A plastic rod or dowel.> I am doing water changes every week to two weeks, normally about 10%.  That would be considered a pretty good percentage, correct? <Sure - is exactly what I do, 10% every two weeks.> Is it also true that if you stir real deep in the sand bed and do not directly siphon that water out, that it contains a bad bacteria that can kill your fish? <More prevalent in deeper sand beds - Sulphur dioxide is what I think you are referring to, but it takes a long time to build this up and your sand bed probably isn't deep enough to create too much of this stuff.> You guys always are extremely helpful and quick with responses.  Thank you very much!! <Cheers, J -- >

- Collecting Live Sand - Hi People, I'm just setting up a refugium... and LS is not readily available from the LFS and hence when I went to the Maldives two weeks ago, I collected about 1 kg of Live Sand from the reef. I've kept it in a container with Saltwater on my balcony, and now I find a sewage kind of smell... is this sand still usable or should it be thrown out? <Whatever was live in that sand is now likely dead - it's not useless but would need to be rinsed out and potentially run through a clean tank with some of your makeup water for a couple of weeks before putting it into an existing system.> Thank You... do you have any info regarding collection of LS? <If you already have live rock, your substrate will become live in time. Sand collected from the wild can be used, but your best bet is to collect it on your last day on location and then get it into a running system as quickly as possible.> Regards Lyndon <Cheers, J -- >

Live sand and reef aquarium Hello, when I was at my LFS asking about live sand, I told him I had a 55 gal reef tank that has been set up with live rock and live sand for 1 year.  He said all of my live sand is probably dead, and that I should begin replacing the entire sand bed a little bit at a time with water changes.<who told you this? the sand obviously has beneficial bacteria in it in order to keep your aquarium stable. and if it's a reef. more than likely you have copepods and other micro-crustaceans living in your "live sand"..>  I have never heard of "dead" live sand before.<your LFS person is misinforming you. normally they do this for a quick sale>  Is he just trying to sell me more live sand? <yes> How can I tell if my live sand is "alive" and doing the job adequately? <well. if your fish are alive and well and your water tests out fine. then it is doing its job> I have also been told by some to never siphon any portion of the sand bed (destroys and/or removes the beneficial bacteria), and others have said I should siphon to remove detritus my clean up crew does not get.<you can siphon your sand if you would like. but if its fine enough it will be sucked up. I siphon my aragonite bed every time I perform a water change>  Yesterday I decided to do a very thorough siphon of the sand bed in one corner of my tank.  The bed is about 4" deep, and when I began to siphon up the sand and detritus in this area, the water going into my bucket was dark brown and smelled foul (like sulfur).<yes. you are getting all the grime. so to speak>  Can you please answer these questions for me, and give me some advice on how to proceed?<Don't listen to that particular person at your LFS because seemingly all he/she cares about is your $$$>  Thank you very much for your time.  Steve.<good luck, IanB>

Moving Live Rock and Sand Hey crew...real quickie here.  Was wondering how long it my live sand and rock will remain "live" for in 5gall buckets?? There will be enough water in the buckets to submerge everything. I think it would probably be about hr and a half before it was all put back into a tank full of water. Thanks! Rick <Hey Rick, your live rock and sand should remain live in the buckets for the trip, I would not worry too much about 1.5 hours.  Try to avoid any major temperature swings, do not crank up the A/C.  If a temperature drop is going to be a problem in your area you might consider heat pads.  Best Regards, Gage>

Adding Live Sand Hey Crew. Hope you can offer some good advice. I would like to add 2 or 3 more inches of sand to the 2 or 3 I have now. I'm in no hurry so a little at a time is no prob. I was going to try and find Southdown but so far no luck in my area (Texas). I thought I could move sand from a corner , spread it around and replace with new sand. I didn't know if this would cause to much cloudiness or would I be better off to tear down the whole tank and add it all at once. These indecision's keep me from doing anything. The sand I have now is proper type and size. Any thoughts are appreciated.  Thanks , Mark <I would drain the tank with a high volume pump removing the livestock along the way. Add the sand and pump the water back into the tank and add the livestock. Good luck, Don>

Live sand 08/04/03 <Hello from sunny Eugene> Hello from partly sunny Florida, I have a 220g fish only tank. My nitrates are on the high side of normal. I have be reading the questions from others on this website. I'm still uncertain as to the fix on this problem. I have crushed coral about 4 inches along the bottom. I am currently running an undergravel filter with 2 - 700 gph powerheads, a bioball system and a canister filter. My question is this if I reverse the flow on the UGF would this help my situation? Keep in mind I have done three 50g water changes in a one week span. Now I've heard that crushed coral can trap waste that won't   be pulled through and filtered. But by reversing the flow this problem can be lessened. Also, I want to set up another tank but use sand from the Gulf. I have a 35g tank I use to grow tang heaven and used nothing but sand from the Gulf. I have had great success in water quality. What are the pros & cons on using that type of sand in a fish only tank? Any info would greatly be appreciated. Thank you <Well, running the UGF in reverse will help, but you still need to vacuum the tank out regularly. Crushed coral can and will trap debris, but bioballs and canisters are both notorious sources of nitrates as well (if you're running the bioballs as a wet/dry, submerged, they're more like low grade live rock). The canister should be cleaned out weekly, if not daily to prevent the build up of crud (for lack of a better word). Have you thought about switching over to a FOWLR? (Fish only with Live Rock?) There are a number of live rock dealers in FL, so you could always drive to their stores and cherry pick your own (and be the envy of a lot of other aquarists). I didn't see mention of a skimmer, I hope you are using one. As for a sand bed, I'm in favor of it. The con would be that if you have fish that dig, your tank can get cloudy. The pro would be that you have a nitrate reducer built right in, and the animals from freshly harvested live sand would be a food population for your fish. A refugium wouldn't be a bad idea either (plumbing your tang heaven tank into the tank would help reduce nitrates and give your macroalgae fertilizer to boot. Here's some stuff for you to read up on: www.wetwebmedia.com/skimmerfaqs.htm www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm www.wetwebmedia.com/fishonsetup.htm www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm Of the dealers in FL that I'm aware, both have good reputations: Tampa Bay Saltwater (Tbsaltwater.com) and Gulf view (www.gulf-view.com). I would recommend quarantining anything you buy though, that's the best way to avoid unwelcome hitchhikers such as mantis shrimp (though that depends on your point of view), various kinds of crabs, etc. Hope this helps, have a nice night, PF>

DSB and H2S Hey Crew, I talked to the owner of my LFS, who is purportedly an expert in marine biology/ichthyology with degrees in both fields. <heehee... good for him. Now all he needs is a degree in aquarium science which has nothing to do with field biology or ichthyology> In our conversation, he stated that deep sand beds (and plenums too) should be avoided because without expert attention they will, within 6 to 18 months, go over to producing H2S and obliterate everything in the tank.   <true in some circumstances... although "expert attention" really is not needed/ Just good common sense and husbandry. We address these issues at great length in our new book Reef Invertebrates: https://secure.wetwebmedia.com/order_form.jsp  --  http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html > I have searched the FAQs and forums and have not found anyone who seems to have problems with H2S.   <very true for most. And my experience with DSB is 10+ years and 48,000 pounds of aragonite sand used for my greenhouse coral farm operation> I am setting up a 90gal reef in a few weeks (4-5" DSB) and this conversation has me a touch worried.   <no worries... DSB can be wonderful. I highly recommend them if you are a good aquarist> What is the prevailing opinion of the WWM crew?   <any depth of sand can work with proper address> I have read so much about DSB from so many sources that I am thoroughly confused.  It is my impression that it is necessary to more or less leave the DSB alone physically (save for some sand sifting organisms like Nassarius snails and worms) and just pay close attention to water quality.  Am I off the mark?   <hmmm... not really. String water flow is crucial for these and all reef aquaria though for good water quality. Critical here> Is proper DSB maintenance more involved then I think?   <extremely low maintenance. Our coverage of the topic in the new book is about 25% of the 400 pages total! (on plants & algae, refugiums and live sand)> Thanks in advance for your advice. Nick <best regards, Anthony>

Live Sand Bed 7/4/03 Hello at WetWeb, <Cheers> Just reading the live sand bed section in Anthony and Bob's new book, and I have a couple questions.  Let me preface them by saying I recently had to remove the aragonite bed from my 180-gallon reef due to what I believe was phosphate precipitation. <Yes... does occur... but usually is not a problem unless the bed is stirred or agitated. Else it is neutrally bound> The bed was like concrete and I was having algae problems, so I opted to remove it.   <Hmmm... that actually sounds like a water chemistry problem. Adding calcium/Kalk too quick or too much and/or spiking the pH is what causes that. Subsequently, the compromised sand bed can feed nuisance algae or at least not deter it. Point being... the problem was not your sand bed... but the advice you got on how to maintain it> Removal of the substrate and large water changes seem to have greatly assisted in alleviating the nuisance algae.  I suspect the problem arose from playing the see saw game with alkalinity/calcium, etc., and using additives to try to balance it and instead made it worse.   <Exactly, my friend> Out with the old.  I now want to add a new live sand bed and am considering using the Carib Sea Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand for starters, which is what I had in the original bed that I removed after it became so compact.  There is no specific grain size indicated on the bag of the Carib Sea, so I can't give you that specific information.  If you are familiar with this particular grade, would you opine as to how deep a bed you recommend, and how much live sand and sand stirrers you would add to it to seed the bed?   <No worries... simply seek sugar-fine grains at a depth of 3" minimum... 4-6" better still.> I'd like to add a few Holothuria cukes, etc., once its established to keep things clean, and perhaps some critters from IndoPacific SeaFarms to improve the life and stirring of the bed.  This system is old and the buffering capabilities, etc., have greatly reduced, and I would like very much to get it in balance again with a good sand bed.   <No troubles at all... can be had> I must admit I'm a bit paranoid after all the work I went through to remove the substrate and alleviate the algae problem.   <Understood... but easily prevented. Do focus on excellent water flow (10-20X tank volume) and due diligence with dosing supplements (starting with 2-part mixes in a balanced tank, mixing said liquids vigorously before every use (else see-saw occurs), etc)> Sorry for blathering.  Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  BTW, I never give up.  Just want to do it right this time. Many thanks, Peggy <Excellent to hear! Best regards, Anthony>

Live Sand 6/26/03 Hello CREW: <howdy!> My LFS sells LS from a "company" in 20lb bags, in water. Is this stuff truly LIVE? <hahahhahahhah....hehehhe.....wooooooohoo...ahahahahahhahahhaha...ahhhhhhhhhh. No. Not very, in my opinion <G>> I can't imagine it has any of the little critters, worms, etc that we all want. <quite correct. I'm not sure how much more live it is than saying it was not bagged under sterile conditions> Can I make this stuff better by putting in new UNCURED LR, and curing it all together before putting it all into my sump? Hmmm... yes, to be true. But not recommended with raw uncured rock...concern of pests, predators or diseases finding harbor in the sand. Best to inoculate later with cured sand from another aquarists tank. Do seek a regional aquarium society perhaps for this... wonderful to do sand swaps where all share> If so, how long should it cure with lights - motion, etc.?  Also, can I mix Red Mangroves, Halimeda, Thalassia together? <you can in the short term... but the root systems of the Thalassia and Mangroves will battle in the same small vessel in just a few years. Best to leave one or the other out, or keep them inline in separate vessels> Thanx again;  Stacey <kind regards, Anthony>

Adding Live Sand - 6/20/03 Hello, I was reading on your site that before adding live sand to an existing tank, the sand should be cured and/or washed. How do I go about curing or rinsing live sand? <Well if it is live when you buy it, then I would not worry much about the need to cure it, IMO. Rinsing is another matter entirely. I would keep the skimmer on for sure, but maybe turn off the circulation for an hour or two just to let things settle.> When I first set up my system (55g), I had two 20lb bags of "live" sand and a little bit of live rock that was already cured. Now my livestock is all happily installed and I want to add some more of the bagged "live" sand b/c my pistol shrimp has been moving all the sand to his corner of the tank, leaving the other side very bare. <Ahhh> I was thinking I could make up a batch of water and then pour the bagged sand into the bucket, stirring it around a bit. Is that what is meant by rinsing "thoroughly with system-useable aged water"? <Yes it is. I like that you have done your research. I am impressed!=)> Also, in your FAQs I read that it would be best to add sand gradually with each water change. After the live sand is rinsed or cured, I will probably add a pound or so with each water change. Does this seem like a good course of action? < Well it gives time for the "living/live" aspect to catch up to the current tank conditions without smothering what is already there. It sounds like a good course of action to me. You could do a few pounds though. Maybe even 4-5 at a time and do it over the course of a few days. So many methods to the madness. It is not unheard of to just dump and stir into the display tank if the grain size and consistency of the sand is the same> Thank you for your help. I read the live sand article, the FAQs and some of the forum, but I wasn't able to find a specific answer on how to wash/cure live sand. <No worries. Look here for some more reading on the substrates. Just because it is not about live sand doesn't mean it couldn't be helpful. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm. This link has a great deal of links to various substrate articles and FAQs. Go for it. You are well on your way to becoming a Conscientious Marine Aquarist! Pablo outta here!>

Substrates <Hi Ron, PF here tonight> I am starting a fish only tank- I had a question about sand vs. gravel- I want to use a product from CaribSea called Tahitian moon sand but was told it is to lite & I would not be able to syphon it- <I have oolitic aragonite in my tank, and their is very little sand loss when I do my water change [I use a siphon tube].> I was told to use Indo Pacific Black sand because it is little heavier but after I ordered it , I realize it was an Agra-Alive product which I assume is Live Sand. Would this cause a problem in a fish only tank or could I just rinse in out real good? <No problem, and don't rinse it. Such "live sands" [a brief aside, Live Sand includes worms, micro stars, etc. Bagged live sands in stores have bacterial populations, and that's it] won't hurt, and don't rinse it, what is left of the bacterial population will help establish your biological filter.> My other question is revolving around Dried coral as decor. I realize I don't want  coralline growth in a fish only tank. <Why not? Coralline algae is harmless, annoying on the glass yes because it's so hard to get off, but harmless nonetheless.> Does these dried coral stay clean or do they need to be cleaned every six months or so? <I imagine there would be hair algae, or some such on them since it sounds like your tank will lack animals to control that. Have you thought about going with a FOWLR instead? The biological filtration provided by the live rock would be a big benefit for your animals, plus it provides a food source (as well as eating the stuff you would be siphoning out. Just my opinion.> thanks Ron <Your welcome, PF> Adding live sand, or live rock to established system Hello, You have always helped me with questions in the past. My questions are --- I have an established reef tank and I was contemplating removing the crushed coral substrate and replacing with live sand. <Based on recent experience, remove all the water (using a high flow pump and plastic containers) and livestock, remove the old substrate, replace with sand and refill the tank. Return the livestock. If you don't have the tools to do this, I would wait until you do. Remember, 4" minimum and better 6" for the bed> Would this cause an ammonia spike or other problems to the fish and corals? <Should be OK. Make sure you have plenty of aged seawater on hand as you will likely need to do some water changes> And, I need to add more live rock, would adding too much at one time cause problems? <I would get a plastic tub, heater, power filter, a power head, and a cheap light and cure the rock for several weeks before introducing it into the main tank.> Also, I want to remove the bio-balls from the wet/dry and replace with live rock, would this be fine? <A good move in my opinion. Remove the bioballs a little at a time over a couple weeks. One more thing: you want to wait several weeks between making each of these changes. If you try to do all these things in a short period of time, you'll will have trouble.> Thank you for your help, Tim <My pleasure, Don>

Re: Live rock and sand for a new tank Hey again Don, It is so true when they say too much information is not good either.  I am so confused!!!!! <My constant state of being it seems at times> I just read the main (1st) article that Mr. Fenner has posted on substrates and in their he DOES NOT recommend going with live sand.  Is this the case?  It seems like it is the rage right now and everyone is doing it.  For my 55 gal am I just better of buying 10-20 lbs to use as seed sand and then compensate the rest of the bed with store bought bag sealed sand, and then mix the two together before adding to the system?  Can you suggest a sand I should use?  I see the best size granule recommended is greater than 1.5mm and as close to round as possible? Thanks again...as always...I am so sorry to bother you guys!!  Its just that I truly want this to work this time and get it right.  Too many mistakes and lack of successes over the years.  I refuse to give up!! <Understood. I apologize for the delay, but I wanted to get Bob's take on the article as the author. This information was written sometime ago when it was popular to go to the beach and just get some sand which is not a good idea for the reasons stated in the article. Better to use a commercial sugar fine or oolithic sand (< 1mm) and lay that down as a bed. Then some live sand sprinkled over the top. Or, you can just let your live rock 'seed' the dead sand. This will take a little longer, but much cheaper. So I would stick to the original 30# or so of sealed, store bought, 'dead' sand, and seed with just a handful or two of live sand from a store or friend and you will have good life in no time. Or, skip the live sand all together and just allow time for the live rock to seed the sand with is certainly going to happen. Hope this helps, Don> Louis Rizzo

Re: Live sand clarification Hi Bob, here is the paragraph: "Live Sand: Is the latest and not-so greatest sub-specialty in "reef" keeping. Though this stuff has lots of microbes, it also presence many potential problems. Introduction of pests, parasites and pollutants not the least of them. Unless you're utilizing very little (a few grains thick) of this stuff, be wary of it going anaerobic. Keep your eye on it for dark spots... " <Man, talk about a "dated" opinion. Maybe I can/will change/amend to state it's better to "make ones own" with either just the addition of some "fresh" live rock or a detritivore "kit" from an etailer> Maybe it is a matter of interpretation of "the latest and not-so greatest" and "presence (presents?) many potential problems" that is in question.?? My understanding of this is to use a little sand as seed and not the entire substrate??? I am trying to form an answer to the email that will make sense. <I understand (I think...). I am a big/ger fan of "just some" LS added to not-so-live for ostensibly the same reasons as stated above. BTW some folks in the trade do "collect" the beach and ship this as LS, but many others "make their own" for sale with... dead, washed substrate... and live rock! Bob Fenner> Thanks Don

Playing With Sand! Hi Guys and girls, <Scott F. your guy today!> I have been looking into getting some live sand for my micro reef and came across a supplier called Aquacon. their website is www.aquacon.com  I cannot get live sand where I live (Canberra, Australia) and would live to find some good live sand at reasonable price.  Could you recommend a good supplier.  Would the live sand be ok after a trip to Australia. <Many good etailers on the web. Our sponsors, such as Marine Center and Dr. Fosters and Smith, offer live sand. You can also check out places like Inland Aquatics, Flying Fish Express, etc., which all offer live sand...I'm not sure what the shipping costs would be to Australia, but I', sure that these places could give you a good idea. Alternatively, you could use inert sand, and "seed" it with live sand from a healthy, established tank, and you'll get the same result in a few months...> Also, how do you add the sand?  Won't it cloud the water when I pour it in?   <I usually just pour it in carefully. And, surprisingly, there is very little cloudiness that accompanies the addition of live sand in aquariums, so I wouldn't worry about it too much> I have a built in trickle filter on top of the tank and the pump sits near the top of the water.  The inlet has a pipe running vertically down with a plastic grill intake right near the bottom.  If I trim the extension pipe so that the intake sits off the bottom about 2&1/2 inches will the filter still have the same effect.   <I think it will. To be honest, I think it's even better if you could configure the intake to draw from the surface. The surface is where most active organics accumulate, which will help with gas exchange and protein skimmer efficiency> The grill has gaps about 3mm wide.  Will I need to get finer mesh so that sand doesn't get sucked up or should I just shorten the inlet enough so that it is far enough above the sand bed so as not to suck any sand up (whoa that's a tongue twister ). <I's consider shortening the pipe, if you're going to draw from near the bottom of the tank> Will 2 inches be enough for a 21 gallon tank because if I put much more it will take up to much room and would look funny I think.  I could possibly have 2&1/2  inches but would prefer 2. <I hear ya, but I'd urge you to go with 3 inches- or more, or 1/2 inch or less! More than 1/2 inch, but less than 3 inches is too shallow to foster complete full denitrification, yet too deep to be fully aerobic. A recipe for long-term problems, IMO. I know it may look weird, but you'll be soo much more successful if you incorporate a deeper sand bed> Thanks in advance Amon Masters <My pleasure, Amon. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Live rock and sand for a new tank Hey Don, Thanks so much for responding to the below.  Is it even worth spending the extra money on the live sand at 30#'s?  Per your instruction I guess it should fall within the 1" range but is 30 #'s going to supply any real benefit to the tank or do I need to go with the 4+ inches?  Should I just stay with the original crushed coral substrate I have and forgo the live sand since cost is an issue?  I can do the 30# but no more right now. <Personally, I would stay away from the crushed coral as it is a detritus trap that needs to be cleaned on a regular basis which destroys any bacterial benefit. I would go with the live sand if possible. You do not need to buy all live sand. You can buy fine aragonite 'dead' sand and then get a cup or two of live sand from an established system. The 'dead' sand will quickly become 'live' and this will help seed the pod populations as well> As for the skimmer, well I screwed that one up already and purchased a Seaclone style skimmer.  Was before finding WetWebMedia and all the info out here.  It will have to suffice for the time being. <Been there, done that. I had the SeaClone skimmer and found that it is extremely sensitive to the depth of the pump inlet below the surface. As little as 1/4" could stop production. Once I found the sweet spot and kept that dialed in, I was able to get regular production, just not as much as we would like to see. Experiment with the depth, keep the thing spotless and you may get some decent production> I will also take your advice and forgo the biomedia and use the wet/dry box as a sump. <That is the way I would go, Don> Thanks <You are very welcome, keep in touch> Louis Rizzo

Coldwater livestock for Tropical Tanks... no way! Hi Is there any reason that i can't get live rock and live sand off the coast of Maine to start my reef aquarium? need some answers. Thanks for your help. Gerald F. Dewey <its only suitable if you are setting up a coldwater aquarium... else, you will kill most all of the desirable fauna on and in these substrates by prolonged exposure to tropical water temperatures. Not recommended from a practical or conscientious perspective. Best regards, Anthony>

HELLO CRAIG, Live Sand Your advice sounds reasonable, but don't you think that if I remove all gravel, I would also remove all beneficial bacteria and fauna growing in there? <That's what you are replacing with "live" sand. In my mind you are removing the trapped wastes and replacing it with another bio-media that has better capacity as a DSB without coarse consistency to trap larger waste particles.> I posed the same problem to another crew member. Jason C >said he thought I could mix in live sand on top of the gravel, at least 4"-6". Who is correct, I kind of think that you are, all that gunk would be trapped under the sand. <I'm sure Jason has a good viable reasoning as well! I would think (like J I'm sure) that if you kept the crushed coral you would vacuum the heck out of it before mixing with sand. With enough sand and a good cleaning, Jason's idea is certainly viable as well. six of one, half a dozen of the other, as long as you clean it really well.> I am going to buy some live sand today, which brand and how many inches do you recommend? Should I add some CYCLE to speed up seeding. I want to get as much fauna in the sand and as soon as possible. Please advise, Thanks, Andre <Alright Andre, you will want to do this slowly by adding over time, or all at once remove everything, put inhabitants in another tank/Rubbermaid container, etc. add sand, replace rock, filter/let settle and replace inhabitants, perhaps the next day. With good live sand and your rock, filter etc. you should be alright as far as water quality. What sand you use depends on finances and the overall bio-capacity of your rock, filters, etc. If possible, I would prefer live sand from your LFS or on-line supplier from fishless systems to avoid parasites like ick. You can also mix live sand with dry aragonite sand to seed the "dead" dry sand. There are various suppliers of live sand to seed your tank with a good variety of flora and fauna, try IndoPacific Sea Farms. I have used bagged "live" sand, but it really isn't the same as sand from an established system.  Go as deep as you can afford, you will be surprised to see it dissolve over time and DSB's process nitrates!  Best of luck!  Craig>

Bio-Sand Man! - 2/24/03 Hey!<How goes it?> I would like to add the bio-activated sand to my 47g tank. How would I go about adding it to my tank?<Well that depends on how much you want to add and what type of substrate you have now.  If you have sand now, all you have to do is add a small cup of live sand.  If you have crushed coral you need to remove it first.> Tank is stocked and I have no sump or sessile invertebrates.<I need some more info before I can give you a better answer.  Please get back w/ me on the type of substrate you have and what you are planning on doing.  Phil>

How much live sand? - 2/19/03 Hello again, <Hello, Paul here>I am planning on starting up a new tank (saltwater).<Cool. Be sure to read as much as you can. Think about what it is you want to keep and devise a plan. A good plan goes a long way to success>  I was wondering how much Live Sand I would need for a 50 gal rectangular tank (36x15x20). <Well, there is a formula in there somewhere, but there is really no way of telling without a little more info. In any event I would buy enough to do a 4" live sand bed. See, the size and general geological makeup of your sand needs to be added into the formula. The best way to do this is to have an idea of what type of sand you plan to use and know how many pounds per cubic inch. I may be wrong here but I believe it is: (l)engthx(w)idthx(4")intended depth of sand bed pounds per cubic inch of sand your placing. Not really easy to determine, eh? The rule I use has served me well. I look at what a bag of sand will roughly fill an area of my tank. So if 2 30lb bags of sand will kinda fill half my tank to roughly 4' then I will need 4 bags to gain approximately 4' of sand for my entire tank. I always buy an extra or two in case I under estimated, and I always return any unopened bag(s).>  I'm aware that a 1-3" bed is ideal but have no experience with Live Sand up until now.<I think the theory is now  1" or less for no anaerobic effect or 4-4 1/2" for anaerobic effect. Check here as I am sure Anthony Calfo has made mention of this many times here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dsbfaqs.htm>   Any insight would be great! <I think your on the right track here. Information is half the battle. Read some, plan out your tank, know what animals will populate your tank, read about them, buy, and build. A couple days of research will really help your tank succeed. Thanks for the question. To all the math majors out there, if I am wrong about the formula please indulge us with your genius. Paul - out> thanks again Kevin Conner  

How much live sand for 50gal - 2/20/03 Thanx for the input I was out at one of my local shop's yesterday and the owner recommended 50lbs. of sand to get about a 3" bed (in my "proposed" 50 gal. tank) <I would go more for 4" if you can.>  He also recommended I get (1) 25lbs. bag of a fine grain sand (1) 25lbs. bag of a medium grain sand to mix up the granularity a bit.<I would also do all sugar fine if possible. Check out Anthony's replies here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dsbfaqs.htm and follow the other links around the top of the page as well.> Once again thanks for your input and take care. <Thank you for the follow up, Kev.> Kevin Conner <Regards, Paul>

Collecting Your Own Live Sand Question Sorry I keep harassing y'all but I am so excited to have found your website and finally are receiving some clear, good advice about saltwater aquarium keeping! In case you're a different person than the last who responded to my previous inquiry, I am preparing to move from fresh to saltwater and I will be using live rock, but I have a question about the sand I will be using.  I live in Manhattan Beach, California and have access to enormous quantities of sand and I am wondering......could I use sand from our beach IF I clean it thoroughly?  If I can, what is the best way to clean it? Thank you! <I would not do this for the reasons stated here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lsfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner>

Re: how many powerheads and change to live sand? Hi. I have 2 questions in which hopefully you can steer me into the right direction. 1st, in my FOWLR tank w/125 of l/r I currently use 2 powerheads for circulation at the opposite top ends.  Would adding 2 more rated at 250gph be beneficial or would this be overkill? <Could only help> It currently houses a clown wrasse, a tomato clown and the guy who seems to enjoy the movement the most, a palette tang. Second, in about 4 months I'm going to move the tank (60 ft) which currently has c/coral.  This would be the time to switch to live sand if better.  I always find myself after a w/change saving 1 or 2 creatures from the tub (usually brittle stars and worms) and tossing them back into the tank. If I see them I save them.  If I switch over to sand these little guys are destined for the big "flush".   <You gotta flush 'em? Why? No...just add them to the new tank> Is this unusual behavior? <Flushing useful, living, beneficial critters down the toilet? I hope it's unusual. I wouldn't do it and I hope that you'll reconsider this practice! David Dowless>

Playing With Sand And Moving Water! Hi guys, <Scott F. your guy today!> I have a live sand question.  Talking to the rep from Pure Caribbean and he had mentioned seeding my DSB with 10% of total percentage of tank substrate with a live sand. <Good idea, IMO> My question is this.  He said, "do not get that bagged/packaged stuff", make sure it is good quality."  What does this exactly mean?  I have never dealt w/ live sand and not sure where you get good sand from. The online merchants I looked at never did tell how it came (Premium Aquatics, Marine Depot etc...). <Well, I think what the rep was referring to is the so-called "live" sand that comes in the bags. These products are essentially inert sand enriched with a bacterial solution. Live, yes- but not filled with a diversity of life that you want from "true" live sand. Many etailers offer "live sand" that has been collected from, say, Fiji, or cultured in their own facilities. Most of these places offer sand that has a variety of worms and other desirable life residing in the sand. Alternatively, you can use "dead" sand, and get a "starter kit" from a place like Indo Pacific Sea Farms (my personal favorite) containing some of the desired infauna to "kick start" the sandbed.> Quick question about pvc plumbing.  I believe the Dolphin Amp master web site says not to use a flex pvc or sweep fittings (what are sweep fittings?) why is this? <To be perfectly honest, I'd consult the manufacturer on this one. I would not deviate from the suggested plumbing arrangements!> The dolphin site gave specs on figuring head pressure according how many feet to add if using 90, 45 degree angles etc.. but it never said anything about "T's.  And last (sorry long winded).  I have been researching different ways to return water to main tank w/o the use of powerheads. Possibly going with manifold return.  IYE what are some different ways you have seen that are affective at good returns?  Thanks Bryan. <Well, Bryan, I've seen some neat manifold returns that worked great! They were placed above the tank, and plumbed to a line that ran in a loop around the tank's inside perimeter, with lots of outlets along the way. Amazing water movement if done right! Also, I've seen closed lop systems plumbed to Sea Swirl return devices that are wonderfully effective, too. Lots of neat ways to accomplish this. Check out the do-it-yourself site OzReef for lots of neat ideas, or pick up Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" for other possible setups. Good luck, and have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Re: live sand? Hi Guys, First of all, I would like to thank you guys for the informative site.  I have a 55 gallon tank w/BakPak 2, Emperor, bout thirty pounds of live rock, (adding a little at a time), a Fluval 404, and next to no substrate.  everything seems to be doing well, I just want a few anemone (currently have one) and some small fish, 5-6 and eventually get to 60-70 lbs of live rock.  My question is twofold.  I think simple is best.  I am good about water changes and monitoring, so how much substrate do I REALLY need.  I want to have about 20 lbs of live sand in front and none in back.  Two 1400 Rios to push water around. Is that enough?  I hate disturbing my fish.  So I just want as little substrate as possible.  Also if I get to 60 lbs of live rock and bio material (half) in my Fluval, do I need the Emperor for biological purposes?  Couldn't I just add more bio balls to BakPak? It is noisy and I would rather add another protein skimmer on other side of tank. I am looking for ways to cut that thing out, do not want to be dependant on it.  I would rather put another BakPak and put bio balls in it as well, what is the minimum I need, or am I stuck with it?  Thanks again for your help! <Hi Frank, I would suggest you surf over to WetWebMedia.com and read the sections on filtration and especially live sand and rock. I'm not a big fan of bio-balls as they produce nitrates. A deeper sand bed helps with denitrification, but a shallow one is acceptable as well, with some caveats, as provided in the live sand section of WWM.  It is entirely possible to run without substrate at all, look up "Berlin" systems on WetWebMedia.com. There are ways around the Emperor, live rock and deep sand being the best replacements along with a good skimmer.  Hope this helps!  Craig.>

Re: Live Sand Hi, <HELLLLLLLLO!>    I have a question about live sand.  I have a 58 gallon tank with 80lbs. of live rock and about a 2" sand bed in my tank. In the deeper lighted areas of the sand, it has started to produce large amounts of bubbles.  It doesn't appear to do this in the shaded areas.  Is this normal? <Yep...Just the natural processes going on in the sand> Is this the nitrogen given off by denitrification processes? <With a bed this shallow your are unlikely to get denitrification> I was always under the assumption that nitrogen gas given off would be dissolved in the water.  All the water parameters are good: NH4 = 0ppm, NO2 = 0ppm, NO3 = <10ppm, etc.  The fish and inverts appear healthy and happy. <Nothing to worry about> As a side question, is this tank big enough for either a Kole Tang or a Purple Tang?  I currently have the following:  Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus (Fairy Wrasse), Stonogobiops nematodes (Striped Shrimp Goby) with Alpheus randalli (Pistol shrimp), Opistognathus aurifrons (Yellowhead Jawfish), (incidentally, and not to get off topic, should I be worried about this pairing of the Jawfish and goby/shrimp pair?), Amphiprion ocellaris (False Percula Clown), Gobiodon oceanops (Neon Goby), Nemateleotris decora (Purple Firefish). <I think your tank is at capacity. Besides...tangs, especially the purple (Zebrasoma xanthurum)...are very aggressive. This tendency is even worse when you have them confined in small tanks (like a 55) with lots of little fish. The tangs will terrorize this peaceful tank. Leave it out...Pleeeeeeease?> Thank you for all your help, <You're welcome! I'm glad to see that you are researching before spending a $100 or more on a fish. This habit WILL save you a lot of money and aggravation. David Dowless> Erik Jorvig

Live Sand Aloha WWM Crew, <Aloha to you as well!> Thanks again for the wonderful service you provide.   <You're welcome!> I am an Oahu resident with a 55 gallon fish only tank.  The tank has been up and running for about three months.  Two weeks ago I had a bad outbreak of ick and lost my dogface puffer.  As soon as I noticed the ick, I moved my puffer and blue tang to a QTank for treatment.  I lost the puffer, but the blue tang is responding well to the treatment (formalin dips, hyposalinity, increased temperature).  I am going to let the main tank go fallow for about a month before I move the tang back. Last week I went down to Lanikai beach on the Windward side of the island and found that the beaches there have a fine white sand that seems to be perfect for a DSB.  I want to replace the crushed coral that is currently in the main tank.   My questions:   Is the sand okay to use in my tank (pollution)?   <No...I wouldn't do it...> If I were to add the sand would I have to cycle the sand for a month to prevent another ick breakout?   <God only knows what you could introduce to your tank...metals, ich, velvet...a host of things I'd rather not think about> If so, should I cycle the sand in a trash can instead of the main fallow tank? <I refuse to recommend adding fresh sand from any beach. As if the threat of aquarium pollution isn't enough...I think it's illegal to collect the sand on your beaches. No?> Thank you for all your help and if there is anything I could do help you guys out, please e-mail me. <Thanks for the offer. In fact, my wife and are coming to your area this spring.  Can you recommend a nice inexpensive hotel right on the beach that will have an ocean view, a pool, maybe diving, and a spa? If you return this email, write "To David" in the subject line. Thanks> Mahalo Nui Loa, Jeff <My pleasure! David Dowless>

Sand from the beach Hi there, I am in the process of converting my 46 gallon fresh water tank to a marine environment, and so far I have every thing but sand and LR. My Question is, can I add sand from the beach to my aquarium with out it disturbing the cycling of the tank? And If cant add the sand from the beach, what type of substrate can I use?           Thank you for your time.  S.B <Sand is a type of substrate. For the information you need, go to WetWebMedia.com and look up marine substrates in the marine section. More there than can be covered in e-mail on the benefits and deficiencies of each. Please read about marine set-ups while you are there!  Craig>

Live Sand becoming Anthony how long will take dead sand to become live if it is 4"  to 5" deep . The sand is South down.         RGibson <great question, Ralph. Amazingly (I have tested this repeatedly) it can become live in as little as two weeks! No joke or gimmick here. Of course, "live" is subjective: I look to a deep sand bed for denitrification. As such, I have seen numerous tanks go from sky high nitrates to near zero within 2-4 weeks of adding a deep bed of dead/dry sand that became live. Now as far as macroorganisms... worms, pods, etc developing... that will depend on how patient one is to keep the tank fishless while these creatures develop. If one places a planktivorous fish in too early (first 4-6 months) like pseudochromids, damsels, clowns, wrasses, etc... you can forget about the sand ever becoming rich with natural infauna of any substantial measure. It will simply be biologically sound. Hence the reason for having fishless upstream, refugium instead... most of us are not patient enough to go fishless in a display for 6-12 months while live rock and live sand matures. Many of the Europeans do though... and they have some pretty sweet displays for it :) Best regards, Anthony>

CC vs. LS I recently had a 72 gallon reef-ready bowfront FO tank set up last week. I am cycling it with 9 damsels that have been in for about 6 days. Here are my questions: I currently have a substrate consisting of crushed coral. I have heard several people say that sand is a better substrate. Is this true?  <It all depends on what purpose you hope the substrate will serve. If you want the substrate to look good and help buffer the water, crushed coral will be fine.  I would caution against having a deep bed of CC because it will become a nutrient sink in short order. Use a thin layer only. In a reef tank, sugar sized sand will slowly release natural calcium, help to buffer the PH, and if the bed is 4 inches+, it will aid in nitrate reduction.>  Is it better than CC?  <IMO not for your situation.  For a reef tank?  Yes.>  Also, I have heard people say that you don't have to vacuum sand. Is this true?  <We don't vacuum sand the same way we vacuum CC, that's for sure! The sand will quite literally vacuum right out of the tank. But you will need to very gently vacuum the surface of any obvious debris when cleaning the tank. If using sand be sure to either have a thin bed (one inch or less) or a thick bed (4+inches) of sugar fine sand. Otherwise you will create a nutrient sink>  If I decide to change the substrate, should I wait until the tank has cycled?  <Either way you're going to interrupt the biological process happening in the tank if you remove all the substrate at one time. I suggest taking a little out at a time over a period of a few weeks.  Slowly add the new substrate as the old is being removed.>  What is the best procedure for doing this?  <See above> Thanks for our help. Jerome <My pleasure Jerome.  If you haven't perused the wetwebmedia.com website, please do so.  The site contains thousands of articles and facts and issues relevant to the keeping of saltwater and freshwater fish. Have a nice evening! David D.>

Live Sand in a Bag? Hello all, Pam here. Would someone be so kind as to tell me what you think about the new product on the market called "Natures Ocean"? It claims to be "100% natural from the ocean to you". I just bought 4 bags of it at $33.45 a pop! Each bag contains 20 lbs of aragonite. My questions about the product is this: How does the product stay alive sealed in plastic, without O2 and without heat? <It all depends on what they are calling the live component. Just about anything that could be in the sand should be able to survive at the room temperature of any LFS. The low to no O2 environment should be ok for most bacteria, but I would not be surprised to find very few worms or crustaceans have made it. Besides the O2 problem they would also have to contend with the abrasion of the sand due to rough handling.> I just dumped nearly 100 lbs of live sand onto my compost pile <I would be concerned about the salt content.> because I had no place to store it while I set up another tank. I decided it would never stay alive stored in buckets 10 inches deep and without heat. <You would have experienced some loss from the changing around of the various layers. There is no way to shovel/scoop the stuff out of your tank and maintain the layers.> Then, this product comes along and totally blows my decision to pieces! Did I dispose of this sand prematurely? <I would have discarded, too, but that is because I have access to Southdown sand. It is so cheap, I would have merely seeded the new dead sand with some live sand from friends and high quality fresh live rock.> Thank for the info! Pam <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Disaster ! (Oh oh... tank on the floor) << Hi Pam....I don't like the look of this already....>> The word "leak" is not a word a fish owner wants to hear, but today it happened to me. Not my 55gal reef, but the 30 gallon Rubbermaid bucket next to it! And God only knows how long it's been leaking onto my brand new wall to wall carpeting! I noticed during a water change the carpet felt wet well beyond the tank. And upon further inspection, well, you know the rest. I just finished tearing down the tank. All that's left is about 60 pounds of LIVE sand!!! Living now anyways, that's my dilemma. The fish and inverts are okay for the time being, (I hope). I transported them to a 30 gallon tank with all the rock, about 70 lbs of it. I hope they can handle this cramped home while I rip out my carpet, ugh!! So, what , or should I say," how" do I keep my sand alive? If I pile it into a couple buckets, I would think it will smother and die. Please advise me! Thank you Pam <<Ah, how about the new Rubbermaid container or larger more durable container you will be replacing the old leaky POG with? It needs the same conditions as all the other stuff so maybe a larger Rubbermaid container? It needs a heater and circulation, maybe transfer some of the LR in there to give the fish some room or combine it all in a larger container. That's the best I can do from here! Sorry for sure to hear about your leak. Craig>>

Re: disaster ! Dahhhhhh, why didn't I think of that! Tell me this, how long will the sand survive sitting in 3 buckets? I can pick up a new Rubbermaid tomorrow, till then, the sand sits and waits. Thank you Craig, Pam <<Oh yes, I miss the forest for the trees all the time! You aren't alone! You want to do this ASAP before the bottom layer goes anaerobic if it hasn't already. Maybe get another bucket and transfer from one to another to aerate a bit until tomorrow. Your sand will be alive, but it won't be in top notch shape, so do monitor it in the new Rubbermaid and make sure it tests alright before adding to your tank. Hang in there Pam! Craig>> 

Setting Up Live Sand How do I put my live sand in my new tank? The water is already in and circulating in tank and sump. I am concerned that it will get suspended in water and get in sump and skimmer and filters.

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