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FAQs about Live Sand Bed Identification

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, Live Sand 3, 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

Are systems w/ Live Sand the same as DSBs? Not necessarily...
What constitutes LS anywho? Answer: Much more than microbial populations...

Is this algae?     7/16/13
Hi folks!! Was wondering if you can help me identify this algae(?)
<Mmm, just from this pic? Might be an encrusting... Red, Brown... could be a Poriferan, other possibilities... Need to sample, look under a 'scope...>
I had a long battle with red slime,
<I see the BGA all around on the substrate>
 but it seems I've won the war on that finally, with lots of upgrades and modifications to my tank. But now I'm left with this dark brown crud on my sand bed.
<Oh, this IS likely mostly BGA; with a mix of Protists, Dinoflagellates, Diatoms...>
Any ideas? It doesn't act or look like Cyano so I believe this is a different beast altogether. And will it run it's course and disappear as well or is there something I can do to get rid of it? I'd love to be able to see my sand return to white again. Thanks!!!
<Again... a look see at a few hundred power... lack of nucleus... definitive. See WWM re BGA ID. Bob Fenner>

Worms in tank... Better than Pigs in Space 5/30/2009
<Hi David,>
I'm David.
<I'm Mich.>
I own a marine reef tank, I recently have notice a few black leech like creatures in my coral sand they are about 1 cm long and very thin maybe 1mm.
I can't take a photo of them due to them being so small my camera doesn't pick them up.
<Does make things challenging.>
Would you have any suggestions on what they may be
<It is very difficult to say with out a photo.>
and if I should be concerned....
<It is not likely to be leeches or anything concerning. It is natural to have life in your sand bed. If it was mine, I would not be too concerned.>
yours truly

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 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.>> 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>

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> 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>

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>

Live Sand Hi Bob, Two weeks ago I got a shipment of your live rock, very happy with this purchase since it was my first. The system that I have started is a 33 gallon long ( 48 inch ) reef. I have forty pounds of the cured Fiji premium live rock in the tank now. How much live sand should I order to get a sufficient base. And should I mix the course at the bottom moving to medium and then topping off with fine. Also what is your take on adding reef rubble in with the course live sand. Regards, Louis >> Well, if it were me, I'd utilize the live rock to make my own live sand (this is how much of the "live sand" is made... even in the South Pacific... for shipping to the west). "Just" rinse and place the coarse (maybe #5, or, let's say 1/16" on up in diameter) material on the bottom, around your rock... and yes to the rubble if it suits your artistic eye, and nah to the fine(r) sand on top (this will/would just get mixed in anyway... and possibly cause problems later). Your "sterile" new sand will soon be "live" in a few weeks from "recruits" from the live rock. Bob Fenner, who says, there are occasions, types of systems that can/do benefit from "purchased" live sand, but most folks can do very well by the above method.

Live Sand vs. CaribSea sand. With my first reef (unsuccessful, due to ME!) I had used the CaribSea reef grade aragonite. Put in 30 lbs of live rock, and within a few months had all kinds of worms and weird stuff crawling through the sand. Was this "Live Sand"? Would a few pounds of live sand be a good idea to get important critters in the rest of the sand bed? I installed a plenum after six months with the tank running fine (I got caught up in all the plenum hype) . After six more months, I was getting the same readings as I had before. It seemed like a waste of time installing the plenum, and I ended up with an unattractive tank (thick sand layer). Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks again, Tony Revinski  >> I am going to setup a 6' x 2' x 20 " (150g) aquarium with 170 pounds Fiji live rock and about 200 pounds Fiji live sand for a fish only (probably convert to reef in couple of years). Should I place both rock and sand in the aquarium the same day? If so, should I put rock in first or the sand? Are my quantities for both okay or should I modify them? Thank you for any recommendations you may have. Lex >> Hmm, well, the sand goes in first in my opinion... and practically in most everyone else's... And/but I myself would not buy much live sand or any at all... unless I really liked the looks of the imported material... instead, I'd just let the live rock seed the sand... this will happen... and results in about the same effect functionally... as much of the desirable life in imported "live sand" is actually "made" this way... You can place the live rock on top of the sand, live at the get go or not, on the same day. Bob Fenner

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