The ultimate substrate....

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by Wadepee, May 25, 2013.

  1. Wadepee

    Wadepee

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    Hi all,

    I've taken the bait hook, line and sinker, more than you could ever imagine and I've decided my ad hoc aquarium keeping needs to be shut down and restarted from scratch..

    I've a new tank and it's all clean and scrubbed and I'm ready to go....

    Will plan on just running seawater for the next month or three to get a good understanding of the N cycle...

    Which brings me to my first of many, many question....

    Previously,I've always used crushed coral and am now aware of its limitations; detritus collection, nitrate harbouring etc...

    Obviously sand is very beneficial in the biological filtration and I'm assuming the finer the sand the better?

    Will eventually run a sump/refugium with deep sand later on, but at the moment I'm just going to run my main tank isolated....1 - 1.5 inches of fine sand the best way to go?

    Also I'll add a nice piece of live rock to kick start the cycle and start monitoring the Ammonia spike..

    Thanks again,

    Standby for a barrage of questions......the chemical/biological process of this is what is interesting me the most....not too fussed about species...
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2013
    Wadepee, May 25, 2013
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  2. Wadepee

    Jml32788

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    The finer the sand is not necessarily better. If the sand is too fine then you will have a hard time keeping it from blowing around the tank constantly. I use the CaribSea Aragonite special grade size. Its just heavy enough not to blow around but not to big to cause the same problems as crushed coral.
     
    Jml32788, May 25, 2013
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  3. Wadepee

    chichimom79 reef junkie

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    +1 Jml.
    As far as your refugium plans, I would skip the DSB. Most fuges are not big enough for the DSB to have much benefit. In my case I also like to be able to suck out any detritus collecting in there and having sand in the fuge makes it hard to see the detritus and even harder to suck it out without disturbing the sand.
    Add as much live rock to the system from the beginning as you can. If you add more after your cycle is complete, you'll have to watch for another cycle depending on how mature the rock is and how long it's out of water.
    Good luck on your new tank!
     
    chichimom79, May 25, 2013
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  4. Wadepee

    Wadepee

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    Cheers JML and CM, advice taken.....

    Righto, finally the tides were right for water collection....

    Here it is.....

    45g of water (from the ocean)
    Water footprint (surface area): 444cm2
    1.5 inch deep med grain sand (from the beach at the end of the street)

    I know that for the next 1 - 2 months I'm just going to be watching the "N cycle" ie. ammonia, then nitrites and then finally nitrates....(will start testing for everything though)

    I do have HOB's but currently I'm just using a pump (264g/ph) + Pump intakes are sponged/filtered. (there is good surface/water flow/interaction for oxygenation)

    I'm assuming the next best thing to do would be to add a nice live rock in the centre, directly in the pump low and add a frozen fish head to the tank (or should I go down and net a fresh one - any difference?)

    This live rock will become the homes to nitrosomonas and then the nitrobacters?

    That way I can remove the sponge filters from the pump to clean (or just clean one of the three sponges filters at a time (the beneficial bacteria will live there too?)

    As these bacteria's use O2 for energy, I don't need lights yet?

    I'm doing heaps of study so I'm not really asking questions for an easy out, more of asking for confirmation that my statements are correct???? If that makes sense....

    I've a lot to learn....

    oh....and CM the live rock will come straight my local reef, out of the water for about 5 seconds...whilst I place it into the tank...

    and another oh.....feel free to shoot down my assumptions....plenty will be wrong!
     

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    Last edited: May 27, 2013
    Wadepee, May 27, 2013
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  5. Wadepee

    Jml32788

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    You will want about 1 to 1.5 lbs of live rock per gallon. The beneficial bacteria will live in the crevasse of the rock so the more surface area the better. The bacteria does not require any lighting to survive.

    Also, you will find that a good majority of this community frowns upon harvesting rock and creatures straight from the ocean. Just be mindful of what you are taking and how much. And don't re-introduce an animal that has already been in your tank back to the ocean.
     
    Jml32788, May 27, 2013
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  6. Wadepee

    BL1 ............. Moderator

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    Harvesting rock and livestock is fine as long as it's done responsibly and within local regulations.

    An issue with collecting your own stuff, if you do it from the beach or close to land you're actually risking adding contaminants to your tank since the tides carry most of the pollution towards the shore. When collecting you always want to go out several miles from the shore, just like commercial collectors do.
     
    BL1, May 27, 2013
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  7. Wadepee

    chichimom79 reef junkie

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    +1 BL1. I would worry about the sand from the beach.
     
    chichimom79, May 27, 2013
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  8. Wadepee

    Wadepee

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    Good advice from all, and taken onboard, the more things that go wrong with this tank the better, (best way to learn) hence why there's no fish in it and won't be until its a proven system...

    I'm really more interested in the chemical side of things as opposed to the inhabitants, they will be lovingly viewed as chemical processors....probably just get a bait herring :)

    Impossible for me not source from my local area - uninhabited offshore islands right on my doorstep.

    Just added what i believe to be the correct amount of ammonium sulphate to kick off the cycle.

    Let the monitoring begin...
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
    Wadepee, May 27, 2013
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  9. Wadepee

    Wadepee

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    oh.....all my harvesting is done within regs and am very selective and low impact as can be......usually clear up hundreds of metres of fishing line wrapped around the bombies whilst i'm at it......bloody line fisherman :(
     
    Wadepee, May 27, 2013
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  10. Wadepee

    d2mini VIP Member

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    Take one of these out there with you and skim off the very top layer of sand. That's the best stuff you'll ever get. This is exactly what Tampa Bay Saltwater does in the florida gulf.

    All the snails, worms, crabs and microfauna is awesome for your tank.


    [​IMG]
     
    d2mini, May 28, 2013
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  11. Wadepee

    SarahSmile :)

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    Dennis, you rich guys kill me. Listen, we can't all afford your fancy schmancy saltwater hobby tools ok?
     
    SarahSmile, May 30, 2013
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  12. Wadepee

    d2mini VIP Member

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    bahahahaha... only the best! ;)
     
    d2mini, May 30, 2013
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