What substrate should I use?

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Heston, 19 Dec 2009.

  1. Heston

    Heston

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    Hi All

    I've read a few posts on the forum that state you could use any number of substrates:
    Playsand
    Pool filter sand
    Aragonite
    Crushed Coral
    Beach Sand

    I need sound advise on what substrate to use to place on the bottom of my tank. I have a 2 m x 0.6 x 0.6
    All the petshops recommend aragonite or crushed coral. At around R500 a 20kg bag. I'd need about 5 bags to get an approximate 5cm base. obviously very beneficial to the store!

    I'm more interested in the posts that say you can use beach sand. I'm pretty close to Blouberg beach near Cape Town. What are the risks? The LPS says it's contaminated etc...
    Where should I collect it? In the ocean at the water mark during low tide? How should I clean the sand? Is plain tap water fine? Won't rinsing it kill the critters in it that make it beneficial?

    Secondly what substrate other than aragonite and crushed coral should I use in the Deep Sand Bed (DSB) that is safe and non harmful?

    Regards
    Heston
     
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  3. Afsal

    Afsal

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    get playsand , Its approx R40/20kg bag & its gud great too ......
     
  4. Ghaydeen

    Ghaydeen

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    I have play sand in my 1.8m and it's working great!
     
  5. mnd123

    mnd123

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    I decided on crushed coral as aragonite would simply be too expensive for the 40KG I needed for my display. I got the ultrafine (0.5mm-1mm) and it looks awesome!

    I have 40KG of playsand as my DSB
     
  6. Heston

    Heston Thread Starter

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    The local stores I've been to here in Cape Town sell crushed coral at pretty much the same price as aragonite.
    So I feel somewhere between a rock and a hard place.

    Interestingly no advise on using sand collected at the beach?
     
  7. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    I would recommend real sea sand, collected from as deep down on the beach as possible (wait for spring tide low tide...). Collect from a beach which is less likely to be polluted - not close to a rever mouth, and far away from any outfall sewers. You will notice that the sand grading can change quite dramatically over even a short piece of coastline, try to collect the sand with the smallest particle size. It's immaterial weather your sand consists of real sand particles or really small pieces of shells, but personally I would try to get a mixture of the two, just because it looks better.

    Keep the sand damp whilst traveling, but do not keep it submerged in water - the many life forms (and bacteria) need oxygen to survive, and that gets used up pretty quickly if the sand is covered with water. If only damp, then it is much easier for fresh oxygen to diffuse into the sand (obviously, don't cover the bucket with an air-tight lid...)

    Hennie
     
  8. mnd123

    mnd123

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    the same price???? Wow, they see you okes coming in Cape Town!

    I paid R300odd for 20KG of the 0 size crushed coral - 0.5-1mm, looking online I see that this size aragonite is somewhere around R700 for 18KG of Fiji Pink and slightly less for the seaflor special grade
     
  9. Seabass

    Seabass

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    Other ?

    Not to hi-jack this treads Heston, if ok with you I would like to tag on this thread and ask the following:
    DT
    I have read of what I suppose is referred to as the “sandstorm” effect, so in goes the sand on goes the power heads and wave makers and all of a sudden sand, aragonite is blowing all over the place, onto corals and LR. I would like to avoid this in the DT, what can be suggested here.
    SUMP
    When the water flows over the DSB and into the return chamber and some sand, aragonite etc goes into this chamber I am concerned that the return pump will be damaged over time due to the sand etc.
    My idea would be to go aragonite in DT and mud / sea sand / and a mixed live aragonite in the DSB.
    Please keep us posted Heston on your final implemented.
    Thanks.
    Playsand seems to be a good idea and thanks Reef Maniac
     
    Last edited: 20 Dec 2009
  10. Falcon

    Falcon

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    seasand like hennie said...or if you like the white look then go for playsand...i find using aragonite as substrate a waste of money.only use it in a calcuim reactor where it does its job of releasing needed elements.heston use that r2500 on something else more usefull rather.
     
  11. Seabass

    Seabass

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    Thanks Falcon, I will go playsand in DT and real sea sand in DSB.
     
  12. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Like everything else in this hobby: "It depends..."

    Any sand in a very high flow SPS "reef crest" type setup is bound to blow around, and most people with this type of setup would go for a bare bottom display tank, with a remote DLSB in the sump. Sand, once covered in a bio-film, with worm tunnels, etc cementing some of the particles, can take quite a lot of flow before it is disturbed. As with everything else, my recommendation would be to take it slow! In other words, in setting up a tank, you should wait for a few months before introducing any corals and/or fish. Use this time to allow the sand bed to "cure" as well (with less strong water flow - just direct the pumps slightly higher...), and you will be pleasantly surprised at how little the sand will blow around once you increase the water flow.

    Remember also that it's preferable to have "chaotic" water flow, rather than laminar "streams" of water, and that it's the "streams" which will have most effect on the sand.

    A properly constructed sump will have a layer of water above the sand, and the water flow close to the sand surface will diminish in velocity with the depth of this water layer. I have never experienced any problems with sand being disturbed in the sump DLSB.

    Your sump return pump would generally also have a small sponge filter in front of the intake, which would catch any sand that was disturbed, and which made it over the "weir" of the last chamber.

    You do realize, of course, that "Aragonite" and "crushed coral" sands are less dense than your average sea sand or play sand. These lighter particles would thus be easier disturbed by water flow, and would be blown higher and further in the water column than the heavier particles...

    Hennie
     
  13. Heston

    Heston Thread Starter

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    Thanks Hennie your advise has been of great use.

    I'll post a reply as soon as I've chosen which option to go.

    Thanks for the savings tip Falcon.

    Regards
    Heston
     
  14. mnd123

    mnd123

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    By the way, Welcome Heston :)
     
  15. Johan van Aardt

    Johan van Aardt I love marines [R.I.P.]

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    Hi heston. I stay close to blouberg as well, and recently had to choose sand for my tank. I went to duine fontein on the other side of melkbos and collected sand below the low water mark.

    i would strongly suggest the same as this sand is very fine and looks absolutely awesome. Maybe you could get one bag off crushed coral and mix the two.

    just my 2C
     
  16. Heston

    Heston Thread Starter

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    Hi Johan

    Thanks for the 2c much appreciated :)

    Just a basic few questions, once you collected the sand, what did you do to it before you put it into your tank? In what time frames, one day a few hours a few weeks?

    Was there water in your tank already?

    Did you use it in your DSB as well?

    Regards
    Heston
     
  17. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Depending on the time you take from collecting to being able to put the sand in your tank. There will be some die-off,

    so the question, is your tank still cycling, if so, then no problem.

    Remember, wet sand so bloody heavy. So getting a lot of wet sand from below water low level mark to your car, hope you got strong back muscles of plenty of helping hands.

    I would put the real sea sand in the display, where you can see it. Thin layer of about 2 or 3cm. That all you need.

    And for the DSB I would go with play sand. Easier to handle. No back breaking stuff up the beach. Check some garden centers sells playsand in bigger bags than Reggies, and cheaper. Same thing, just as dirty, still needs to be washed 100 times.

    A DSB footprint should be as big as possible. A little 30cm wide DSB is basically of no use. And it must be about 15cm deep.
     
  18. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Good advice from Riaan - I would just like to ad one more pointer:

    The sand you will be collecting would be from around Cape Town, and the water temperature there is obviously MUCH colder than the tropical temperature of your tank. Many of the larger life forms (worms, copepods, etc.) won't survive the large change in habitat temperature, and won't live for very long after the sand has heated up to the tropical temperatures. This is not a problem when starting a new tank, but substantial die-off could cause an ammonia spike, or even a new cycle, if large amounts of sand was added to an established tank.

    Hennie
     
  19. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    very good point!
     
  20. jean19

    jean19

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    for my DSB i use , sand for swimming pool filter less than 0.5 mm
     
  21. Johan van Aardt

    Johan van Aardt I love marines [R.I.P.]

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    Well i collected sand and water same day. I first fill the tank quarter of the way with water then add the sand the water till half way. Then do aquascaping and then the rest of the water. Dsb i fill half with water and then add the sand, this prevents airpockets from forming.
     
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