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Changing sand bed ?


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#1
jam77

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Is it possible to change out the sand bed on my 29 gallon biocube and not have it go through another cycle ? I'm going to be moving and since I have to take the tank apart I would like to change the color of the sand bed but don't want to harm anything by having it cycle again. Is this a bad idea ?

#2
Aquanist

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When moving it's generally best to ditch the old sand and use new sand. It will go through a mini-cycle so to say, but you can prepare for it by not feeding so much and by using bacterial additives such as prodibio ampulles (which actually work 100%).

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#3
jam77

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That's good to know that it's not a bad idea . Thanks for the fast reply I'm kinda nervous about moving it because it's doing so well but we finally bought a house so it won't ever have to be moved again.

#4
brandon429

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I agree. changing the substrate when possible is like changing a permadiaper that stays under your rocks and never gets cleaned. I would take out the rocks and the corals, preserving what can be kept in place (corals glued to rocks etc) and rinse them off very well to remove accumulated detritus and then store in a bucket of clean saltwater. Whats left will be a cloudy mess aquarium with sand and water and brown muck everywhere.

I would dump out the aquarium and rinse it with clean water where its perfectly empty while the live rocks and coral sit in the xfer buckets of clean saltwater. If you will use caribsea wet pack arrive alive sand it will rinse clean with no silt, unlike starting over with a dry sand that one thought was rinsed well and then fighting silt for the next 4 months. caribsea wet pack sand is probably the most consistent reef sand Ive seen between setups. I won't use any other kind.

you can place the rocks and corals back in the tank on the new sand, and do a 50% water change the next day and the new reef will start again.

Your corals and live rock fauna had access to food webs involving bacteria and floc/detritus and your tanks particular feed timing, so a little setback in either community is not a cause for concern. Ive seen plated sps recede a little at the edges on full tank switchovers, then it kicks back into gear depending on how fast feeding/export/water changes and ion levels were maintained in the new reef. The number one thing you can do to prevent coral recession is to feed the new tank very well right off the bat, spot feeding as needed, and then doing large water changes each weekend to export it back out. This weekly drive method can be kept or backed off slowly to whatever biweekly work your original tank ran on.

Sterility will be the new challenge for the switched over reef...good initial feeding and water changes will take care of that and give the new tank a chance to become calcified again.

Getting rid of all the brown mud that you will see is very beneficial as long as you don't partially do it.
get it all at once, essentially starting over the tank. You can use the bacteria supplements stated if you want.


your fish bioloading is the only concern.

If you have an inordinant amount of fish Id not reintroduce all of them at once unless you have a skimmer or good water change habits. the live rock is usually all thats required to filter fish waste in a typical reef tank, but Ive seen big fish loads before I believe were getting help from the live sand as well. the wet pack live sand is said to already have filter bacteria on it, and it has worked that way for me in using it for several years.

There is a big disagreement online as to whether or not bottled bacteria supplements have a benefit (and in my case bagged supplements, the arrive alive sand) but I'll tell you why I believe them.

Its hard to formulate a liquid substance for mass production and it not have uncontrollable amounts of bacteria in it.

Nothing is easier for a microbiologist to do than to culture a big mix of aerobic bacteria on selective media, tease out the colony they want to reproduce, xfer it into #2 selective media and grow only that strain, then add it to a purified liquid medium for bottling. High school microbiology lab students can do this, so I don't find it a stretch that pro companies can as well.

On the caribsea wet pack sand, I don't believe in their x22 compound marketing crap :) I just believe that unless they took exceptional measures to sterilize the wet sand, it will have tons of nitrifying bacteria inside it. There are timelines that can be established as to how long the bacteria will stay viable with the supplied internal oxygen/nitrogen stores etc, but if there's one thing I learned in microbiology its dont underestimate the abilities of bacteria and a little fluid.

Even if you use well-rinsed Im positive there's no silt-rinsed dry sand, the live rock and large weekly water changes will still run it just fine. Its like setting up a new tank on soft cycling, like the stickied thread in the biological filtration forum

one very old pico

 


#5
jam77

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That's great info and makes me feel a lot better about the move. Now I also want to start running a much deeper sand bed because I've read that this can really help. So where I now have 1 bag of live sand in a 29 gal I want to put two in maybe three. Do you you guys believe in the deep sand bed thing ? I really want to get more sps to I'm gonna try to get the best water quality possible.

#6
bwp

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Brandon - do you use the Caribsea "Ocean Direct", "arag alive", or something else?

#7
brandon429

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No on the dsb denitrification in a nano reef.

all the information, as in 100% of it, regarding deep sand bed denitrification is written for larger tanks, it has never been documented verifiably in the nano reef aquarium. it sure is mentioned alot, it just doesn't happen in a way we can measure it because nano reefs have such high bioload to water volume ratios.

Its a bunch of theory that never yields zero nitrate mature nano reef tanks. The only time its even considered to be functional in a nano reef is when miracle mud is used, and this is late 1990's claims, no one uses mud as a substrate we now know its simply better to keep the reef clean.

That doesn't mean using 1 or 3 bags of substrate won't work...just not for denitrification. lots of sps tanks have both DSB's and bare bottom and are functional. It just means that using an ultra deep sand bed isn't a special way to have sps success, if you really want pure sps water params go bare bottom. A super deep sandbed is just a larger diaper, it can hold more waste until it starts to leach waste back into the tank.

i use this kind in the pic

Edited by brandon429, 07 August 2011 - 11:48 AM.

one very old pico

 


#8
mndfreeze

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DSB is a ratio thing, not a nano vs large reef thing. If you're bed is deep enough, it will dentrify and all that jazz, whether or not it can handle your bioload is another story. There is so much info about DSB's out there I don't get why people still argue this. If you are lazy, don't do one because sooner or later there is maint involved. If you don't have what is required to make it work, i.e. enough space for a deep enough bed, with the right flow, etc, don't do it.

It is not a replacement for a skimmer or other filters. If you had enough space it could be, but generally people do not. All in one systems are pretty hard to get a deep enough bed, with enough critters balanced, ni a safe predator free area, to work right. You need a fuge of some sort to keep all that DSB crawling stuff safe. There are a lot more then just bacteria that need to be there for a proper DSB.

#9
Deep Stops

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I just moved Friday. What I did was suck out the sand over a couple weeks during normal weekly water changes. Then I put 50% of the water - 10 gallons - in buckets with the rock and livestock - peppermint shrimp, royal gramma, zoanthids, and ricordia. I rinsed the aquarium out with water and moved it into my new apartment. I put the water and all the livestock in and added 10 more gallons of new water. Everything is good. However, I didn't put new sand in because I am changing aquariums within the next two weeks. When I get the new aquarium, I'll add dry sand with about a cup of live sand along with 10 gallons (50%) and give it a couple days to settle. Then I'll add the water and what not from the old tank. I'm sure everything will be alright. I don't have very sensitive fish and corals. It will go through a soft cycle and be fine.

Just plan, and try to get it all done in one move. I had the aquarium ready to go early in the morning, and it was the first thing moved in. Hope that helps some. It's what worked for my aquarium.

Edited by Deep Stops, 14 August 2011 - 06:28 PM.


#10
Grad

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I just moved my BC29 twice within a week and a half with no "mini cycle". I have a SB thats about 2-3" deep. Every day i stir up a small portion of it and blow the top surface of the sand to re-suspend detritus. When i moved my tank i experienced no mini cycle, my levels were back to normal within a day. Im using a skimmer, and chato with chemi pure elite. So ill argue you can move a tank safely without changing sand, provided you keep the tank clean and the sand animated on occasion, which btw is great for alot of life in the tank.