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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure this has been covered before, but I'm gonna ask anyway.

My 58 reef has a very shallow bed of crushed coral. When we set it up, we thought that was all we wanted, until I put a DSB in my 120 and now my wife wants a DSB in the 58 too. I agree. But the 58 is stocked with about 85lbs of rock, fish, coral, inverts and on and on and on.

I really don't want to take all the rock out because it took me forever to get it stacked in a way I liked. And I can take some of the CC out, but getting it all would be virtually impossible. Even getting most of it would require taking out rock.

Can I just leave the CC in and add a layer of aragonite on top? I won't be able to get it back into all the deep recesses of the tank, but I figured the criters would help with some of that too.

What would be the right way for me to do this?
 

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Fish Killin' Reef Keeper
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When I was given my current 55g tank, it was an established FO tank w/ CC substrate.

As this tank progressed into a FOWLR, I too had a bunch of things I didn't want to take out.........So I actually topped it off with 50# of regular white sand from HD and a 20# bag of aragalive sand (not knowing I didn't really need Live sand).....I wound up with about 4-6" DSB.

The tank has been fine for the past two years, but in hindsight I wish I hadn't left the old CC bed from the previous owner. I don't really know how much detrius and gunk I wound up putting on the bottom of my DSB....Now I kind of wonder if/when I might have a crash because of it...

Long story short....YES, it can be done.....keep in mind that over time(probably a long time) that the larger particles will rise to the top as the smaller particles settle to the bottom.....

If it were me, I would consider removing everthing and starting all fresh with the SB just so you know it's clean for now. If the tank has too much coral to do this easily, then You can do it.

A trick I have read about to avoid a tremendous sand storm is to use a Vinyl hose about 1" with a funnel on top and pour "wet sand" down the funnel hose to the bottom of the tank, instead of just trying to put it on the bottom with your hand.....I have not done this, just read about it after I did mine.

HTH....Sam
 

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Starting over would be the right way to do it, as well as would provide you with peace of mind that there arent any surprises in the future.

Get yourself a few 30 gallon rubbermaid containers. Empty enough of your tank water into one that will cover all of your corals and put a powerhead in it with a venturi so you can have aeration and flow. Carefully place your corals in it and of course your rocks with corals attached. Then when all the fragile stuff is out of the way you can get the rock out fairly fast. I recommend covering the floor well secured around the edges with a durable tarp. take water out as you go so the rocks are always submerged but once you start stirring up the sandbed stop putting the water in the rubbermaids and start just getting rid of it. You will of course need new water to make up for the rest. You can then take a plastic dustpan and scoop the sand and cc out but even easier yet is to have big shop vac on hand and suck away.
Before you start any of this you will have already prerinsed the new sand you are going to use really really well to cut down on any dust storms. Throw the sand in and then take the lid to a 5 gallon bucket and start pouring water in on top of it until there is enough to cover your first layer of rocks. repeat. the lid makes it so the water wont dig down to the bottom of the sand. The reason you have 2 containers for the rock is it makes it much easier to see the rocks so you can choose which ones you want first. You could take this a step farther and have pvc or acrylic rock lifts to suspend your rock on but not required of course. The corals would be fine for a day if need be assuming your temp maintains....a cover can help with this........
If you can get someone to help all of this can be done in less than 4 hours give or take depending on how picky you are about your rock stacking.
Your tank will be happy and healthier in the long run if you go to the effort to do it right instead of covering the cc up.
Doing it that way will eliminate the risk of what stirring up that sandbed could do to your prized corals and reef.
hth
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Corals are easy enough to deal with. most all of them are on their own little rocks... so that's not really the issue. More an issue of getting the rock stacked again in a decent way. It took me forever to get it the way it is. I'm just not very good at making it look decent. and I really don't want to have to go through with all that again. I've tried getting someone local to help, but just not had any luck.

I was hoping to try and do it tomorrow... but I agree, that it is probably best to do it the right way... So I guess I'll just think about it some more.
 
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