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Ok Guys, I am expecting differing opinions on this so hopefully I can generate a decent list of pros and cons and a method by which I should execute this (if I decide to). I currently have a 65 gal (soon to be reef, fish only as of now) that has been setup for about 2 months, I have had the end of my cycle and I have jut gotten' over a cyan bloom. The tank has evened out with all chems and I am starting to think about how I want to populate the tank (for some inverts and corals). Well, when I started the tank (regretfully in hindsight) I used that crushed coral-esque substrate (white flake kind). As I have progressed (sans the alg blooms) I do not like the looks of it (aesthetically) so I am debating if I should throw some sand down on the substrate or not (maybe 1" of sand active/non-active? not sure). The questions I have are this:

1.) How is this going to effect my tank's chems? (I have TONS of pods at night when I flip lights on. Will they be gone?)

2.) Is this safe for the majority of life in the tank?

3.) Is this gonna reset a portion of my cycle (ie gonna see a Nitite spike again?)

4.) Over all (for purely selfish reasons) is this worth a try?

5.) If I do decide to do this what should I use (live sand from another tank? prepackaged "live" sand?)



Currently

65 Gallon Tall
1 clown, 1 target mandarin
50 margarit snails
40 blue hermits (small)
30 nerite snail
6 emerald crabs
2 serpent stars
5 pep shrimps
a partidge in a peartree
50 lbs fiji
8.1 - 8.3 ph
0 ammon
.10 nit


Thanks for the Opins,
-cb (the () guy)
 

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i personally only use arag-alive sand it will not make your tank cycle just if you add more sand you need to do it slowly because of your sand dwelling critters. but more than likely the new sand will settle under the crushed coral. personally i would try to remove some of it not all and then add the other sand.I have used this sand to set up 4 tanks 2 reefs. never had 1 tank cycle I would never set up a tank again without it. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?siteid=6&pCatId=7318
http://www.aqualifesupport.com/getDetail.php?ID=9210&PHPSESSID=16d824936612067f0666f17eb74c8994 and all the corals pictured on the bag were grown at G.A.R.F using this substrate.
 

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babyblue1977 is correct in that what ever sand you put in will much sooner than later end up under your crushed coral. If your hell bent to use your existing substrate then the idea of adding a little at a time to keep from messing with your substrates fauna is a smart move IMHO.

I had the same delima when I first started. I tried adding more of a finer grain sand and it ended up on bottom. So later when I set up my larger tank, I used a finer grain sand. In fact I used Indo-Pacific to be exact which is live sand from Carib-Sea. It was an awesome product and with live sand there is minimal cycling if at all. This sand is good for a year after packing and I would recommend the freshest you can get cuase there is a very marked difference in critters in the sand that is a couple of months old and sand that is 10 months old! I got the finer grain sand that I wanted and the texture and look of the Indo-Pacific is great I think. The crushed coral in the your existing tank can be salvaged (like I did) and used in a refugium. I have a mangrove refugium hooked up to my 125 and this is what I used as the substrate and it is looking too cool. It does collect a lot of derbis and this is okay cuase my Mangroves take good care of all that trash so I dont end up with a water quality problem. Just my humble opinion. Take what you want for what its worth.
 

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I agree with both previous replies! I would try to get rid of the crushed coral and add 1-2 inches of live sand. What I just started using was this Western-Carribean from Aragalive and it is Awsome!!!!!!!!!! It has the really fine sand that the Indo-Pacific does but it has tons of shells in it. So the areas of heavy water flow don't become a ditch because the shells keep the water flow along the surface. It is really pretty. But if you use sand I would strongly advise a fine grain sand. I started with a thick grain sand and detritus setteled under it up to the point where I took all 200 lbs of LR and half of the sand bed. I replaced it with the Western-Carribean from Aragalive! Awsome!
 

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I don’t know if I agree totally. Personally, if your existing bed has been in place for some time I wouldn’t disturb it. You’d be asking for a real mess. You could get away with adding live sand to your system, but chances are you’ll kick off a brutal cycle.

It sounds like your system has been up a while. Why not preserve the bio-activity in the current bed. If you add fine sand to the current bed eventually, as said before, much of the larger bed will works its way to the surface.

I’m just suggesting this to think about. Don’t run out and do it without getting other opinions for I may be way off. But…

You could add a layer of nylon screen (like the stuff on your windows) to the top of the current bed. Cut it so it sits ½” in from the glass so it won’t be seen from the outside. When the fine sand is on top you can mix the edges a bit so the bed doesn’t look like so divided from the outside. The current bed remains undisturbed for the most part. The trick is to install it and add enough sand on top so it won’t end up creeping out into the tank.

Depending on the depth of the current bed, I’d add at least 2” (or more) of aragonite. Wash it thoroughly before adding. Have a mechanical filter handy to run for a few days to get rid of the resulting cloudiness.

The underlying bed is already “alive”. That will seed the upper bed. In no time at all you’ll have a lot of bioactive fine sand. After you see life, get a sand sifter like a Sleeper Goby to maintain it for you.

Just two more cents.
Good luck!
Joe
 

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do not wash the sand if you buy the arag-alive and since it has its own established bacteria population IT WILL NOT CYCLE. but yes if you buy dead sand the bacteria will have to grow and could cause changes but if you take out most of the crushed coral and add this kind of sand it will not cause a cycle i have set up 4 tanks 5-90 gallon using only this sand and have added corals and fish the next day. but you do have to follow stocking instructions on the bag
 

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Adding fine sand and letting it settle into the larger stuff only delays the enevitable. If you don't like the CC look, you might as well get tubs and buckets and rip the tank apart and do it the way you want. I would suggest vacuuming it during water changes and removing maybe one 1/10 at a time, replacing it with sand. That would allow the critters that will, a chance to migrate and hopefully not cause a massive upheaval in your bio filtration system. Sorry to say but there reaaally is no quick and easy way to redo a running tank that doesn't risk major changes in parameters.
 
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