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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After talking to Geoff, I finally decided to go bare-bottom (BB) in my 28 Gallon Nanocube. The purpose of this thread is to illustrate my process as well as document potential difficulties for other reefers who desire to lose their sand bed. This will also be good practice for my upcoming 650 gallon Starphire Reef, which will be bare bottom.

At the same time, I will be attempting to redo my aquascaping, as this was my first reef and it looks very artificial and lacks good spots for coral placement. Please recommend rock types and placement!

Aim:
To gain more control over my aquarium by removing the sand bed

Hypothesis:
By going bare bottom, I will be able to reduce algae growth, facilitate easier cleaning, have a more modern look, and to have more control over the nutrient levels in my reef aquarium.

Possible challenges include:
  • Difficulties controlling nutrient levels during the process of sand removal
  • No quarantine tank available during the process (Besides a 3g pico :( )
  • My sump only gets 200 GPH through it
  • I still have not decided on a skimmer

Tentative Procedure:

  1. Remove all livestock (Corals) into the temporary rubbermaid container with powerhead, heater, fan, and AI Nano
  2. Remove all live rock for a three day "Cooking" in a dark trash can, with the new rock that will be purchased for additional aquascaping.
  3. Supplement water level, and install skimmer in the sump (and begin skimming).
  4. Vacuum out sand using 1/2 inch tubing
  5. Do an intense cleanup of the Display Tank, but leave the rear filtration and sump alone (To allow biological filtration).
  6. Figure out nice aquascaping for the tank, which will most likely involve 20lbs of Dry Pukani (BRS) as well as my current live rock
  7. After testing levels and assuring that no PO4 is leached by dry rock, put cleaner crew and four Green Chromis into the tank to get everything going and insure stability
  8. Put corals back into the tank, considering lighting as well as future growth

What do you think? I will hopefully order the dry rock today and get started some time next week. I am also considering converting from my Ocean Revive lighting to a Radion XR30W Pro with the high-spread optics, but do not wish to include another variable into this procedure.

I hope Geoff will be my guardian angel, watching over and making sure I don't screw anything up! :thumbup:

Along with Geoffs help, I will also be referring to the post "How to go Barebottom", which can be found on this site on the link
http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f164/how-to-go-barebottom-66550.html
 

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OneOldFish
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281 Posts
since your tank is so small i would just take the sand of as i do regular water changes. when cleaning the sand bed during a WC you siphoning some sand on each water change that way you give the system time to adjust slowly.
 

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For what it's worth, I took my buddies tank and removed sand from the display (about 3in) and a 12x12x4in sandbed from his sump in one cleaning. I tore his whole tank apart, even the canister filter. All I put back was 100% new water and the rocks with no ill effects. Plenty of bacteria reside within the rockwork
 

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Hydro-Dynamic
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13,149 Posts
since your tank is so small i would just take the sand of as i do regular water changes. when cleaning the sand bed during a WC you siphoning some sand on each water change that way you give the system time to adjust slowly.
+1
regardless of tank size, I would just incorporate the removal
into my husbandry over time, increasing husbandry, speeding removal
of both sand and any purging. As for lights out darkness, that can be done
in tank so you don't have to remove the coral. Though removing the rocks
for aggressive agitation in a bucket of WC water, after the crud settles
just rapidly swishing the rock around and physically removing any algae
will help tremendously. It's unreal how much detritus builds up in our rock
especially, where 2 rocks meet and underneath, sand or no sand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your input!
I would just incorporate the removal
into my husbandry over time
I could do that, but want to get this over with without worrying about the spikes caused by the mixed sand. In addition, I will need to increase my flow with my MP10 and do not want sand flying everywhere


I will:

Install a Radion XR30w PRO (Replacing OceanRevive LEDs)

Add 15-20 lbs of live Pukani (I currently have a tiny bit of rock, and the layout is artificial)

Install a Skimmer (TBA)
Thinking of PSK-100, Tunze 9006, Bak Pack (2+), etc

I know this is a big change, but I want to get more professional in my reefing- the "Island of rock with stick" thing isn't working out for me. (As well as the constant high nutrients, etc.)

I will be siphoning out the sandbed, and the new rock will displace the water lost via this process. I believe my biological filtration will manage to keep up; I will leave my sump and rear filtration intact as well as temporarily keep the older rock. The Radion will work hand in hand with the MP10 and Apex, which will also be nice.

Any words of caution/ recommendations?

Thanks,
Harry
 

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Hydro-Dynamic
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Thanks for your input!
I could do that, but want to get this over with without worrying about the spikes caused by the mixed sand.
Well I'm confused...
You currently have mixed sand? I don't understand based upon the OP.
Perhaps another thread somewhere I haven't seen has this info.

Surely it wouldn't take more than 5 or 6 WCs to go mostly BB. 2 weeks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You currently have mixed sand? I don't understand based upon the OP.
I meant mixing the sand during a water change will most likely release PO4 and other fun chemicals into the tank.... Ive been a bad caretaker and do not regularly mix/clean the sand bed. Now I can see a bunch of black dots and other bubbles on the sand against the class, so don't want to release the mystery substances into my tank.

I believe that using a siphon will reduce the change of sand--> Display contamination, as theoretically I could get all the sand out without releasing anything; using the siphon.

Why are you against simply siphoning it all out? I don't understand :)
 

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Hydro-Dynamic
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Why are you against simply siphoning it all out? I don't understand :)
Because your program involves removing all the coral,
basically tearing down the tank and converting to BB in a one swift sweep.
To me, this potentially is the worst case anything that happens quick in this
hobby, generally is not good scenario. What I was doing was increasing your
husbandry in a kick start fashion, and keeping the coral in an environment
that is is going to adapt to over time, albeit, rather quick if done in 2 weeks
and I personally would do it with regular weekly WCs what ever I got would
be it, probably 20% of the SB at a time. But if you have good input that
backs up your plan, by all means carry on. I just though it to be a system shocker myself.
 

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Administrator
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i guess it depends on how comfortable you are at redoing a system. i used to move a lot, so i got very good and spreading towels around on the floor and pulling everything out and then putting it all back in at another location. if this doesn't bother you, i would do what Phane suggests, if this more than you would want to do, then do what Japonicus suggests. both ways will work very well. it is mainly a comfort thing. the less disruption of the substrate the better, but sand can be removed with minimal disruption.

G~
 

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Toyotaholic
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I posted this in my biocube thread in response to your post but thought I would put it here as well.

My only suggestion would be to remove the sand slowly, not all at once. The amount of bacteria, good and bad, in the sand is huge, and if you remove it too quickly you could run into issues (mini cycle, etc) I removed my sand slowly over the course of about six months (you'd probably be fine to remove about a 1/4 of the sand each water change over the course of a month), with the intentions to replace it, but I just haven't gotten there yet because I am contemplating replacing the tank.
Nothing good every happens quickly in a reef tank...
 

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Premium Member
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12,214 Posts
+1
regardless of tank size, I would just incorporate the removal
into my husbandry over time, increasing husbandry, speeding removal
of both sand and any purging. As for lights out darkness, that can be done
in tank so you don't have to remove the coral. Though removing the rocks
for aggressive agitation in a bucket of WC water, after the crud settles
just rapidly swishing the rock around and physically removing any algae
will help tremendously. It's unreal how much detritus builds up in our rock
especially, where 2 rocks meet and underneath, sand or no sand.
Now I'm confused.
 

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Hydro-Dynamic
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13,149 Posts
Now I'm confused.
Sometimes a nutshell is just too dense. I condensed several things down
rather than take half a page elaborating on each process I chose to reply about
that Harry put forth, like lights out can be done IN the tank rather than out,
and swishing the rocks around one at a time in a bucket
would be less disturbance than removing it all at once and so on.
What part Dave?---all of it :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Okay the Reefers have spoken- no one time huge change to the tank! I will be doing it slowly during the monthly 5g water changes :)

Radion retrofit will be sometime this week, and it will hopefully be picture heavy (High Quality as well).

I am extremely dissatisfied with the overall aquascape of my Nanicube, and do want to make something better before I even think about the 650. You know what I mean? Like, first make a nice aquascape in a nano before attempting something over 20x its size!

Here are some pictures from the left, right, and center. I know that the Green Duncan needs to be lower- it hasn't been as "happy" (Are corals happy, or healthy?) since I moved it up.

Any ideas on how I should redo the rock work? I was thinking that the piece of tonga might have to go, and that I may need two dozen pounds of live Pukani or MI rock.

Ive looked up examples online, but cannot picture how to make them myself :(

(Don't judge my 'scape; its was my first time and coral placement or looks was not taken into account!)

Left View:

Center View:



Right View:

 

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Hydro-Dynamic
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and you would lose the beautiful tonga br piece why? :)
I think it's characteristic, but if it doesn't fit the plans there's
always another tank it could go in there

I like the front view ALOT! the side view, the front row has a lot
of contact though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I like the front view ALOT! the side view, the front row has a lot
of contact though.
Thanks, but I don't know what "A lot of Contact" means. Are you referring to all the little pieces of LR sitting in the sand? And yeah, the tonga is pretty cool. It was bleached when I got it, and now it is deliciously coralinistic and the white spots are almost gone!

My thoughts are that the "Pile" structure is too far back, and I do not have enough surface area for coral placement. I would like something with more..... I don't know lol. Im thinking like.... Two main structures, one higher than the other, that will connect with the piece of Tonga. The tonga will be almost perfectly horizontal (A little offset for a more natural look), and one of the LR structures will be significantly higher than the other (and the tonga piece).

I may try to make a picture of my idea, but I am artistically deprived :(

Edit:
I REALLY want a skimmer. I have been talking to @Geoff about filtration in general and believe that a skimmer, combined with regular 5g monthly water changes and through siphoning should be enough.

I just can't decide what skimmer.... From the Bak Packs and Hob-1 (HOB) to the Psk100 (In my sump) and assorted reef octopus and bubble magnus available to the everyday reefer, there are just too many choices.

If only someone bought a skimmer from each of these companies and ran them in the same tank, head to head. Best review ever. Especially if he weighed the precipitate gathered by each skimmer every week... But thats too optimistic- right?

Edit:
Apparently I can't use @Geoff to tag him :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
your tank looks really nice , good photos .
Thanks! Any recommendations on the soon to be updated rock work?

I avoided a terrible mistake yesterday.

I went the LFS (Which will remain unnamed) to puck out some Live Rock. After looking in the beautiful LR tank, I asked for certain pieces, as they were very healthy and had a bunch of coraline.

A few minutes later, the employee comes up with the rock "I chose" wrapped in the damp newspaper in a foam box. Luckily, I happened to look into the LR display and noticed that the rock I asked for was still there.

Turns out they tried to sell me rock from "The back", a huge container of LR outside that was infested with Aptasia.

I walked out, not even buying the marked up, $300 skimmer due to their attempted scam. Really disappointed in the store, which I previously believed to be reputable. I will be going to the farther, nicer LFS this weekend.

Lesson: Make sure you know what you're buying. Don't assume that everyone is trying to scam you, but be paranoid with anything you put into the tank.
 
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