The Reef Tank banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still working through some planning on my 55g tank (will probably still be working on planning for a while), and while I was at the LFS the whimsical side of me caught a castle and various other structures.

Is there a detriment to putting a "dead" rock item like a castle, pirate ship, whathaveyou, into a reef tank with live rock, aside from less area for coral and stuff to grow?

I assume that unlike a freshwater tank where you generally should introduce bubbles for oxygenation and such, that a reeftank should probably not deal with all that? Especially the ubiquitous treasure chest that opens by air bubble?

Mike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
317 Posts
Ok Mike, here is one man's response...
Freshwater pets are generally more hardy, and as a result people tend to "cutesify" their tanks. Whatever floats your boat.
But there is nothing cutesy about keeping marine animals. They are very expensive and much harder to keep. Over the years we have found that simulating a natural reef is the best way to do it. Oxygenation is extremely important, and that is why the marine hobby has adopted things like overflow boxes and sumps and high pressure power heads. Bubbles alone aint gonna cut it. On top of that, air bubbles are damaging to many types of marine critters. Plus, when the bubbles break at the surface, they tend to make one hell of a salty mess.

The use of live rock is considered critical to this hobby, primarily becuase of the bacteria it harbors. Eventually this bacteria will grow on all sort of stuff, but special conditions have to exist for the bacteria to survive and do its job. Some of this bacteria is anerobic, and survives in the deep pores of the rock. Not likely to happen on the plastic diver.

In addition, most of the cutesy ornaments are made of plastic. Some plastic has been known to leech dangerous chemicals into the water, and frankly I don't think the freshwater industry cares to much about that.

Then there are the aesthetics. If were are spending all this money to make our tanks act like a reef, then why not make it look like one. I think people appreciate the hobby much more when they see a natural environment instead of Boston Harbor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
It probably wouldn't hurt, especially for a fish-only tank. However many of the pottery glazes and clays have high amounts of metals like iron or aluminum, which might cause problems for invertebrates or corals. They might even contain copper, which is a poison to coral and inverts. I personally would not take the risk.

Anything plastic would likely be fine. You're right about not needing anything bubbling, water circulation is sufficient.

Any actual "rock" you add should be calcium carbonate based. This would include most limestone and dolomite, though they may have a high enough metal content to cause problems as well. Broadly speaking, if its a clean white or gray color, its likely okay.

Several places sell dry reef-based rocks for much cheaper then live rock, and there are some really nice looking ceramic rocks available as well. If you like DIY stuff, lots of people have made fake rock (sometimes called agrocrete) out of portland cement and aragonite gravel. People have also used quick drying hydraulic cements for this. Someone (cant remember if I saw this here or on RC) even made south-pacific style cement statues with LED lights behind them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
476 Posts
as long as you've got plenty of live rock for filtration and happy critters there's nothing wrong with using ornaments made for aquariums; have fun!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
34,435 Posts
the biggest problem with using plastic decorations is that they will most likely be the first things covered up in coralline. other than that it is totally up to the aquarium decorator.

bubblers are just bad in SW. they for all intense and purposes turn your aquarium into a protein skimmer. the bubbles bind nutrients then bring them up to the waters surface where they pop, leaving a thick film on the waters surface that will need to skimmed off.

G~

G~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the great info!

Scuba Steve might make an appearance, who knows. :nuts:

Another question...I saw in another thread someone using black sand. I assume this was something akin to Tahitian Moon Sand (I think that's what its called). It's a sillica sand from what I can tell. If I rinsed that and put it in the tank with the LR, would that be an acceptable substrate? Are there other blackish sand products that can be used?

And I guess while I'm at it, when you rinse the substrate, I gather it's done under normal tap water. Between the time it's rinsed and the time it goes in the tank, does it need to get rinsed again with either SW or distilled water?

Mike.
 

·
ReefDreams
Joined
·
397 Posts
i saw a big tank with black sand ! i thought it looked cool is thir more threads on this i can read up more ?? can some one pm me with that page or info ???
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
34,435 Posts
silica sand is fine. the biggest problem with silica sand is the fact that it does not bind phosphates like aragonite based substrates. this could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your maintenance schedule. because it does not bind phosphates the sand bed will quickly fill up with phosphates and start leaching them back into the water column. with a calcium carbonate based substrate the binding effect allows a lot more phosphates to be taken up by the sand bed before it starts leaching back into the water column.

to counter this with a silica bases substrate you will need to siphon it clean very often to keep the phosphate levels down. most silica sands are pretty heavy so they are fairly easy to siphon. this of course will not work with a calcium carbonate substrate. phosphates can only be broken from the sand by bacterial turgor. this can not occur in the sand bed for a number of reasons. so eventually a calcium carbonate bases sand bed will need to be replaced completely to regain its phosphate binding ability.

G~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So essentially when doing the water change, might as well use the gravel vacuum thingamajig, and kill two birds with one stone?

Mike.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
34,435 Posts
if the sand bed is under 3" than deep cleaning the sand bed with a vacuumagiggy is almost a necessity. the more you do it the better. you just need to make sure you do not undermine the LR. another reason to raise the LR up on stands.

G~
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top