Welcome !! I recommend no sand actually I currently have a 20g nano, check the link under my signature to see pics and specs. I only have enough sand to coat the bottom of the glass, and I only have it there for aesthetics. I just like how sand looks.
I'll tell you my experience and you can tell us a bit more about your tank and what you are planning. What size? What were you planning to keep?
Honestly this has been a huge debate for years, but in my experience, I've always found less sand to be better for a number of reasons.
First off, the more sand you have the more chance you have of detritus and nitrate buildup. This is a BIG one for nano tanks. Our bio-levels are VERY sensitive as it is. I run carbon, have a skimmer made for 75g+ tanks, and waterchange every week just to keep things right. Second, it's harder to regulate proper waterflow to all areas of the tank with heavy sand blowing around. Third, it's tough to keep clean, if only for visual purposes. Fourth, Astrea snails fall in sand and can't flip over
There's reasons to get sand too, it makes for a nice calcium buffer, gives lots of critters a home, and it just looks nice. On a bigger tank alot of people actually
feel a deep sand bed (or DSB) is the way to go. For a nano, however, I'd go barebottom or barely bottom.
I've seen REALLY awesome nano-tanks that used live rock rubble as a sandbed too, really nice looking and the current could still pass through the cracks and clear the debris. It's been a fight but I've had alot of success with my nano over the last 9 months. I've been keeping full reefs for years, had a 55g and a 75g before I moved... honestly the nano is more of a challenge than both but worth every second and every penny.
Good luck to you, do some research on deep sand beds (DSB) and barebottom, I think you'll agree with me.
Many will tell you that a DSB for a nano is not big enough to truly do the work. It can still act as a nutrient sink if improperly maintained. This can help a little in the short term but can crash the tank in the longer term. The nano I am working on now will have a sand bed, but it is critter driven (watchman goby / pistol shrimp pair) and not filtration driven.
At first having the sand will help some, but once it gets dirty and full of debris not so much. It will then leech the harmful chemicals back into the water.
Partly this depends on your bioload, but once a reef is established you arent going to want to dig it up to clean out the sand, at any size... and even a coupe of critters will eventually saturate it.
Don't let me scare you from sand, I just would shy away from going deep in a tank that size. DSBs in reefs are generally several inches deep and hundreds of lbs. of sand... I don''t think that can be scaled down but could be wrong.
if youare one who thinks that having a sandbed is going to add any real denitrification value and that is why you plan on employing one then using find sand and at least 4-5 inches is what you want.
I am not one who thinks that they denitrify squat. Dont get me wrong, I am certainly not arguing the science of whether they CAN dentrify or not, I just think it takes way more surface area, and way more sand than the vast majority of people use to make it so. so the sand bed is nothing more than a big refuse pit that needs maintained, as well as will contantly absorb things until full, and release things as it wishes all along the way
That being said, use what looks good to you and coarse enough that it wont blow around too easily,maintain as well as replace it appropriately if needed and you will be fine.
I've read many places that DSB's do not work as they would in a larger system in nano systems. I started with one in my 29, but took it out after researching a lot. It's really up to you and whether you want to lose that much real estate in the 7 gallon tank. DSB's require 4+ inches to work efficiently. If you skimp and go 1" you're not going to get as much anaerobic activity as needed. The surface area in a nano is not substantial enough. The size of the grain also plays a large part. Oolithic is the way to go IMO if you really want to go DSB. I personally like faux or BB. I wouldnt rely on a DSB to do diddly for you in a 7G nano. You're better off vaccuming and frequent regular water changes.
in tanks that small i suggest either no sand or a very thin layer of CC. that way the detritus is easily removed. in a BB you can see all of the detritus to get it. in a CC sand bed, the siphon is much less likely to suck up the sand along with the detritus.
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