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sand questions

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pgravis View Drop Down

Joined: August 13 2008
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    Posted: August 26 2010 at 1:19am
I apologize upfront, this is going to be longwinded!   I am downsizing tanks, and got a crazy deal for a rsm 130l.  It was stocked with some coral, fish, rock and sand.   I transferred the fish and coral to my current tank and the live rock is in a tub with a powerhead.  But I'm not sure what to do with the sand.   I left it in the tank for the move with some water, but I am not sure I should keep it live at this point.   one of the reasons for downsizing is that I am selling my house, and need to refinish the hardwood floors in my house.   So, it will be at least until sunday/monday that the tank transfer happens (along with shuffling furniture back and forth between rooms as I sand and finish, ugh!)  
My thoughts are that I will not worry about the sand, give it a good rinse and treat it as unlive(?) sand, finish my floor project and then resead the new tank with some sand from the current tank, live water and live rock.   any thoughts?   I am open to the highly likely possibility that I am doing this completely wrong!
did any of this even make any sense?
also, when I go to bed tonight I will put a bubble stone in the water with the sand in the rsm incase I need to try and keep it alive.
See my house: www.eclecticvictorian.com
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pa_reptileman_4 View Drop Down

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i would say rinse it and let it die worry about it when ur ready to set up another tank....Approve
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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 26 2010 at 8:12am
There has been a fair amount of discussion about this just lately. You are on the right track for the most part.

Here are a few questions to think about:
Why is it called Live sand?
What happens when any marine organism is left without water circulation, without food and without air?
What different types of bacteria, worms and bugs live in the different depths/zones of the LS?

I imagine you can see where I am going with this.Smile Because this comes up so often, a while back I even felt the need to post a thread specifically about it. Check the Tips and How To's section of my big thread linked below in my sig line. Look for the topic "Can I use the dry rock and sand that came with this aquarium?"

For your particular situation, I would do all I could to keep the sand alive, as you have wisely done so far. Clap If there is a possibility of leaving it in the same tank until you are ready to transfer it, that is what I would do. Provide it with water circulation. The airstone bubbler is great.Thumbs Up Try not to stir it up or make it too deep, like filling a 5 gal bucket, because that will suffocate and kill a lot of the life. I would never leave LS in a full bucket for more than an hour. If I couldn't move it to a new home the same day, 6 inches is as deep as I would leave LS in a tank or tub with circulation or an air bubbler.

At this point you may be thinking "Mark is a crazy hobbyist! He treats LS as if it were a fish or coral!" and you would be right. Big smile

Okay, when ready to transfer it, if it has any crud/detritus in it, I'd do this:
- Take 80% of the sand off the bottom of the old tank, leaving 20% at one end undisturbed. Give it a quick rinse in freshwater and place that 80% in the new tank.
- Use the remaining undisturbed 20% to seed the newly rinsed sand. Make 3-4 depressions that reach down to the glass and place the 20% in those depressions. Stir it together a little if you want and smooth it over. This way, the different bacteria, bugs and worms are able to more quickly populate their desired zone from the bottom to the surface of the sandbed.

Quickly add old saltwater (I call it Live Water, LW) to at least cover the sand. Add more water, some old and some new, as soon as possible and start some water circulation.

***  When adding LR be sure to try to move it submerged or if that is not possible, when it's underwater in the new home do the following. Twist, turn and shake it underwater to remove as many air bubbles as possible. You may have read this before, but when water drains out of LR, air fills in all the tiny pores and internal chambers where much of the sessile (unmovable) life exists. The air bubbles can be very difficult to remove and they suffocate the life in the LR creating die-off and pollution. That pollution is mostly avoidable with this method.

Whenever I move/setup a tank, at this point I turn on the Refugium lights 24/7 over a good amount of macroalgae. I turn on the display tank lights 24/7 as well. If I have no Refugium then a large ball of Chaetomorpha Macroalgae is placed high up on the rocks and the display lights go on 24/7 for at least 4 days.

I hope this is helpful. All of this has two very important purposes.
1. It minimizes the die-off of marine organisms that would otherwise pollute the aquarium, sending it into the dreaded Nitrogen Cycle.Big smile
2. It enables algae to do what it does so well, which is to eat pollution. This almost completely avoids any unusual spike in Nitrogen levels (Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate).Big smile

It may seem like a lot of work, but it really is worth it because typically all fish and coral survive the move. Have fun Smile

Edited by Mark Peterson - August 26 2010 at 9:10am
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