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BB or CC

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DonW

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Dec 15, 2003
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8,753
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Tacoma, WA
I'm trying to decide either BB, a little CC for decoration or 1/2 sand. Can you keep crabs and manderines with a bare bottom? Is a 1/2 just a mess waiting to happen. I really dont like the look of a totally BB but of course need to think about tank health.

Some pro's and cons would be helpful.
Thanks
Don
 

Witfull

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Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
647
Location
New Jersey
i see a big can opened up here,,,lol.

i have to get ready for work right now, but there are pros and cons to any substrate. im sure you will get plenty of facts and thoughts. i will get back to this tonight....

but i vote BB.
 

jazznreef

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Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
219
Location
Seattle/Magnolia
i saw a nice option when at soutas saltwater down in portland. his display has a bare bottom but he has a tupperware bowl kind of thing with a few inches of substrate for his madarin to hang out in. i thought that was a pretty cool idea.
 

DonW

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Dec 15, 2003
Messages
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Location
Tacoma, WA
I was leaning toward 1/2 sand until I read Mikes coral feeding thread. The fact that corals feed on dutrius and when it hits the sand the bacteria takes it over. Well thats got me really undecided then to top it all off my wife hates BB. Since the tank is being built this week-end, I need to make a decision so that I get the water flow right. Dont want to blow sand around but dont want waste build up on a CC or BB floor.
 

Macbeth417

Reef Monkey
Joined
Oct 18, 2003
Messages
563
Location
Seattle, WA
I hope someone jumps in and starts swinging away here.

I have a tank weeks away from filling and this is an issue for me as well. I had never run a BB tank until these last three and half months on my grow out tank. One benefit I have notice is that solids tend to stay suspended in the water column and you can easily identify dead spots because you will see detritus settled in tight collected piles. I just squirt these with a baster once a day so as to reintroduce the waste to the column, give the skimmer a chance to remove it and the coral a shot at it.

One other thing I like is the control. We are obsessed with limiting, controlling and measuring the compounds that enter our tanks; this is just another means by which to do so. Some may argue that the phosphates, Calcium ect that are dissolved in a CC bed and released into the tank are beneficial.

Not to mention no worries about whether of not you are keeping a healthy DSB. And FWIW: I have not had any problems with keeping nitrates down below 5ppm.

That is just my anecdotal opinion and I would love to hear some of you Sand Bed gunslingers toss some DSB sludge back at the SB enthusiast.

This being said I am still leaning toward a 1.5 SB for purely aesthetic reasons. So convince me otherwise!



-Erik
 
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Chimera

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Messages
24
I don't like the idea of bare bottom, because I like to have a lot of nice scavengers that like to live in the substrate. I personally use about 1" of aragonite substrate. It's coarse enough that it doesn't float around, but finer than crushed coral which is a dirt trap. My current tank is a 10G SPS nano, which is too small to support a DSB in any case.

I have 0 nitrates, but I also have no fish which makes it much easier.
 

DonW

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Dec 15, 2003
Messages
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Location
Tacoma, WA
Ok so If I go with 1/2 sand. Can I take the dsb out of my old tank, rinse in saltwater and reuse?? Should be about 1/2 for the new tank.

Don
 

Chimera

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Messages
24
I don't know about recycling an old DSB. From what I understand, they suck up a lot of undesireable compounds that may cause trouble even if you rinse. It's almost impossible to get a bucket of sand to run clear when you clean it, if you know what I mean.

Why start a new tank with a possible strike against it?
 

Lexi

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Messages
5
Location
cloud nine
I agree with chimera. use fresh sand, southdown works great, then just add a couple of scoops of the sand from the DSB in your other tank to seed it.
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Don, personally, I would stay away from the CC, unless you are going to be diligent about cleaning out the detritus. Having a SB because of aesthetics is a personal choice - just understand how the sand bed functions....try and stir it up when you do your water changes. As far as pods go...you'll have plenty that live in your rock. Also, the bottom will eventually be covered with coralline, so it won't be bare forever. This is a tough choice. I was DSB all the way until January and then after an agonizing decision - I decided to go BB. My choice was based on the fact that this tank is going to be SPS dominated, so water quality will be key....I also didn't want to do sandbed maintenance, I'd rather just vacuum up the detritus or blast it with a power head (along with the rock work) and call it a day.

If you do go with a sand substrate, Lexi is right. Add a couple of scoops of your old sand to seed it.
 

jks1

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 29, 2003
Messages
179
I'm also setting up a new tank. I will be going with 1/2" of ref sand. This is purely for asthetics which is fine - as long as like Nikki said you realize the maintenance it will require.
 

MzWeazelle

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Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Messages
169
Location
WA State
I'm certianly no expert, and from a functional point of view there could be a reason for bb, but I've never seen a picture of a bb reef! (correction - in the ocean, that is.)

I like the way sand looks, especially now that the current and various residents have "sculpted" it to suit themselves. I also like my sand-sifting starfish and dragon gobie. Okay, he's a pain since I have to blow sand off everything below 9", but I like him anyway.

If you have a real reason to stay bb, go for it! Otherwise I vote for sand - a couple inches anyway. :)
 
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fishermann

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Jul 13, 2003
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670
Location
Searcy, Arkansas
if you go with fine sand {sugar grain size or smaller} which is what you should use for a true dsb. I would like to point out the fact that you won't with !/2 " have enough deph to make it work as a dsb does. You need aleast 4", 5is better, 6 is even better. The idea behind a dsb is to have enough depth so you get all three layers of bacteria working the bottom one being mainly void of oxygen. You need depth for that. If you put in 1/2" of fine sand all you well be doing is making a good place for detritus to hide. Detritus breaks down with each passing day of bacterial action and believe me it well get into fine sand just as easy as course. The advantage to a courser substrate, maybe not cc coral but say 1 to 2mm in grain size is you can VAC it once a week and i would only put it in front of you rock work where it is able to be vac'd and someday when you get tired of that you can suck it out with a rotory pump without having to tear your'e rock work apart. I have run dsb and now have BB after trying what i just described above. If you are using fine grained sand you need to go deep and anything inbetween is just asking for trouble because you can't vac it!, and it won't work as a dsb has to work to be of any benefit, all it well be is a algae food source as time goes on, and the bigger the tank the better it well be at that. Another facter i believe is if you want a decent amount of fish in the tank. They crap 90% of what they eat and if you have certain fish, you need to feed them properly and i hate people who won't feed their fish because they don't want to overload their sand bed. My believe is if you want mainly a coral tank and very few fish and i mean very few you can have a dsb for years to come like Rob Tonnens which he claims is 16 plus years old. I don,t belive it is neccesary for corals at all but some do and who am i to argue. If you want fish and especially ones that require frequent feedings the onlyway to go to where you are not going to have problems down the road is BB or with a shallow layer of substrate{not sand} so you can do vac maintance on it.
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
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Jul 5, 2003
Messages
7,530
Location
Sumner
He won't get any denitrification from a half-inch bed. But if you're doing it just for aesthetics then it's fine. In regards to trapping food/detritus and so on a fine particle bed will trap it just as much as a crushed coral bed. The same kind of maintenance will be require.
Nikki is correct the BB will eventually be caked in the layer after layer of corraline algae. For me I find the use of the sand substrate really interferes with the proper flow a high-energy reef needs. You just cannot keep the detritus in the water column. So it's sinks into the sand instead.
I sure wish it would work as I also like the look of white sand on the bottom.


Mike
 

nidreef

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2004
Messages
23
Location
N. Idaho
I just switched to BB about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I started to move some rocks and when I saw what was underneath and behind the rocks in the sand...I pulled everything out!! I couldn’t believe the crud!! Now I know why had had water problems. Since, I've been BB the only real problems I've had has been Phosphates. I working on them know with some help (Thanks Mike) and hopefully I will get everything were it needs to be. I know sand looks better but BB is much easier to take care of. Blow off the rocks and any dead spots and siphon if needed. I like it!

BB IMO

Mark
 

Montanarocknreefer

New Sheriff In Town
Joined
Jul 21, 2003
Messages
467
Location
Missoula, Montana
I am going BB all the way in my new system.

Alot easier to have a high water flow to cover all the dead spots and since this system will be sps dominated the food source will be suspended for a longer period of time for the corals and then exported out of the system. :)
 
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