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Live sand/rock
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ChAoZ
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Joined: 25 Jul 2006

PostPosted: 2006.07.29(Sat)10:55    Post subject: Live sand/rock Reply with quote

Hi guys, I have had a look at a few of the websites and was reading about making your own live sand and rock, just wondering if what I was thinking of would be appropriate. As I havent decided on how to go about the light for my tank yet I was wondering whether live rock and sand could be kept without a light or if sand could be kept only and the rocks can't. I was also wondering how I could actually make live sand myself, do I just buy blasting sand or do I go get some from the beach. Also will this sand become "live" and acquire the microscopics it requires if it is just put in the tank alone with salt water or will it need something else to kick start the process. I'm also assuming that coral skeletons from the beach will serve OK as my live rock.
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djchristone
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Joined: 07 Mar 2006

PostPosted: 2006.07.30(Sun)7:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

anything from the beach is worthless and you might as well as give me the money you're about to use in your tank. the beaches are really polluted. think about it. all those cig. butts, kids peeing into the ocean, trash floating around. there's a difference. Smile

anyway, if you buy something like south down and a lot of dead rock, you seed this stuff by buying a piece or pieces of live rock from a fish store and placing it on the dead rock. same with live sand but with a cup of live sand Smile

lighting will be required to help coraline algae and other such grow. Smile

if you plan on using anything from the beach to cut corners in this hobby, I will tell you right now this hobby is NOT for you. Smile in sw tank, cheap is not an option Smile cheap will result in death Smile
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ChAoZ
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Joined: 25 Jul 2006

PostPosted: 2006.07.30(Sun)8:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking of the beach alternative more for the reason of convenience and being able to get it quickly and easily if needed, since I live right next to a beach. Either way I'm not looking to cut corners, just making sure I am not spending un-warranted cash just like when I go shopping I have a look around to see which store can give me the best price. Thank you for the info on how to actually kick start the process, I think I may go with crushed coral, although still a little unsure, I will probably try to have a look at some established tanks in the next few weeks to see what looks best and is best for the fish.
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dale
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Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Location: Abbotsford Canada

PostPosted: 2006.07.30(Sun)21:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chaoz,

I'll chip in by trying to think about your questions:

First the beach issue.

I guess the main thing to consider would be where do you live? Are the waters polluted more than say, Florida, where much of the aquarium trade species are harvested Rolling Eyes

Are your waters compatible to the type of tank you are setting up?

Depending on your location, there may also be rules regulating the harvest of sea life.

If you believe (as I do) that Finding Nemo was a real life, non fictional story, you also recognise that many beach bums, scuba divers etc... harvest local livestock for their tanks. This is basically how the hobby got started. The main point is researching species for compatability and quarantine.

In general, if you have spent a lot of money on your reef you probably wouldn't consider adding local collectibles unless you understood their behavior and needs and stringent quarantine procedures were followed. However, having said that, I have purchased packaged crushed coral from an LFS that was full of organic crap. They probably shoveled it off of your beach Laughing

If you live near a fairly unpolluted beach, perhaps you might consider setting up a local S.W. tank - containing only stock harvested from your area.
I live 40 Km's from a place called Boundary bay, a very polluted (but biologically diverse) tidal flat. We regularly picnic and poke around there. I would never harvest livestock from there to put in my tropical reef (the water temps are different anyways) but I have, more than once, considered setting up a local cold water tank in my garage so I could stock it with the things I find when I go there (hermits, snails, crabs, blennies, eel grass, seaweeds etc...).

As well as pollutants, If you are harvesting dead coral you should consider killing off all lifeforms by boiling. Although you may lose some beneficial biologics, you are primarily concerned with hidden parasitic lifeforms that could harm the established tanks inhabitants. If you boil coral remember that it will have to cure and may send your established tank into a mini cycle.

Next, the live rock.

Live rock and live sand are the same thing - both are seeded with microscopic lifeforms (that is the live part). As suggested, you can seed "base" rock/sand by putting some live rock or sand in close proximity. Your LFS should give you a cup of sand or rubble out of their stock or curing tanks. You do not need light for this process, the lifeforms we are most interested in are denitrifying bacterias and detritus consumers, neither of which require light. The corraline algae comes later, as the tank matures.
Even with seed stock, the process will take some time (based on the reproductive speed of the lifeforms and measured by water tests). This is called curing. Without seed stock you may achieve some denitrifying bacteria but you won't achieve the diversity of lifeforms desired for a healthy tank. You can also buy some "off the shelf" seeding additives but I personally can't comment on their effectiveness as I have never used them.

Lastly, you will want to add some organic matter, such as a piece of shrimp or fish, to feed the developing denitrifying bacteria. A quick search will show lots of info on cycling a tank but you must remember that with a seeded base rock/sand set up this will take a much longer time to complete.

Hope this helps,
Good luck.
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djchristone
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Joined: 07 Mar 2006

PostPosted: 2006.07.30(Sun)23:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

yep that's true. that certain parts of the world are less polluted than others but I still wouldn't trust anything from the beach. for instance, the reason why copper medications is a big no-no for any tank really is thing will suck up the copper and there will be traces of it in the tank I believe. live rock especially will suck up copper. I believe sand will too. so even boiling whatever you find at the beach can still retain chemicals, from who knows what, within the rock so you should be wary of that. Smile as dale suggested it would help, but imo, it could still be dangerous.

base rock/dead rock can be purchased at most lfs, I've even seen it at various petcos, for cheap Smile live rock is also pretty cheap at some lfs. I've paid 9.99 a lb for live rock completely covered in coraline algae and at another lfs, 2.99 for cured rock with little coraline algae. so it really depends where you go and how much you're willing to pay Smile

and btw...crushed coral isn't really approved of in the hobby...it's considered a nitrate trap and that could lead to serious hair algae problems although phosphates can cause that too...the suggested is 1-2" sand bed. and as dale said, some crushed coral is really bad since there are still remains of snails and other things inside shells. since this is moreso a freshwater fish forum, depending on what kind of tank you plan, nano-reef.com for small tanks (usually 30 gal and below) and reefcentral.com for larger tanks Smile good luck! Smile this is an excellent hobby...only problem is it costs too much Razz
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ChAoZ
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Joined: 25 Jul 2006

PostPosted: 2006.07.31(Mon)0:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the great replies Smile, I actually live in Victoria, Australia very close to Hobson's Bay, although now I think of it I have much the same problem(the water temperature is different to the type of fish I would like to keep). Hobson's Bay is to the south of Austrlia, and Queensland(and the reef environment) are to the very North of Australia. Recently I went on a holiday to Queensland and went for trips on the reef..that was absolutely amazing Smile. While we were up there my Dad picked up the coral skeletons from a fairly protected island.

I think I may just start off with purchasing some cured sand or something of the like from a hardware store or somewhere around and trying to seed it with a cup of live sand from the LFS, from my understanding of the post this can be done without a light). From this approach I will be able to get used to monitoring the chemicals and salinity of a salt water aquarium while I am shopping around for a light and before I actually put any fish or shrimp into the tank(I think a cleaner shrimp would be one of the first things I eventually add as from my understanding they are extremely beneficial for the tank and fish).

If there are any issues or problems with the above approach please let me know Smile.
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dale
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Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Location: Abbotsford Canada

PostPosted: 2006.07.31(Mon)0:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chaos,

The best advise I could give is to visualize your completed tank; the type of livestock you eventually wish to keep (fish, corals etc..) From that list, all other questions will be answered (type of equipment, layout, filtration, lighting etc...) Each collection of inhabitants requires a different set up. Once you know the fish and corals you want you can begin to research their needs.



Dj,

Everyone is entitled to their opinions and I'm not trying to pick on you but you've been presenting such offhanded comments as fact lately that I feel that I must challenge them so that new members, at least, can gain a balanced perspective.
It seems you are recycling some common misconceptions that float around the Internet such as: crushed coral is bad, all corals benefit from high light, wild collected specimens are bad etc.... stating these as fact is plain wrong. You have to think critically about each situation and employ the best strategy for that situation.

For example:

Crushed coral is no different from any other substrate - appropriate in some situations, not in others. It only becomes a detritus/nitrate trap if you don't maintain it properly. So does live rock. There are many long term tanks that have C.C. as a substrate.
Your idea that all coral benefit from high light is false and your cure (use M.H. lighting for everything) shows a lack of differentiation between various coral species and is akin to using nuclear weapons to solve all armed conflicts. Some species simply don't need that intensity and others may actually be harmed by it. Many vibrant and diverse tanks employ VHO, C.F. and T-5 lighting.

If wild collected species are so dangerous what in the world are you stocking your tank with??? (aquacultured specimens aside) Those corals, fish, rocks come from somewhere - they are collected from the wild. Does the fact that you purchase them via an LFS make them any safer?

If you would just stop and consider what you are saying, tailor it to the specific example and not express them in generalities, your comments would be much more informative. You could also try speaking from your own personal experiences. You state that this isn't much of a S.W. site but if that is so, are you making it better or worse by your off handed comments?
I know it seems I am hounding you specifically, but I am actually responding in consideration of those members/visitors who often read but don't necessarily participate in these threads. I would like the S.W. sub forums here to be a place where hobbyists gain meaningful and correct information.
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djchristone
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Joined: 07 Mar 2006

PostPosted: 2006.07.31(Mon)2:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

crushed coral is bad and a nitrate trap as long as you don't vacuum it Smile and of course, if there are rotting snail body parts in there Smile and crushed coral is rather more tedious for a beginner. I would imagine you'd have to lift up your rock work to simply vacuum all of the tank. live rock is much easier to maintain. indeed, snails may leave their poop on it but blasting it with a turkey baster and doing a water change would be fine I think.

and indeed some corals may be bleached due to mh lighting but if acclimated properly, such as sheet to cover the tank and removing a sheet slowly, they'd be acclimated. also, there's much more significant growth under mh than much other lighting. and besides, if mh lighting didn't work and hurt certain corals instead, they wouldn't market it as much -_- such as the clamp on mh, the smaller sun pods, etc etc. they're all built for smaller tanks

and buying things through the lfs at least allows you place the blame on someone else Smile unless you have the equipment to test for unwanted traces of chemicals and other things, you should still be wary. Smile coral and fish are whatever, they're fine as long as they're quarantined. rocks and sand though, shouldn't be trusted imo Smile

and no I'm not taking this badly or anything Smile but it seems that, in some cases, that we're merely working off each other to present a 'balanced perspective' Smile for instance, indeed, some rocks/sand may be OK but nevertheless, should be checked for chemicals despite remoteness. lighting it seems we have differing views but I'm merely going off the fact that there are many successful tanks that employ mh in small tanks where sometimes, it exceeds 15wpg if you choose to listen to that rule. crushed coral being a trate trap really isn't a misconception if one doesn't keep their substrate clean Smile so really, it seems that we complement each other more than anything else and present differing views Smile
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2006.07.31(Mon)5:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite honestly, don't bother with crushed coral. That thing will cost you a bomb, or more. Go with crushed marble like heaps of other aussies do, it's cheap...something like $10 for a 20kg bag rather than the ridiculous quote of $70 for 10kg of crushed coral that I recieved. Search the RTAW forums for crushed marble. I don't think crushed coral offers any benefit over crushed marble except a slightly higher buffering point.

With live sand, advertise on RTAW! A fellow reefer or two will probably be incredibly happy to donate a cupfull of sand to you from his tank just so he can talk reefing with you for half an hour or something. Heaps of people ask for this all the time, you won't be able to buy live sand out of any LFS to my knowledge. If you decide to collect sand off the beaches for live sand, I hear that it'd probably be better to scoop stuff up from muddy seagrass beds instead because the diversity is higher out there. Also remember that the water is temperate around here...not tropical. Critters on your live rock will probably colonize your sand anyway, although the composition of them may be slightly different.

Be careful about picking stuff up from the beach though, there are a lot of strict laws here about collecting etc. They probably won't fine you for getting caught with a shoe full of sand though. Getting NSW from the beach might not be a bad idea though depending on the location, again better to ask the experts on RTAW about this because chances are someone knows the area that you're in.

Be aware that while the people here know what they're talking about, they live in different parts of the world and may have different methods of dealing with things (I.e. live sand in US seems to be readily available while here you have to get it yourself or off a fellow reefer, deep sand beds are worshipped here while US reefers believe they cause tank crashes, natural sea water is the craze here while in US people seem to mainly use artificial sea water, etc).

EDIT: A few other things...

Can you really afford a redline cleaner shrimp as one of your first critters? You know how much they cost here right?

Also with the sand, beach sand from Bunnings works too. I've heard of quite a few people using that, the downside is that there is no buffering effect.

Isn't Hobson's Bay where Williamstown is? I wouldn't be picking up stuff from off there...it's a little too close to the city. Think about going down one of the peninsulas.

EDIT2: Take my advice with a grain of salt, I'm still in the research phase myself (have been for months, something keeps delaying me) and don't actually have a saltwater tank running.
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Last edited by unissuh on 2006.07.31(Mon)8:06; edited 3 times in total
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djchristone
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Joined: 07 Mar 2006

PostPosted: 2006.07.31(Mon)5:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

haha oh yeah I forgot your in australia...dear lord...I remember someone saying they bought a cleaner shrimp for 110$...>.<

and unissuh, nsw is also on the rise in the usa Razz people are just getting lazy Wink typical american eh? Wink haha I kid Smile what nsw btw? I believe it's mostly catalina here? at least in my area it is..
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