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Craigo

To Substrate or Not To Substrate ? ?

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Ok, I have the first part or live rock sitting in my cycled tank, what I am after is your opinions & advice.

DO I use substrate?

I have used in in all my freshwater setups & breeders mainly using it for buffering properties & I believe in the bacteria there is a bonus.

I always planned to use it in my salt setup however I get put off reading things online saying it WILL kill your tank...one day....

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers :D

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I've heard the live sand is great to help with the cycling and get it going...but i couldnt speak from experience...Im keen to get a FOWLR(love these abbreviations)tank going pretty soon and was thinking I'd use the live sand(or at least a 50% live sand mix)..where did you hear about the substrate killing your tank Craigo?..

were they referring to any particular type?....I reckon those little organisms would get amongst the sand too and do their thing so thought it would be ok...

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a dozen threads down http://www.qldaf.com/forums/marine-brackish-10/substrates-marine-aquarium-no-way-69912/ & a number of reefing sites.

I am pretty keen on it, just am being weary cause its salt... as soon as I hear saltwater I turn into a total noob....:P silly hey.

Thanks for the sweet salt don boy, surprised just how easy it mixed up & dissolved. Great value aswell!

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Nah thats just the marine hobby

theres lots of ways to get great results.

Its frustrating because it feels like everyone is telling ya different stuff.

Ya best bet is to ask/read/watch everything you can

and then make up your own mind.

And always remember

in 10 years

people will look back on the most cutting edge marine practises and technology that we have today

and consider it barbaric, illogical and cruel!

This hobby evolves VERY fast

the best thing you can do

is gather knowledge

because without it

you will spend more $

walk into more avoidable problems

and swear more.

lol

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The other option of course

is just to pick a guru

and do everything they do.

plenty who have succeeded by following the exact footsteps of sprung, borneman or fenner.

Its when people dont understand a technique or strategy

and try to change it

that they usually have poor results.

But then thats the same as in freshwater aquariums.

Plenty of people who can breed more neon tetra than me

in a 2 footer with a dam UGF

And these days I throw every bit of tech available at them lol

Truth be told with marine

as with everything else

its more important to get good filtration going

than to worry that much at first about the actual tank lol

substrate or no

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Nah thats just the marine hobby

theres lots of ways to get great results.

Its frustrating because it feels like everyone is telling ya different stuff.

Ya best bet is to ask/read/watch everything you can

and then make up your own mind.

And always remember

in 10 years

people will look back on the most cutting edge marine practises and technology that we have today

and consider it barbaric, illogical and cruel!

This hobby evolves VERY fast

the best thing you can do

is gather knowledge

because without it

you will spend more $

walk into more avoidable problems

and swear more.

lol

Couldn't agree more with deadfishfloating!!!

I make it a practice to read, read and read.....If I come across something often enough (at least 3 or 4 times) then I consider that it might be correct.....At the end of the day you need to trial and error because something they can not do, you may get/do naturally. When I was a noob at salt water we started with seahorses and manderine goby (not sure if spelt correct) This is what we had in the tank to cycle it....not knowing any better.......cost us a whole heap in salt and water changes and took longer to cycle because of all the water changes we had to do to keep them alive!!! learnt the hard way, but learn we did, from that day forth we did not bring a fish home unless we researched, the fish, it's tank mate, the conditions they thrive in etc.....we learnt to quarantine newcomers etc all by that one act of not knowing straight up.

Cheers

Col

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I have had substrates active and non active for the first 23 years of the hobby,a tank looks in a way, better with one.

My favourite was the 50/50 reverse flow under gravel and the rest of it was deep sand bed with pre filtering on the pumps intakes in 83, never clogs and bio active to the max!!

A raised sealed glass floor for under the live rock for no rubbish or substrate under the live rock, worked a treat, just lots of phosphates to deal with, I used to test a lot back then!

I had external bio filtration as well, a home made venturi skimmer and a bag or two of phosphate sponge regularly reactivated.

That was after my first trickle filter I made that worked very well.

It worked fine and later on the same I would muck around with the substrates you all like to use and plenum style deep sand beds different grades and levels of particles, tried them all.

The commercial collector I first worked with had a chemist mate into the hobby he sold to and he would carry out extra testing for us that was quite interesting.

The last substrate in the aquarium for me was around 7 years back, you have to have some thing like a substrate, its functions are ecentual to sustain marine life really well, just not in the aquarium and after pre filtering!!

In the beginning they are a headache that you aren’t even aware of why you have tank headaches and over time with out regular cleaning you will need more back up gear or if you aren’t vigilant,or if your tanks load is not slight, you will have issues that build, never suddenly, unless you disturb an old substrate, you can then possibly watch your tank crash, nasty substances exist in the depths of an old non active substrate!

I have two levels of substrate in my NWMS,just not before pre filtering and not in the tank!

There is an enormous amount of work going on in a substrate-dead spot, your water needs for anaerobic functions, nothing oxidises nitrate like one designed properly can.

I like that when the guys insisted they see a test of my water and there were no traces of nitrates, what a surprise,lol.

The floor of my tank is virtually completely covered, with no substrate, yet a clean substrate environment is essential for your water.

Edited by liquidg
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I have to admit

ONCE MATURE

my favourite substrate is a layer of healthy purple coraline algae.

caps.jpg

Substrate Review - Sand Beds and Bare-Bottom Tanks | Reefland

but until you have it established

it looks terribad

theres something about coraline that reminds me of the reef tho

5072900606_d05fc2848a.jpg

then again

there are inverts that prefer a sand/grit substrate

and certainly many fish like to feed/interact with it

not very fair to keep many wrasse or jawfish

in a tank with no substrate!

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Yea the problem with the coraline base is that you need very intense lighting, very constant high levels of calcium/carbonates/magnesium, low phosphates and just enough nitrates..... and not too many urchins lol

Its a high tech approach that is becoming more easily achievable now that LED lighting technology is maturing.

I must admit I have only achieved it using very shallow tanks myself.

But its always a good sign when wavemakers start to fail due to coraline encrustation!

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I don’t add anything for the corals at all this time, it’s a little about seeing what the LEDs can do, they are brilliant, mine are the old 3 watt cree xr-e 90 degree diodes but that can be changed as I got the fitting made so I can change the diodes any time with no dramas.

This set up was to experiment with a couple of parts of the bio filter in slightly varied ways to what I normally use combined with just using varied algae, well since August last year, one main algae.

The over all idea was to use ways based a little on horticulture and it works very well!

The Natural based system, that’s why I call it a (natural waste management system) is what I was keen to observe and experiment with, I always use my display tank as with the tubs to find out answers to question that aren’t asked and use my imagination as to find out other ways to achieve really good water quality with near nothing much spent on the set up.

Also it looks after it self, to some degree and parameters remain constant and perfect no matter what.

It would all fall down and make the knockers happy and there are many, if an idea I came up with ages ago was not put in place, settling pre filters, there are many facets of this thing but the morons that say it isn’t possible, would be right with out the settling pre filters!

I have finished all I can do to get perfect waters with no gear and no dosing for corasl with them achieving 3 times their original size from last year, now its more mucking around with diode and degree combos as some of our guys have already had success with and I am just going to have this tank and the one I cut up ready to put together under it.

One for corals-tub worms-ascidians-feather sea stars and the top one mainly the fish I have now and add a few more and join the ranks of hobbyists that dose their corals and I am done.

I don’t think any thing more that is major, is possible via simple virtually free natural methods now, I can’t think of any more to try, so I might add a tiny skimmer at the end and when I put the next tank together and connect it, there is no cycling or maturing, it goes straight onto the NWMS next to the return pump for the top tank and that’s it.

I haven’t had just a display tank in many years, its been great experimenting, but there isn’t anything more to achieve doing away with the skimmer-live rock-dosing ways.

A tank can be done far better with out those ways, that was my aim and it worked far better then I thought possible, I was a sceptic to some degree of how good this could work as well.

The aim was to do away with water changes, completely!

Via harnessing nature and it works so well its even surprised me, I knew it would work okay, but not this well.

A guy with his algae scrubber, like a solar heart on his roof gave me this idea, in a way,a lot of years ago, but he had a lot of money.

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