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View Full Version : Deep sand bed or shallow sand bed in 20 g tall


fouadgillani
06/18/2012, 07:59 AM
Hi,
I am a complete newb. I am planning on mixing up the saltwater on Tuesday and then going to go to a lfs on Wednesday to get live rock and sand. Having read pros and cons of deep sand bed and shallow sand bed I am still confused which to go with, and more specifically which to go with in a small tank, mine is a 20 g tall. I am planning on 3 gallon water changes twice a week.

EllieSuz
06/18/2012, 08:14 AM
Save yourself a few bucks and get plain, dry sand. The "live" sand you buy in a bag usually doesn't have much life in it after sitting on a shelf for who know how long. Ask your LFS for a cup or so of sand to seed it. If you like the look of having sand on the bottom, go for a shallow bed no more than two inches deep. A deep sand bed can have disastrous results when it becomes disturbed and IMO should not be attempted by a novice.

SilverGTS
06/18/2012, 09:24 AM
I run a 20g high reef tank packed and run a 3/4-1in sandbed. I have a small piece of eggcrate which keeps my aquascape completely stable from snails and such. Its just deep enough to cover the crate.

-Chris

genesisblue
06/18/2012, 06:49 PM
Shallow sand bed is the way to go and easier on the wallet.

SeanT
06/18/2012, 07:11 PM
A DSB won't operate correctly in that sized tank.
Go shallow.

cloak
06/18/2012, 07:40 PM
A DSB won't operate correctly in that sized tank.
Go shallow.

Can you elaborate on this please?

If a 4" DSB can work in a 40 gallon tank, why wouldn't it work in a 20 gallon tank?

SeanT
06/18/2012, 07:47 PM
Years ago Dr. shimek (the sand bed guru) stated that a DSB is very ineffective if it's size was not at least the same footprint of a 29 gallon tank due to the size of the bacteria colonies.

Agu
06/18/2012, 07:52 PM
Can you elaborate on this please?

If a 4" DSB can work in a 40 gallon tank, why wouldn't it work in a 20 gallon tank?

The purpose of a DSB is natural nitrate reduction. According to "experts" a DSB in a small tank doesn't have enough mass to effectively accomplish that goal. Also water changes are cheaper and more effective.

Personally I don't have deep sand beds in smaller tanks because I don't want to waste the tank space.

BTW, 15% water changes twice a week is probably overkill. I do 10% weekly. If something doesn't look right I'll do two 10% water changes in a week.

cloak
06/18/2012, 08:23 PM
I understand how a DSB works, having had a 4" DSB in my 60 gallon DT for 9 years without any problems. It's the logic behind a DSB not being able to work in a certain size tank that I'm not following. Water changes could very well be more effective when it comes down to achieving the same results, but with all the deep sand beds out there I'm pretty sure this theory has already been debunked. I'm just saying. I would never bet on that line of thinking. If I had the funds & the space, I would give a DSB a go in a small tank. :)

Dubya_R_X
06/18/2012, 10:08 PM
A shallow sandbed will give you a lot more freedom to experiment with the tank. Much easier to maintain, move, reorganize as well

fouadgillani
06/19/2012, 06:06 AM
Thanks guys
I'll keep the sand bed shallow as that was the way I had been leaning. Since I will start with live rock I will get regular sand and some true live sand from lfs tank.
So u think that once weekly 3 gallon water change would be better?