07/19/2001, 05:46 PM
I live in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. I see mantis shrimp on pretty much every snorkling trip I take, which is 3+ times a week. The beaches and ocean around the reef where I find the shrimp are all sand bed. That should answer anyone's question on what to use for a substrate. I am lucky enough that I got all my sand from the ocean for free, hence a completely live sand bed in 2 trips to the beach. It can't get much better than that. Here is what I did for my tank when I was living in the mainland, and it worked great!!! I bought a 50lb bag of caribsea sand, this is a 40g I am talking about, used about 35lbs of it in the tank and then added a 20lb of live sand from the LFS. All together this ran me about $55. It only took about 3 hours for the sand bed to settle and then I turned on my bak-pak skimmer. For three days my tank sat like that until my 45lb box of "uncured ultra live rock" showed up. I added everything from the box, every little piece, and let the tank run for about a month before adding anything, then got a detrivore kit from Indo-Pacific-Sea-Farm to control algea and getting waste processed in the DSB, at that time I did pretty much what I wanted with the tank and never had one problem. I hope that sways a few people into changing their tanks over to a DSB. It is so much better, helps simulate nature more closely and leads to a healthier aquarium. If you can't, or don't want to pay for live sand you can always get some from a friend to seed your aquarium. A little sand from an established aquarium and the decay from LR curing will get your system rolling real nicely. Hope this little note helps.