Originally Posted by Shawn D
Definitely always better to be safe then sorry so I will hold off on adding more life. Your play sand project seems very interesting and I would love to see what happens throughout it.
I was wanting to start a thread for this eventually anyway so I might as well start it. Can't supply pictures this go round, but I can fill you in on the details at least.
I have heard all about the whole Home Depot SouthDown playsand being used for reef tanks, but seeing as that is not available in my area I decided to experiment with what is.
Home Depot in my area carries Quikrete Premium Play Sand (No. 1113). This stuff goes for around $4 for a 50 lbs bag. It is about the right granule size for a reef tank (and any other) by my estimate, but its that light brown color playsand, no white.
I am anticipating my next tank project, hopefully 200g or more, and am considering ways to reduce the cost of setup. If this project proves successful then I can set up my next tank using 90% Playsand and 10% LS for less than $100. Definately a + in my book!
My idea is to set up my 20 gallon long tank using a 4" sandbed. Let it sit and cycle, then seed it and throw in some LR and let it sit more. I want to watch every cycle come and go until the tank is completely cycled with 0 ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, and no more algae.
Then I'll get a couple clowns and QT them in the tank to introduce the bioload and see how things react. If all goes well then I will go ahead and start cycling the sand for the big tank so that its nice and aged by the time it goes into the tank.
I plan to get a little pool to hold the big batch of sand and use the sand from the 20 gallon to seed it. Of course I would either sell, return, give away, or move the clowns before doing this.
If it takes longer than I think before I can set up the big tank then I can always use the sand as a sump/refugium area slash saltwater pond while I wait.
In fact, I might even do that too!
Anyway, I started this tank on October 1st by filling it with 75 lbs of playsand and then filling it with water from my 55g water change. I put in a 50W heater and a wooden airstone. I anchored the airline down with a small piece of LR from my first attempt at raising brine shrimp.
I waited two weeks before testing the tank and came up with the following results:
Originally Posted by ahill3780
pH = 8.1
ammonia = .50 ppm
nitrite = .25 ppm
nitrate = 40~50 ppm
I tested the water again just the other day and the readings are now:
pH = 8.0
ammonia = 0 ppm
nitrite = 0 ppm
nitrate = 50~60 ppm
Since then I have placed a few cupfuls of CC from my sump into this tank and pushed it down into the sandbed to start seeding the spread of bacteria deep down. I'll need to do more of this but for now I'm satisfied with the results.
I'll keep you all updated as things progress. Maybe if the things work out for me your next big tank project could be a little cheaper too.