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Thread: Sand Confusion

  1. #1
    Senior Member AndrewNS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003

    Sand Confusion

    I have been researching different sand bed options and I am getting confused. I have noticed that there is different grain sizes ranging from 0.2 mm to 5 mm and up.

    Is there a recipe for a deep sand bed using different types, or is it personal preference of how it looks?

    Is one grain size more effective than another?

    Does it make a difference if the DSB is in a refugium?

  2. #2
    Senior Member mouse6196's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Ok I'll try here.....I hope this helps...but keep in mind, this is only my opinion and will probably spark a long thread here...but I think that is good. That's how we learn.

    Particle size, shape, depth and uniformity are much in discourse amongst reefers. Some users find very fine oolithic "dust" of less than one millimeter best, others prefer 3-4 millimeters diameter, and some even larger "rubble". For the purposes cited, I am of the 1-3mm school.

    Shape should be broadly spherical (versus more two dimensional for typical silica-based substrates).

    Depth depends on grade (smaller sizes should be less deep) and whether you utilize a plenum or not. You want the space between all the sand to be hypoxic, that is low in oxygen (somewhere between 0.1 and 0.25ppm if you’re counting), but no anoxic, i.e., lacking oxygen, for all the problems of anaerobiosis (that black, rotten-egg smelling condition) that can bring on.

    Somewhere between 1-4 inches depth without a plenum and two to a few inches with one is about right.

    Uniformity in your Live Sand size, shape and depth is not "the hobgoblin of little minds", and should be what you strive for. Whether you’re collecting, making or buying your LS from a dealer, do your best to screen it to assure its uniformity. Standardization in turn assures maximized utility and diminished degrees of channeling and packing down.

    The only thing two reef keepers will agree on, is what the third reef keeper is doing wrong!

  3. #3
    Senior Member ALRHA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    from what i undestand, the smaller sizes have more surface area (if you are interested i can provide you with the exact formula). In general,smaller things have more surface area per volume than larger things. imagine a big boulder and now imagine the amount of sand that you can put in that same volume. obviously the sand will have more surface area as it will have a surface of the entire outside of the boulder (just as the boulder has) PLUS all the surface area that the sand has on the inside space that the boulder does not. - i hope you get the idea here.
    the downside to too small of a grain is that it can pack tighter and less water will flow through.
    this may help sum up the mai pros and cons and show why there is a need to 'balance' for optimal grain size.
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