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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Rock Hard substrate.

    The substrate in my tank has become very hard and clumpy. I think this is due to calcium overdose.

    Should I be concerned about a rock hard substrate. The substrate is aragonite and live sand.

    I've been told it was bad thing to have happen, although I think some time back I was looking on AC at Malhavocs pics, and if I remember correctly he mentioned is substrate was like cement. He tank seemed to be doing well.

    Should I crumble and losen the substrate by hand or leave it as is?


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Jaret, Dr. Ron on Reef Central answered this question. He said that usually the sand becomes hard if you don't have enough critters to keep it worked up. I have also seen threads in the Chemistry forum about this issue but unfortunately I haven't been able to access RC lately. Dr. Ron suggested crumbling or removing what is easy to reach since you won't get any benefit from hard sand. If you can't reach all the hard spots, not to worry as it won't harm the tank.


  3. #3
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    This is what I've read as well. It's actually too much bacteria that causes the sand to clump. More bacteria eating critters will solve the problem. However, if it's one solid piece it's probably too late. Not that this necessarily is a problem. I've heard of several people with solid sandbeds and their tanks run just fine. They just don't have the benefit of a deep sandbed anymore is all.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Well.., my opinion is that while the others are right as to what they've said, it IS very important to understand that if your tank was running a DSB as part of the filter/ecosystem then it will pretty much not be functioning anymore and you might start to have some issues. People that run barebottoms or purposely use a solid/hard base for their tank are also using means suitable for filtering/nutrient export. In a nutshell, I would advise that you monitor your tank carefully for problems that might start to arise such as algae blooms, water parameters go south, etc.... because the biofiltering capacity of your tank will have taken a hit somewhat.

  5. #5
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    I think you are right about the calcium overdose. Hard, clumpy sand, if it is really hard, usually happens when you have a precipitation event. Aragonite is the perfect site for crystalization of minerals. If you are keeping your calcium and alkalinity levels too high, crystalization occurs and the grains of sand become fused together. It often happens when people use too much buffer while dosing kalkwasser.
    I think it would be a good idea to break it up as much as possible- this will allow the critters who live in the sand to properly colonize it.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Thanks everyone.

    I just did an amonia test and it seems to be on the rise. Was zero just a week ago. I'm noticing a wee bit of red slime/algae on the outlet of power heads and in the CPR fuge....

    I managed to reach my hand in and break up the clumps without a problem.

    Everything seems good in the tank. hammer,polyps,shrooms and other coral appear to be doing fine.
    45 Gallon
    x2 96WPC Lights, x2 9W over CPR fuge, x1 36W T5 Actinic
    Remora C skimmer, Ehiem Cannister
    Solon Wrasse,Yellow Tang, Clarkii Clown, Blue Neon Goby, Mandarin
    Assorted Zoo's,Shrooms,Rics, LPS

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