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  1. #1
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    Barebottom tanks

    Was wondering if anyone here is running a barebottom tank. I have come accross a few threads on reefcentral about this and was wondering what people think here. This seems to really be focused around sps tanks mainly.

  2. #2
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    I run a BB tank. I wanted to give it a try...just for the sake of trying actually. It takes a while to get used to, but you grow to appreciate it. The only drawback is that I can't create enough flow (even with 4 powerheads) to keep all the gunk in suspension, so the tank has become slightly higher maintenence since I have to suck all the gunk out with my weekly waterchanges.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ALRHA's Avatar
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    personally i find that a sand bottom looks a lot more natural.
    Albert
    My Photos

  4. #4
    Senior Member ak_sniper's Avatar
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    I find a substrate bottom looks more natural as well. I dont think I would ever do a BB tank, except my QT

    AK
    20G Reef Tank (Starting again...)

  5. #5
    Moderator cres's Avatar
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    I have a sand bed and a Goby/Pistol shrimp pair.

    I like to think that they keep the bed churned enought to avoid a "sandbed disturbance" from becoming an "event" I need to worry about. My tank isn't that big or that old yet, but, if the shrimp keeps up his current pace, there will be few grains undisturbed anywhere.
    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

  6. #6
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    I think going BB robs the tanks bacteria of a LOT of useful real estate. Going BB is a throw back to the days when tanks were kept in pristine condition... nothing alive or dirty in the tank except the fish the tank housed.
    Rob

  7. #7
    Senior Member CableGuy's Avatar
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    newguy....I have quite a bit of flow in my 230 gallon and I still get gunk build up on the bottom of the tank. I have directed the flow of my Tunze streams so that the gunk mostly builds up in two places. It make's it easy to siphon it out that way. I agree with you that you come to appreciate the look of a BB tank

    Rob..... BB tanks allow you to take out the bad stuff before it breaks down. So you don't need as much bacteria in your tank to process ammonia into nitrates.

    When I was planning my 230 gallon, I was planning on having a 1-2" sand bed. After alot of reading I asked myself what I wanted out of my tank? I wanted my tank to be full of colorfull SPS. A BB tank helps you get rid of nutrients before they even have a chance to break down. It also allows you to have tons of flow! In a BB tank there is no sand bed that you have to worry about blowing around. SPS love light, lot's of flow, and low nutrients, It didn't take me long to come to my decistion.

    I personally like the look of a sand bed, and yes I think it does add some more diversity of life to your tank. They both have their place. You just have to decide what you want out of your tank. I'm not saying that you can't have an awesome SPS tank with a sand bed. Just look at reefmutt's tank as an example. He has a sand bed with and outstanding SPS dominated tank.

    Also take into consideration that it is alot easier to add a sand bed later if you decied that you don't like BB, than it is to take out a sandbed from an established tank.

    Colby
    "DREAM LIKE YOU'LL LIVE FOREVER, LIVE LIKE YOU'LL DIE TOMMOROW"

  8. #8
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    Understood Colby .. But your still moving away from the "natural" method when you go BB. There's really nothing wrong with stuff staying in the tank if there is enough bacteria in the tank to make use of that waist. I will agree that in the end there will likely be less nitrate but when you run BB tank you are not allowing for enough bacteria load to handle "mishaps" that put high levels of ammonia into the water column.
    Rob

  9. #9
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    also, SPS corals feed off alot of that bacteria when it becomes free floating and larva release from creatures breeding in the bed. trick is to get good flow without a blowing sandbed. I like to mix certain grades of sand and shells. saying that, I have to redo my loop because the flow is way more than I thought from my hammerhead. All personal taste but I could never love a BB tank:

  10. #10
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
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    Cableguy, I'm not completely against the bb method- it may even have some merit in that the reduction of bacteria due to the lack of sand may in fact benefit the sps because there will be fewer potential infectors floating around waiting to land on a coral and cause some rtn. And there is also some merit to the theory that removing all that crap before it breaks down... keeps the crap out. But I feel that all the crap only needs to be removed when there is no sand, when there is a sand bed, the microfauna that live in the sand will break it down and then, in the process of going through their little lives, will reproduce and add an otherwise missing element to the food chain of the tank. Now, is this element absolutely necessary to keep the sps happy?? Not sure. But I do like the idea that, as Rob and Johnny point out, it is more like nature. Also, does the sand bed eventually fill up with more stuff than can be broken down? Maybe.
    I'm always one to wait and watch, then make a decision on other people's mistakes or successes. If I see extra special results from a bb tank, I might try it, but right now I still think that a sand bed is more beneficial than no sand bed. If I don't see results that are better than mine, why switch.
    I have seen some guys on RC using that white plastic (or neoprene) board on the bottom to give the tank a little more natural look.
    I don't think that one has to ask the question 'what do I want out of my tank?' to decide on a bb or sand bed tank, one can have a tank full of colourfull sps with or without a sand bed. I think one has to ask 'which reef keeping method or methods best suit my philosophy of reef keeping?' and go with that.
    Matt.

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

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