Bare Bottom Or Sand? Chaeto Or Rubble? New Tank

BRS

Sully32

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 9, 2017
Messages
231
Reaction score
122
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I am downsizing from a 90 gallon SPS dominant/mixed reef to a Biocube 32. I am finding so many mixed answers on everything I search. I'm hoping to get an organized area here to tally up advice.

Current setup:

20211205_190202.jpg


The new setup:

- Biocube 32
- Radion XR30 Gen 3 with Mobius upgrade and diffuser
- Aquamaxx HOB-1 skimmer
- Titanium heater with Inkbird controller
- Jebao return pump with random flow generator
- MP10WES
- Tunze nano ato
- Tunze Kalkwasser dispenser
- Fuge light?

Would you add sand or would you keep it bare bottom? What are the drawbacks to bare bottom that you have personally experienced or witnessed?

Should I use chaeto in the refugium? Or just pack as much rubble/biomedia in the middle chamber as possible?

I figured cheato is an easy export method, but will the skimmer and filter floss changes be enough?

Packing it with rubble/biomedia obviously allows more surface area for bacteria, but I also thought it might help with buffering pH if I go bare bottom. Maybe?
 
Corals.com

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
23,041
Reaction score
18,979
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
tejas
Take everything you did above and reduce it by 2/3rds and copy it into the new tank, clearly having sand wasn’t a problem there and it’s even easier to clean a 32 because taking them apart to clean is easy if sand cleaning is required

I wouldn’t factor pH at all in the decision if your home has safe levels currently. Moving a third of that live rock over vs adding dry rock is key
 
OP
Sully32

Sully32

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 9, 2017
Messages
231
Reaction score
122
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I am wanting to do a more minimalistic aquascape in the Biocube. This is where I am wondering if a ton of rubble or biomedia in the rear chamber would be beneficial. I will only be housing the clown pair, bubble tip nems, maybe a few encrusting montis, and some zoa/palys.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 9, 2014
Messages
23,041
Reaction score
18,979
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
tejas
it is optional, even the barest degree of live rock up front/which you still need for disease mitigation and dinos control help and food web help/ is going to carry the max bioload the nano can carry. behavioral and disease pressures will be the long term regulator. on a seneye, nh3 is going to begin in control and remain that way.

specifically, there is not one running reef online in any forum that can't control its running daily bioload and suffers from seneye confirmed nh3 noncontrol, it can't happen.

that live rock you have is too much power and surface area to be overcome by fish loading, there aren't outliers.

Even the corals you stack and fill mid center water are filter wands, nitrification bacteria are part of their biota and they're positioned midwater among high flow, you do not need ammonia control assistance in reefing, any assemblage as long as some degree of live rock is used up front is going to work.

if you want to use the chambers to house param-affecting media like gfo or biopellets/which I'd never use in a nano/ that's a different approach. cycle control requires zero help, zero boosted offset here.
of course using the media isn't going to hurt, every reef tank on this board is ten times past the surface area needed to run its fish bioload-thats why the sand rinse thread is on page 51 ripping out entire beds all at once with no losses, we are never never never surface area lacking where corals go. robbing a half of it all at once still leaves us 5x overdone
 

Radman73

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 10, 2016
Messages
1,496
Reaction score
1,665
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Winter Garden, FL
I prefer sand as I like a more natural look. Maybe go with some seachem matrix over rubble in the back? More surface area given the limited space. I wouldn't do cheato personally but maybe others have had more success. My BC32 experience was about 8 years ago, so I'm sure much has changed.

BC's are small enough that frequent water changes should suffice, so not sure the kalk would be necessary. Maybe test at first and see if kalk drops more often than the water changes can replenish.
 
BRS
OP
Sully32

Sully32

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 9, 2017
Messages
231
Reaction score
122
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I was just going with the kalk dispenser as that is how my current tank is run. I actually don't test for anything. I only do a water change every 4-6 months. I swap filter socks, empty skimmer cup, and pull macroalgae whenever needed. I feed heavy twice daily. I haven't lost a coral in a couple years, and it's easily been 5-6 years since I've had a fish death. I figured if nothing is broken just keep going the way it is.

On a much smaller tank I am just assuming that it is going to be a lot different.
 

90's reefer

Fight the Good Fight
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 10, 2018
Messages
6,639
Reaction score
11,663
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
NorCal
I think live rock is the key.
I am BB in my 120 with a remote 30g fuge with 3" sandbed.
My scape is minimalist with only 70lbs of 50/50 live/caribsea.
I have 15 fish and feed heavy at 8 cubes a day.
Fuge has only been running for 7 weeks and tank is 2.5 years old.


My 45 frag system has 1" sandbed and live rock also.

Sand or BB is a personel choice as it works both ways.

I had a 18" cubed nano for 3 years and it was BB and maybe 30lbs live rock.
 

Lavey29

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
3,205
Reaction score
2,734
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
United States
I was just going with the kalk dispenser as that is how my current tank is run. I actually don't test for anything. I only do a water change every 4-6 months. I swap filter socks, empty skimmer cup, and pull macroalgae whenever needed. I feed heavy twice daily. I haven't lost a coral in a couple years, and it's easily been 5-6 years since I've had a fish death. I figured if nothing is broken just keep going the way it is.

On a much smaller tank I am just assuming that it is going to be a lot different.
Do you have to dose anything else in your large tank between water changes other then kalkwasser?
 
OP
Sully32

Sully32

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 9, 2017
Messages
231
Reaction score
122
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Do you have to dose anything else in your large tank between water changes other then kalkwasser?

I guess I should've clarified: The only two things that I test for anymore are salinity and magnesium. I do add mag as it starts to drop. I'm sure the tank would benefit from dosing, but I have not seen the need yet. I have a ton of evaporation so there is a pretty fair amount of kalk being added daily. If anything starts looking goofy I just do a water change instead of testing.
 
OP
Sully32

Sully32

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 9, 2017
Messages
231
Reaction score
122
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I think live rock is the key.
I am BB in my 120 with a remote 30g fuge with 3" sandbed.
My scape is minimalist with only 70lbs of 50/50 live/caribsea.
I have 15 fish and feed heavy at 8 cubes a day.
Fuge has only been running for 7 weeks and tank is 2.5 years old.


My 45 frag system has 1" sandbed and live rock also.

Sand or BB is a personel choice as it works both ways.

I had a 18" cubed nano for 3 years and it was BB and maybe 30lbs live rock.

So are you saying that I should put as much rubble rock and biomedia in the rear chamber as possible? Or do you think chaeto would be a better bet?
 
AquaCave Logo Banner

90's reefer

Fight the Good Fight
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 10, 2018
Messages
6,639
Reaction score
11,663
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
NorCal
So are you saying that I should put as much rubble rock and biomedia in the rear chamber as possible? Or do you think chaeto would be a better bet?
I would just use all live rock in the display. I think chaeto or rubble equals a mess.
Just use gfo or phosgaurd, or now phosbond, in a mesh bag for po4 control.
Their is not enough room in an aio to run either efectivly, imo.
 

Lavey29

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
3,205
Reaction score
2,734
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
United States
So are you saying that I should put as much rubble rock and biomedia in the rear chamber as possible? Or do you think chaeto would be a better bet?
I'm using both. Rubble and marine pure on the bottom and chaeto on top that. Been running that way for 3. Weeks now and seems to keep nitrates and phosphate at good level.
 
BRS

How much of your saltwater reef tank is automated?

  • Nothing is automated

    Votes: 59 13.3%
  • 25% or so

    Votes: 139 31.2%
  • 50% or so

    Votes: 103 23.1%
  • 75% or so

    Votes: 95 21.3%
  • Close to 100%

    Votes: 46 10.3%
  • Totally Automated (we need proof)

    Votes: 3 0.7%
Top