Bare Bottom vs Substrate

RaymondL

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Already thinking of next tank, or might just remove substrate from existing tank to battle Dinos. For those that have bare bottom tanks /w fish and coral, how do you find it? Be good to get some feedback from reefers who went from substrate to bare bottom, and vice versa.

What did you find better or worse?

Aesthetically looking, substrate looks better?
 

Waters

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My last two tanks were BB.....all previously were substrate. IMO, BB does not look as nice as CLEAN substrate.....but it is easier to care for the system. SPS tanks you can crank up the flow (I have two powerheads sitting on the bottom) without worrying about throwing sand everywhere. Some fish and inverts require sand. All depends on the type of tank you plan on keeping.
 

Cscultho

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Ive done the substrate and from a looks perspective it's nicer but just like you all my tanks recently are BB. Bare bottoms are so much easier to keep and clean and most importantly it helps keep the dinos at bay. Ultimately, dinos was what forced me to make the switch to BB and Ive so much happier. You can cover the BB with corals that creep -- problem solved.

#Dinossuck
 

Falc!

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I took my sand out a couple months ago, I had about 1.5-2 inches
IMG_5380.jpeg
… wish I would have done it sooner. A lot easier to maintain and able to turn up my flow which helps keep it clean. Coralline is starting to cover the bottom glass which I am liking a lot and I do have a couple Montis that are starting to attach to bottom glass. My tank is 2.5 yrs old
 
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RaymondL

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I took my sand out a couple months ago, I had about 1.5-2 inches
IMG_5380.jpeg
… wish I would have done it sooner. A lot easier to maintain and able to turn up my flow which helps keep it clean. Coralline is starting to cover the bottom glass which I am liking a lot and I do have a couple Montis that are starting to attach to bottom glass. My tank is 2.5 yrs old
Thanks for sharing - looks really good!!! What was the process you took to remove the substrate from the tank? It must have taken a long time.
 
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RaymondL

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Ive done the substrate and from a looks perspective it's nicer but just like you all my tanks recently are BB. Bare bottoms are so much easier to keep and clean and most importantly it helps keep the dinos at bay. Ultimately, dinos was what forced me to make the switch to BB and Ive so much happier. You can cover the BB with corals that creep -- problem solved.

#Dinossuck
Good point - what sort of corals would serve the purpose of bottom cover? Other than SPS.
 
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RaymondL

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Sand does give a lot of bacterial surface area. So if you feed fish a lot it can help to break down the waste.
I might put try a very thin layer as a try out and if I don't like I, I can siphon it out......
 

CO2TLEY

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As of yesterday went from BB to sand. I was BB for 4 months. Couldnt stand the way it looked anymore. Either would work depending on what you want to keep and your aesthetic opinion
 

Ben's Pico Reefing

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I have always had issue with sand. Both have pros and cons. Sand you can have less restriction on critters. More diverse fauna and if something falls more comfort with sand cushion. BB you have easier to clean, can blow all detritus into sump and easier to spot build up. Less issues with certain things like dinos or easier to clean and control.

I have seen/heard of people.making fake sand bed with starboard or gluing down sand as well. Gives you the look but will eventually be covered with coraline as well.
 

Serpentman2024

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Without a doubt, BB is a lot easier to maintain, especially if you're going SPS. You can really crank up the flow, etc. Personally, I cannot get past the aesthetic "clinical" look of BB. Some people use polyethylene mat (cutting board material) on the bottom. Eventually, it will cover over in coralline so kinda moot.
 

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I love sand: its “habitat” and allows a wider variety of critters..
what I don’t miss is the dino’s, scratched glass and breaking out the ole Python weekly…
as a compromise I used machined “shelf rock” as staging places for bottom dwelling stock
see pics below, pardon the white
 

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CKW

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I fortunately live near the ocean. I use crushed shells for the substrate. It adds a unique base and adds some calcium as well.
I’ve had this base for about six years with no large problems.
 
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RaymondL

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I fortunately live near the ocean. I use crushed shells for the substrate. It adds a unique base and adds some calcium as well.
I’ve had this base for about six years with no large problems.
Lucky you! I think I should be able to get some crushed shells somewhere locally, but that's not the same I know.

SIdenote: so sad to hear about the corals bleaching in Belize today. We continue to 'destroy' our planet through industrailization.
 

dadnjesse

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I took my sand out a couple months ago, I had about 1.5-2 inches
IMG_5380.jpeg
… wish I would have done it sooner. A lot easier to maintain and able to turn up my flow which helps keep it clean. Coralline is starting to cover the bottom glass which I am liking a lot and I do have a couple Montis that are starting to attach to bottom glass. My tank is 2.5 yrs old
Beautiful Tank
 

Freenow54

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Already thinking of next tank, or might just remove substrate from existing tank to battle Dinos. For those that have bare bottom tanks /w fish and coral, how do you find it? Be good to get some feedback from reefers who went from substrate to bare bottom, and vice versa.

What did you find better or worse?

Aesthetically looking, substrate looks better?
Going to try a reverse under gravel filter with substrate and see. On my existing tank have huge algae issues. The sand was too fine and the suction cleaner would just suck it up and not drop it so I started to just remove it so going to try diamond goby and see
 

Readywriter

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I think the only way id go bb would be if I started tanks for business purposes. If its for my enjoyment its gonna have a dsb
 

Falc!

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Thanks for sharing - looks really good!!! What was the process you took to remove the substrate from the tank? It must have taken a long time.
I took about a month… I vacuumed out about a quarter of the sand weekly during a water change. Pretty simple really
 

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