Go ahead and use sand in QT

Humblefish

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I've never liked the bare bottom QT look, and have noticed how some fish seem uncomfortable in that environment. Especially sand burrowing wrasses, gobies and other fish who utilize sand as part of their daily routine. I've also seen tangs, angels, etc. fight their reflection on the bottom glass.

So, I decided to experiment with some sand in one of my 40 gallon QTs (pic below). I used this 10 lb bag of aragonite, just enough to cover the bottom: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/fish/fish-tank-sand-gravel-substrate/caribsea-aragonite-aquarium-sand

I chose aragonite because it is coarse, and thus unlikely to stick to a fish's mucous coat or inside the gills. This is a concern because parasite tomonts can encyst to sand, and you don't want to transfer any of those into your DT or a holding tank. I tested the copper level daily (for absorption) using the Hanna High Range Copper Colorimeter (HI702). To my surprise, 10 lbs of aragonite only absorbed ~ 0.20 ppm worth of chelated copper (Copper Power). That is easily manageable so long as you test your copper level on a regular basis!

The QT looks better, the fish seem calmer/more comfortable... especially the Yellow Coris Wrasse and Diamond Goby in the tank. So, go ahead and use sand in QT! :)



(^^ The pile of sand on the left is from the Diamond Goby. ;))

 
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jsker

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Kind of reminds me of the days of the puka shells for the substrate. ;)

I kind of like the look and the ease keeping clean.
 

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I've never liked the bare bottom QT look, and have noticed how some fish seem uncomfortable in that environment. Especially sand burrowing wrasses, gobies and other fish who utilize sand as part of their daily routine. I've also seen tangs, angels, etc. fight their reflection on the bottom glass.

So, I decided to experiment with some sand in one of my 40 gallon QTs (pic below). I used this 10 lb bag of aragonite, just enough to cover the bottom: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/fish/fish-tank-sand-gravel-substrate/caribsea-aragonite-aquarium-sand

I chose aragonite because it is coarse, and thus unlikely to stick to a fish's mucous coat or inside the gills. This is a concern because parasite tomonts can encyst to sand, and you don't want to transfer any of those into your DT or a holding tank. I tested the copper level daily (for absorption) using the Hanna High Range Copper Colorimeter (HI702). To my surprise, 10 lbs of aragonite only absorbed ~ 0.20 ppm worth of chelated copper (Copper Power). That is easily manageable so long as you test your copper level on a regular basis!

The QT looks better, the fish seem calmer/more comfortable... especially the Yellow Coris Wrasse and Diamond Goby in the tank. So, go ahead and use sand in QT! :)



(^^ The pile of sand on the left is from the Diamond Goby. ;))

Do
I've never liked the bare bottom QT look, and have noticed how some fish seem uncomfortable in that environment. Especially sand burrowing wrasses, gobies and other fish who utilize sand as part of their daily routine. I've also seen tangs, angels, etc. fight their reflection on the bottom glass.

So, I decided to experiment with some sand in one of my 40 gallon QTs (pic below). I used this 10 lb bag of aragonite, just enough to cover the bottom: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/fish/fish-tank-sand-gravel-substrate/caribsea-aragonite-aquarium-sand

I chose aragonite because it is coarse, and thus unlikely to stick to a fish's mucous coat or inside the gills. This is a concern because parasite tomonts can encyst to sand, and you don't want to transfer any of those into your DT or a holding tank. I tested the copper level daily (for absorption) using the Hanna High Range Copper Colorimeter (HI702). To my surprise, 10 lbs of aragonite only absorbed ~ 0.20 ppm worth of chelated copper (Copper Power). That is easily manageable so long as you test your copper level on a regular basis!

The QT looks better, the fish seem calmer/more comfortable... especially the Yellow Coris Wrasse and Diamond Goby in the tank. So, go ahead and use sand in QT! :)



(^^ The pile of sand on the left is from the Diamond Goby. ;))

Do you have any feeling on how the sand bed would affect the concentration of chloroquine phosphate?
 

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I've used dishes of sand for all my wrasses and I really had to chase the copper ppm numbers.
I used a aragonite sand too.
It also could have been the big air powered sponge filters, but I used twice the amount of copper then I normally would have used.
I tested twice daily with the Hanna checker, just to keep the numbers right.
 
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Do you have any feeling on how the sand bed would affect the concentration of chloroquine phosphate?
More surface area for bacteria to colonize = increased degradation of Chloroquine and other medications. So, sand in QT might be best suited for using copper.

After encountering some hiccups, I just sent off CP water samples to be analyzed with a spectrophotometer. So, I should know by next week just how rapidly CP degrades in a newly setup QT with minimal nitrifying bacteria. The plan is to hopefully establish that as a successful base line, and then keep going until I can figure out just how mature a QT has to be before CP becomes unusable.
 
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Surely there must be a point at which the rock or sand would stop absorbing copper. At least the rate would decline?
At some point rock/sand absorbs all it can, and then the copper starts leaching back out. Which will cause the concentation of copper in the water column to go up.
 

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Interesting study, I may have to try this. I have had a hard time getting wrasses thru QT because of them hurting themselves.

Good to have you back @Humblefish!!!
 
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You can also used silica based pool sand, but be careful none is stuck to the fish when transferring. Tomonts (parasite eggs) can encyst to sand.
 

KrisReef

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At some point rock/sand absorbs all it can, and then the copper starts leaching back out. Which will cause the concentation of copper in the water column to go up.
Any way to saturate the sand before it goes into the qt?
 

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That is a great news. I can definitely see how sand would reduce stress. To many fish go nuts swimming along/against the bottom. Sand burrowing wrasses I use a tray of sand, but during the day they just swim along the bottom. One yellow tail Wrasse I have gave it's self a mouth injury. I eventually painted the bottom of the QT tanks beige, which helped but sand is great to know it can be used without unstable swings with copper.
 

Steelheader09

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Humblefish, its interesting you say this. One of my local fish stores is known for having the healthiest, highest quality fish in the state. His store is immaculate. His tanks are all 10gal on a rack system with a large filtration system. He has sand in every tank. I recently learned he copper treats all incoming livestock in the rack system. That way all fish are essentially treated before purchase.
 

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At some point rock/sand absorbs all it can, and then the copper starts leaching back out. Which will cause the concentation of copper in the water column to go up.
Hi HumbleFish,

I am no means an expert in chemistry or anything like that. Curious to see why rocks/sand leach copper if they are full? I mean, if they can no longer hold copper, won't they just stop absorbing copper and not leach the copper that they hold? Like for example, 10lbs of sand would hold 0.20ppm of chelated copper, wouldn't the sand just hold the 0.20ppm copper? From what I understand in your reply is that the sand still has a tendency to leach an arbitrary concentration of copper into the water, making the concentration higher. This really is not a concern for chelated copper (as the concentration is more forgiving), but probably a concern for ionic copper.
 

Halal Hotdog

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Hi HumbleFish,

I am no means an expert in chemistry or anything like that. Curious to see why rocks/sand leach copper if they are full? I mean, if they can no longer hold copper, won't they just stop absorbing copper and not leach the copper that they hold? Like for example, 10lbs of sand would hold 0.20ppm of chelated copper, wouldn't the sand just hold the 0.20ppm copper? From what I understand in your reply is that the sand still has a tendency to leach an arbitrary concentration of copper into the water, making the concentration higher. This really is not a concern for chelated copper (as the concentration is more forgiving), but probably a concern for ionic copper.
With establishing ionic gradients there is a back and forth that occurs. If the substrate averages .2 ppm copper, it will have times when the saturation is higher and other times lower. Temperate and pH will also affect this.
 

mjreefs

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With establishing ionic gradients there is a back and forth that occurs. If the substrate averages .2 ppm copper, it will have times when the saturation is higher and other times lower. Temperate and pH will also affect this.
Alright, I honestly don’t understand what ionic gradient is, but I think I get the point that the 0.2 is an average and it can fluctuate withih the day. But, with that being said isn’t the “error” also worth mentioning as well? This is especially helpful for those with ionic copper, because if the fluctuation rate is at 0.05 (which means that your concentration could drop to 0.45), doesn’t that mean that it has a chance to fall below the therapeutic level and therefore restarting your daily counter of copper?
 

Halal Hotdog

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Alright, I honestly don’t understand what ionic gradient is, but I think I get the point that the 0.2 is an average and it can fluctuate withih the day. But, with that being said isn’t the “error” also worth mentioning as well? This is especially helpful for those with ionic copper, because if the fluctuation rate is at 0.05 (which means that your concentration could drop to 0.45), doesn’t that mean that it has a chance to fall below the therapeutic level and therefore restarting your daily counter of copper?
So it is not really an error. Basically the absorption of copper into the substrate will vary from time to time. There are a couple of conditions to take into account. One is the concentration of copper in the water versus the concentration absorbed in the sand. If you are actively treating with copper, then the concentration in the water will always be higher. The second thing to look at is the affinity of the substrate to absorb and hold the copper. This can vary based on a few different variables, some being temperature and pH. So this is NOT a situation where you have a permeable membrane with the same solution on either side, which will reach an equilibrium of one side being identical to the other.

Now if you can keep all variables/parameters controlled and constant, then you can predictably determine the amount of copper the substrate will absorb and hold.

There is a little more to it than that, but I hope this helps explain the idea of why the amount of copper in the substrate will vary from time to time.
 
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