Official Sand Rinse and Tank Transfer thread

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brandon429

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Stop putting a handful of old sand on top of your new sand. Do you take half a quart of old oil and add it back to your $55 in new oil + filter for your car?


That mode kills one to five percent of all tank transfer jobs.


hidden risks from bacterial compounds and various states of decay are best kept out of the topwater


In this work thread we will use a million+ dollars of other people’s reef tank time and money on the line to reinforce solid tank transfer and sand rinse biology. Patterns in the pages will shatter old rules and replace them with new ones, because what filtration surface area does tank to tank is the same, it doesn’t vary. We already know how tank transfers will go down before they’re ran.

These two posts are strong examples of large tanks running rip cleans, the job is easy for nano reefs but even large tankers can show us before and after benefits of true tank surgery.

Cook’s job completed in 24 hours no algae left, totally clean sand, huge reef tank. Best rip clean in 2021 so far



apply solid microbiology with us to ensure your tank move or upgrade works flawlessly per the following pages... The pods and worms you want come back down from the live rock moved over, there are pics and several detailed reports of this here in our collected works.


your live rock and collective tank imports brought the pods, and it’ll happen again, over and over

adding a handful of old sand to the new system is bad risk, not good benefit.

Everyone here who owns a car could be swapping out one quart of new engine oil for old, but 100% do not for a good reason.



Intro to sand in the reef aquarium

This is aquarium cycling science 4401

after studying this thread you will never doubt your reef filtration bacteria again, and you will feel more confident in taking decisive action with your reef tank. You will not have to re purchase bottle bacteria to get jobs done, you'll know where bacteria will be and where they won't be.



we need your work examples/pics/outcome videos to keep up pacing~



when you need to transfer a tank, upgrade, downgrade, move homes, move states, take a reef apart and mail it while keeping things alive, or beat an invasion of cyanobacteria by cleaning out the filthy sandbed feeding it, this is the thread.

it doesnt matter if you have a new tank or an old tank, clean is clean and only good comes from it, not harm.

$ are on the line in every work that follows, patterns are evident on how we get from A to Z without asking for ammonia readings or tank losses.



For living systems that need transferred, or a new sandbed, or to be combined or upgraded, consider these work threads below in prep for your upcoming task

One of our friends here at RtR had a rough tank relocation move/emergency relocation. The reason for our thread is to help with these, and ensure safety of the entire system.
here's some in-tank sandbed work nearly killing the fish, soon after disturbance:
Dr. Tim here writes that over his years of experience he’s had several reports of sandbed disturbance killing the system.

a nano wiped out by disturbing the bed, inside the tank

We have designed an ordering of waste removal that prevents system crashes. This thread is exclusively that practice, applied to tank moves/upgrades/sandbed removals and swaps, and cyano/dino battles.

notice in each work thread example, we do the same set of moves:

-carefully disassemble the reef without stirring up bed

-hold rocks and corals in one container, fish in another w inverts, and take the tank apart with the muddy sand and rinse it to 1000% perfection using cool tap water. final rinse on sand is RO, to evacuate the tap. now the sand is perfect

not 99% cloud free, 1000%



-swish rocks around in -saltwater- (we do care about live rock bacteria and that's all we need to run a reef) to jet out their waste. do not move muddy live rocks from a holding container into your cloudless reassembled reef. swish them free of attached detritus.

-Don’t use GFO and Chemi pure and waste adsorbents in the new cleaned system, they’ll be over stripping. Wait weeks or months as needed before adding back adsorbent cheats.

assemble the new tank with new water, the rinsed sand and the cloudless rocks, this is a skip cycle arrangement for the next 40+ pages because it is a cloudless setup.

The secret up front is that you never needed bacteria beyond what the live rock offers; that's more than enough. we ripped and flipped and rinsed your sandbed just as easily as we could have omitted it and went bare bottom- you dont need bacteria beyond your live rocks, its why bare-bottom tanks don't die.


we deep clean in ways you thought weren't allowed (which is the safest way)

we increase reef tank lifespans the better we clean, its not harmful or destructive in any way. As soon as better ways evolve, we'll have more than one sandbed thread to consider.

if we don’t pre-rinse: typical animal behaviors can cause ongoing headaches



If you are about to do sand work in your tank, it's worth an hour's read to see the examples here before you begin- outstanding patterns and details we customize for each tank can save your tank from loss, and there's likely a comparative tank already in as many pages anyway showing the complete job start to finish. Details. Like never holding your fish with live rock as you work, or not putting on full production lighting after the rework (ramp back of low level lighting to avoid bleaching ) are how we get so many jobs done without loss.



The true cause of the mini cycle is upwelling of waste and not lack of bacteria

Detritus is the most dangerous solid compound in your reef as it compiles and sits below oxygenated zones in the tank, packed into sand. piled in oxygenated zones, a sump, its not particularly harmful. live rock and sand can create zones of low to no oxygen we’ve read- the mix of detritus in various states of decay is dangerous to a reef tank in this state, it’s why our thread exists. Nobody would consider rinsing their whole reef out if things worked well using older methods.


we can predict ahead of time how a tank move or cleaning will go, watch our pages unfold. Reef tank surgery is serious business, life on the line, money on the line.

a certain order of operations makes reef tank surgery / prep for moves and changes very reliable.


Details like never remove your sandbed while water is in the tank, avoiding clouding mixed with fish and corals really matter for consistent success in sandbed work.


Stop concerning over lack of bacteria you'll never cause the condition even with total sandbed removal, begin focusing on where clouding waste will surprise you, and head that off during planning.





this whole thread is a brainstorm of ways we take apart your reef so we can wash out that filthy sandbed without exposing your animals to its risk. if we set live rocks and fish right back on top of clean sand, then predictably it all fills with waste again. This isn't a one time fix, its your new care regimen for designing a waste-storage system.

your other option was to start over with new items after total invasion...we never do that here. no wasting allowed.


You become the grazer in this thread. we dont sit idly while a reef is overtaken, we take back ground using repeatable means.





be ready for unanticipated challenges: People forgot to have their new water heated during the transfer, and had to wait a long time for the new water to get ready.

not all jobs require you to insert heating probes into cold makeup water and wait overnite for temps to come up, before adding to the cleaned display tank. Some jobs allow for quick heating: five gallon containers of water, sitting for 4 minutes in a bathtub of hot water halfway filled. It will bring the coldest prep water up to 78 in about 4 or so minutes.
a kitchen sink or bathtub of hot water can bring up holding water containers fast, when needed.




Work Examples to begin the patterning

These rip cleans below are the among the most thorough applications of sand rinse biology. we work nano reefs with ease; but this is a double tank move at over 120 gallons, surgical precision, big tanks can be rip cleaned, see the life he preserved: Jon Malkerson


hand-guiding a reef back into compliance below see how Tim caused a reversal of course for his reef. removal of gha + sandbed first time rinse:


Thespammailaccount's highly diverse reef system above, NPS corals + harlequin shrimp + pipefish and all top shelf corals, replace total sandbed skip cycle

You may be wondering about removing your sand in sections to avoid a cycle, sand and rock microbiology doesn’t work that way. Remove it all at once if you have live rock in the system, it’s less chance of recycle because you are getting rid of the rot and waste before it can be kicked up. You will see in this thread for years that bacteria are never our concern; it’s leftover detritus that causes mini cycles and loss, getting it out in one fell swoop is safest and your live rocks are always enough to handle the exact bioload that rocks + sand used to handle. Here’s an example Tuan’s reef shows us



This is an example of what occurs if we risk disturbing waste while it’s inside the sand. we can prevent this condition in every case by managing detritus





Starting out a new tank with perfectly rinsed Caribsea sand

here's how long it takes to pre rinse effectively:

Pre rinse your new caribsea live sand before use, to remove silt vs flocculate it later into your system. No it doesn't sterilize it, or kill the bacteria, they're stuck to sand grains and rinsing doesn't remove bacteria or household cleaners wouldn't be necessary.

Tap rinsing allows you to take time so that it’s truly cloudless. It doesn’t sterilize your sand it’s not enough dwell time.

two days still cloudy
Pre rinse your new caribsea live sand because:
‘took months to clear’
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/so-i-didnt-rinse.592624/
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/sandbed-stirred-up.544852/#post-5723606

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/very-cloudy-water-after-sand-and-rock.559386/#post-5735864
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/question-about-vacuuming-sand-bed.616059/ https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/new-tank-milky-cloudy.616519/

10 days, still won't settle and clouds fully
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/cloudy-tank.576835/

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/bummer-could-use-some-help.558301/



Look at your sand, grab a handful. Bring it up to your eyes and observe it for wiggling movement. Did your wet pack ocean direct sand with the little flocculant packet come with worms, moving crabs and pods, the components of live sand? If not, then rinse it before use. If you bought real live sand, real live sand from TBS with animals in it, then don't rinse it and post pics so we can see the first example on the board.

Not rinsing your caribsea sand brings it's first cloud into your reef, the #1 action we're against here. Thankfully this cloud isn't compounded waste detritus, that's for aging tanks. This initial cloud is silicate powder, which early diatom invasions love but won't cause a cycle- and you're breaking the rules on first go :)

design cloudless reefs and you will always skip your move cycle.




******This is a thread where the aquarist moved tanks, swapped out the entire sandbed all at once with no rampdown, and changed up rocks in the new tank and did not cycle at all/ Seneye Ammonia reading shows skip cycle biology here:
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/tank-swap-how-long-until-things-stabilize.620888/

that link above shows how removing sand doesnt make live rock take on more bacteria, we dont give time for that to occur. live rocks are enough bacteria, and surface area, on their own in EVERY reef tank.



What's so bad about sand, in the tanks where things aren't going well?

It never was actual calcium carbonate sand grains that caused this shift in the hobby... clean sand grains didn’t cause the countless tanks we lost to 'mini cycles' at times where a bed disturbance or unpredicted rock slides upwelled enough rot to actually cause loss (and be visual in the tank as a mud cloud)

It was detritus, in between the grains and adhered to them


Mulm, muck, detritus, term it how you will but detritus is the collective waste of fecal pellets, uneaten feed, dead animals in partial states of decay, spent chitin molts + plant matter and cellulose material + live nonfiltation bacteria producing waste acids and gasses as they digest components of detritus into minerals

we dont just get fish waste converted into minerals as easy as we were once told, acidic byproducts are formed along the way and preventing protein rot internally has benefits we will demonstrate


a cleaner bed is safe but hard work at times, a perfectly balanced hands-off bed full of worms and life and healthy pigmentation and pods is very hard to attain but the ideal... you might be reading today after having tried the traditional approach and disliking it. If I knew how to make reef sandbeds run in the traditional way I myself wouldnt be a rip-cleaner.

if someone can make and sustain such a sandbed, then don't rinse it you've got an awesome sandbed.

If you are fed up with sandbed misbehavior, lets get to work.
 
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I did not use "live" sand and won't choose to ever with future tanks (if you can even find regular dry aragonite any more). It's just not necessary. I would choose to seed the tank with some live rock (or start with all live rock if I can afford it) and use "dead" sand. I have brittle stars, pods (at least before my wrasse got to them), bristle worms and all sorts of beneficial critters that I got with macroalgae or live rock.

If I were using live sand I don't think I would rinse it at all, especially not with tap or even RO/DI water. Not sure how much life would survive that.

Do those that use live sand actually see any of the larger critters like worms and brittle stars in the sand? I never thought about those types of life forms being able to survive the process of packaging and shipping the sand.
 
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brandon429

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OK Brandon , I'm starting a new tank today and would like you to give me your rundown on the rinsing procedure. I'll crack open a brand new bag of sand and follow this to the letter because you piqued my interest. I've never rinsed before and have seen issues with the silt.
 
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brandon429

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I have skimmed milk my own tank too back in the day. after cussing and changing water over and over I had to rinse thereafter, preemptively.
 
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brandon429

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Reefrookie howdy

the tap water is what I used and it makes for good positioning here but really its much less controversy to just rinse in your clean salt water. I literally did this: put the new sand (which for me was ocean direct semi wet, plenty silty, comes with flocculant for silt) into containers and blast clean them with blasting water, then rinse in saltwater, then put in tank. I insulted nobody other than the silt and nine people online :)
if you used saltwater that's even less insult to the bacteria on the grains, but my point was I didn't need them anyway. I bought the sand cuz I like the look and grain size, whether it was wet or dry didn't matter. no clouding mattered!

can you show us a pic of what your sand looks like when you first fill it up, the cloudy version>

then a post pic of a really rinsed portion, cloudless. enjoy your tank being like that forever. now when you assess it, silt wont be there, only the waste.

my sandbed which had been switched out in my very old tank is now about 6 mos old. I can reach into it with a stick, stir it around, and grains fall up and back down, zero clouding.

Contrast that to 98% of sandbeds active right now, you stir that milk with a stick, you wipe the tank. a monster under the rug.

lets pre-rinse at least ~
 
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erk

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I don't use live sand. I just get dry sand and rinse it out. Then I get a bottle of bacteria and dose that into the tank. Either the generic tank cycle stuff or Micro Bacter 7. Thanks for starting this thread. Now I know why everyone's tanks start out looking all milky. I thought they were rinsing, but I guess they are using live sand, so they don't rinse.

How do people rinse their sand? I usually dump the sand in a 5 gal bucket and use a water hose to just spray and move the sand around. I question my method because I'm afraid I'm grinding the particles and making more silt.
 
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brandon429

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and they were told rinsing would have a neg consequence.

Many bare bottom keepers aren't there for the look, they're there for the clean access to detritus and not storing waste in the tank and its clear why large tanks consider that move.
but I needed the look of sand without having the tank loss/headache it can cause, so we broke some rules again to attain an ends, we just rinse instead of hands off. some worms might have died in this process, and that was ok since detritus took precedence. the worms reseed back into the sand, from the rocks, am awr of the articles claiming otherwise...they do.

**not advising tearing halfway into an old sandbed packed with waste, a big cleaning has a certain order and none of it is partial. the initial part of the thread is about how to start the bed, rinsed.



as of today everyone is advised not to rinse... and I think its factoring into the fact that sandbed look and outcomes haven't changed since we watched them come about in 90s and remain unchanged in practice through today, is fun to question that stagnation of practice. maybe we should shake it up and be deliberate and allow no rot.



the grains are tougher than that, they wont grind down on initial rinse

I do what you said above to my -living- tank not just a new one.

not saying everyone should do what I do to my bed, but am inviting everyone to consider applying the method to problem tanks, or as a preventative.
using mb7 is neutral, harmless to try for the various reasons its bought. if someone wants to boost some bac, boost it, or not they are going to find a balance as a community regardless.
 
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brandon429

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Paul B's 45 yr old reef takes direct decisive action against detritus, deep thorough cleanings in fact when he does clean I read on his descriptions... I found that interesting such an old reef really was exporting although the work is lessened by his interim algae scrubber filter as well... the point is, the oldest tanks in the genre of nano reefs up to large full sized home reefs are acting decisively against sandbed detritus.

Paul's sandbed is reverse undergravel flow, how much more detritus rejecting can one get? That pumps waste out...into the water, not down sinked in the bed.

its not about the rinse, its about the detritus. if you don't want to rinse, deal another way, but not dealing means you will eventually rinse or start over.

its not about the bacteria, its about the silt=heart of the matter.

on old tank syndrome:
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/5/aafeature2
 
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Just filled it with fresh redsea coral pro water after rinsing with the above mentioned method.

Alot of crap was in a fresh bag of nature's ocean Aussie gold Reef sand!


The dark bits are pieces of shell that I find really cool, you can't tell from My phone pic but its got a nice orangy tint.

This has been filled for 7 minutes, and dosed with bottle bacteria.

IMG_20160114_190535.jpg
 
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Started without silt, nice





if you are able to keep detritus input from outpacing output or if you are able to uptake detritus breakdown in tank, before it causes problems, then you can rinse less on your sandbed.

Here's a nano friend doing instant full bed swap, skip cycle reset
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/substrate-change.329063/#post-4113962


Many sandbed keepers are using partial stirring/siphon during each cleaning to stay ahead of input, excellent. our details here are more aimed at the times we need to full access for one reason or another, and how to avoid a tank cycle or unintended loss when accessing a brand new or aged sandbed.
The recycle is avoided by not having detritus stored in the tank, however that's attained. Where the detritus/organics go, goes the cycle and the ammonia or sulfide event. Don't house it. My sandbed never ages.
IMG_20160114_200356589.jpg
 
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RR how did it come along this last week? Clean perhaps :)

Anyone have a persistent sand bed problem? RTR has been busy lately in sand access threads. Moving, upgrades, fixing eutrophication, avoiding sandbed and rock cleaning altogether and posting problem tank pics, all very fun biology. Danger biology, with people's tanks on the line in fact.


http://www.nano-reef.com/topic/376428-cyano-is-kicking-my-butt-no-longer/page-3

look at page 3, how sandbed control stopped his persistent cyano issue (exports the mass and addresses the pent up waste)
 
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so rinsing will not remove the bac on the sand's surface area just like aiming a powerhead or dusting detritus off a cycled rock doesn't remove the bac from said rock? If one were to use simple logic (i know) then rinsing is a safe strategy to remove excessive dust particles that have potential to cloud your tank and cause other issues in the future. I'm doing it!
 
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Ha! I've never thought about the tie in to flow within the tank, nice one ~ it's true, somehow they manage to hang onto the rocks and not get cast off fully into the water :)

I should have taken before shots of my sandbed this weekend... had been lazy and let it build up some cyano and detritus due to excellent tank feedings

×××what if I'd chose to start dosing my water with something due to the cyano, or upped the flow after it was already good enough, a cyano goose chase might have started. I opted to blast it out, along with all feed for it, dose nothing, gain instant compliance to me that is reef control. Just because a given tank is running well with fully loaded sandbed doesn't mean it always will, consider cleaning cruddy sandbeds as needed. I'm using my own tiny reef as an example, there is no dilution in this thing- it will die if any of this science is wrong. It would have died in 2006 if this science is wrong that's a lot of blast cleanings.


the cleaning run was Lubbock tap water as mentioned in first post. I parted out my whole mini reef on dinner plates to wait for cleaning, leaving only sand and water, then tap rinsed it free of detritus.

After zero detritus existed (since initial rinse yr ago removed silt, all clouding onward is waste) I rinsed the bed with saltwater really well, evacuating the tap water, and put it all back together mega clean


No cycle, no tank stress, no waste, indefinite biological lifespan.



Waste detritus is always the recycle risk, not loss of bacteria from rinsing.



Not everyone agrees that rinsing a matured sand bed is the right way to go. I wanted to show a repeatable access method that prevents a recycle in case someone has to, for example an upcoming move or perhaps someone wants to reverse-age their tank... this is how we do it. You can rinse in clean saltwater too, I used tap and then a sw rinse since I didn't have much saltwater handy.
 
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brandon429

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I could have got longer than three months between these blast rinses but am specially feeding my tank 3x normal to regenerate some stressed sps I bought from store. This got the top 1/3 of the bed dirtier much faster than normal. It will still reseed with worms and pods from the live rock in a few mos just like last time


***when rinsing sands with tap water, have a follow-up saltwater rinse to remove the chlorine***
 
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john.m.cole3

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@brandon429 what are you feeding your pico? and does detritus accumulate if no fish are present? Wait... do you keep fish? Is detritus a term that ONLY means fish waste, or does it also represent unused foods?

Also, how would one rinse in SW? Old tank water? Tap exclusive to rinse solely not ok? You mean our bac on substrate/rock/surfaces can't hang if done using only tap?

I'm not challenging your info here, just need to know the severity and consequences of aforementioned actions. Plus have you had a burger from Gators Bayou yet? The jalapeno bun is insane! Maybe it's the silicone fumes or slight amounts of epoxy residue that are driving my inquisitive nature tonight. Tomorrow is sand rinsing day... with garden hose water... and I need to know if I need to do something else after sand is cloud free. Thanks friend!
 
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Your whole investment and biosystem is on the line, good to clarify before beginning agreed.

By rinsing in saltwater I had just the regular blue water jugs ready to go

Detritus is that feed, resulting animal waste, chitin shell forms from invert molts, plant cellulose, all forms of sold waste. A wonderful example of the perpetual nature of detritus for us is that live rock from the store is a true living system, it literally exudes waste from its pores and wherever else a respiring animal resides on it. That's in addition to what we store, add as feed, add as extra animals, then fish waste, all compounding. If you set rinsed clean purple live rock in a bare glass tank with heater, power head you get detritus within a few days from inside the rock, exuded out.

I feed my pico heavily, roti feast and cyclopeeze for me. No fish agreed, too small of a system. Corals must be fed, the nutrients they make from light via symbionts is not enough to live they must feed and they have a trophic classification to reflect that

My intention on mentioning my tap rinse isn't that tap is preferable to clean saltwater, sometimes it's more practical. rinsing in tap then rinsing in saltwater still leaves bacteria on the grains, doesn't sterilize.

Rinsing in all saltwater uses lots of extra saltwater so I conserve it just as a final rinse. When you rinse to remove debris and detritus some good goes out as well, but they come back over time and it's a risk to transport waste in a sandbed. Many forego the rinse and buy new bags of sand, start clean upon transfer is same end less work than rinsing.

In the last several tank move threads here are the problems summarized, for your avoidance:

One poster had mini cycle in new setup because live rocks were plugged with detritus and after cleaning a lot came out in the transfer containers the rock was sitting in and began to rot. Not a common scenario but his live rock was recovering from a long time of cleaning needs. Make your system free of this waste before moving if applicable. Moving waste causes the recycle in the new tank

Another poster failed to completely rinse and transported either dead worms or partial detritus or both, rinse x 200. Upon re setup, the partially rinsed sandbed can leak ammonia or nitrites

Another poster rinsed in tap and failed to rinse it back out, and set up their new reef over a bed of wet clean sand and tap water, coral stress followed

don't move dirty anything. Transport rock in multiple holding buckets not with fish in them, fish get their own buckets.

Make the new tank pristinely clean first install, move no waste. Starting with fresh sand should be highly considered. As hard as it is to believe this is fact: tank transfers go bad due to overlooked waste or animal death as a cycle cause, never ever loss of bacteria.

That means if you move no waste, even if you start with freshly rinsed new live sand, you still have enough bacteria even though the system was made pristinely clean during the transfer and not gradually after. Be positive that new tank has no copper or cross contamination potential you mentioned that as a concern recently.

I haven't been there to Gators I'm such a pattern person I keep eating at ohana for twelve years pretty much go scallops and hibachi. My kiddo was raised there really heh
 
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Ok, so I met w/ Jason, owner from Salt N More, and we talked about previously mentioned circumstances of copper worries and such. He recommended no old rock transfer, rinse live sand, and use bacteria supplement 24 hours prior to transferring all fish and corals. He claimed to have done that procedure exactly on a new tank and has had no fish loss (he transferred 12 fish). He's the first to confirm a live sand rinse but disagrees w/ rock transfer secondary to potential risks. Thoughts...?
 
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Need clarity on the live rock xfer part

if you don't transfer old live rock does that mean you would start off with new live rocks at your house? Those w have to be transferred from the store :)

Perhaps the goal is ultimate safety, by moving zero old rocks stored with waste and using new cured live rock from the store? As long as the old rock isn't wasted but recured I guess you can but that also speaks to a redesign for the new tank because lr has an indefinite lifespan when cared for correctly. Shouldn't be finite like that

I like his store I have some good quality frags from him we are lucky to have two really good stores close to us for resources.

Regarding the nuances of the move to me those aren't impactful as a loss risk but moving detritus is impactful. In the cycle thread we covered adding bottle bac for various reasons, whether it's required isn't the same as it not being harmful to add whenever you want. We are adding bacteria to our systems as contamination with everything we add, every action we take. Putting some in aqueous form from a bottle is more of the same. If someone wants to use it as bac buildup insurance that's just fine and fair pre planning. The reason I hadn't mentioned it is because I do to my mini model every several mos what you are contemplating doing this is a normal Tuesday for some 16 yr old corals I have heh.

Can you post pic of what you will be moving
 
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