Sand Beds & Digging Fish

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JGK17

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I know some reefers believe only in bare bottom tanks and that deep sand beds can retain nutrients that can eventually become toxic to the tank in the long run. However, my question is does having fish that dig in the “help” keep your sand bed clean and from retaining too much nutrients and becoming toxic in the long run? I ask because I was planning on only having a 1”-1.25” sand bed in my new tank (Red Sea Reefer 250) but I want a yellow wrasse that requires a sand bed of 2”-3” bc they sleep and hide in the sand. Let me know your thoughts and personal experiencesCan I get away with a ~1.5” sand bed and have a yellow wrasse?

Thanks in advance!
 
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dedragon

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I only run between 1/4 to 3/4 inch sand bed in my tank and my leopard wrasse has been fine for well over a year now. Probably not the best example but ime you dont need as deep of a sandbed as some places recommend. 1-1.5 inch was originally the goal but this was a tank transfer and the extra sand being added to the tank was causing more harm than good to the inhabitants
 

MaxTremors

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Personally, I think you could get away with 1.5” and the wrasse would be perfectly happy. Alternatively, I think you could do 2-3” and so long as you had the wrasse, some sort of jawfish or other sand sifting fish (or a few depending on tank size), a fighting conch or two (or however many depending on tank size), and a good few nassarius snails, and you manually stirred/vacuumed any parts getting missed, a 2-3” sandbed would never become an issue. I don’t know when people started calling 2-3” sandbed a DSB, but IMO, a DSB is 4+”. Again, so long as you keep the sand sifted/clean, detritus won’t build up, you won’t get pockets of methane, and your sand sifting fish and inverts will be happy. Plus a 2-3” sand bed is very productive in terms of microfauna should you want to get a mandarin or anything else that eats pods/worms/microfauna. One piece of advice, if you do go with a 2-3” sandbed, don’t get sand sifting starfish, they will end up starving (there’s just not enough food in a 2-3” in a hobbyist size tank to keep them alive (maybe if your tank is 200+ gallons, but in a tank that size I wouldn’t do 2-3” just because it can be difficult to ensure the sand is being sifted/moved. Instead go with conchs, they stir up and clean the sand just as well, and you can feed them nori should they run out of food to eat.
 

BostonReefer300

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A yellow coris isn't going to do much in terms of agitating your sand. Those guys dive bomb in at night and don't move until morning when they jet out. A 1.5" bed should work fine particularly if you pile some sand in a few spots to make small areas that are 2" deep.
In my tank, my two diamond watchmen gobies and three fighting conchs keep my sand bed looking totally pristine. I've got other cleanup crew snails doing work on the sand bed too, but it's really the gobies and conchs that do the heavy lifting
 
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