Sandbeds: Why do we like them?

BRS

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As the title says, why do we like sand beds so much? Well, here’s just a few reasons I like having a sandbed.

It opens up to many more fish options. If I didn’t have a sandbed then some of my favourite genera would be out of reach. I love my Halichoeres and Macropharyngodon wrasses but they unfortunately need a sand bed to have as a secure hiding spot. Now, obviously this can be worked around with a tub of sand in the back of the tank. Which leads me onto my next reason why I love having a sandbed.

They add so much more to your bioactive life. I have found baby amphipods, snails and worms of various species in my sand beds. And that’s just some of the life I’ve seen hiding in there. There’s algae and bacteria that blooms in sandbeds. This is just some of the life in my 4’ tank’s sandbed.
7DB5868F-FFD8-4E9F-9A3A-7A46AC872562.jpeg


My third reason is… It adds a lot more to the tank in terms of natural looks. And if you have sand of various levels of coarseness then it just adds so much more to a tank.
Again, this is my 4’ tank’s sandbed. I have swapped the sand 3 times in total (Each time went finer) and each time it’s added more to the looks of my tank.
3C0C470B-3200-4241-8B74-0BB44384A68C.jpeg

0925F6D8-6EB4-46B7-91E7-17E4ED13FB89.jpeg


And my final reason I love having a sand bed is… Clams! Now, obviously there are rock-boring clams such as Tridacna maxima, Tridacna crocea and Hippopus hippopus. But in reality, there are clams out there that use the sandbed more than they do rocks. And one clam that does this is Tridacna deresa which is a clam I personally love along with Tridacna squamosa.
image.jpg


So, you’ve heard my opinions on having a sandbed and why I love them so much. I want to hear your opinions, and if you have a bare-bottom tank, do you ever wish you went back to sandbed?
 
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Subsea

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Without a doubt, a mature biodiverse sandbed adds stability to a reef tank. I use sandbed to feed diverse filter feeders like flame scallops & sea apples. I often stir top inch of substrate putting detritus in suspension with sea apple feeding aggressively.
 
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For me sand is necessary for the tank to look natural. A bare bottom tank is just too stark and boring for me. Sure it makes things easier for maintaining low nutrient tank - ideal for coral grow out tank For my DT I prefer the natural look and all the snails/starfish/wrasses that populate the sandbed.
 

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I just like the look. It's more of a pain to to keep clean. My flow is heavy in a sps dominate tank but sand is blown away in one spot on the back but there's not any sand storm or anything. I built my aquascape to have high flow from the lower middle up. BB in my frag tank and cleaning is much easier. So for me, in the display it's for looks and wrasses. Even if I had no wrasses I would still have sand in the DT.
 
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I’ve always had sand and always will. Looks more natural and less sterile. I think it helps with biodiversity. As for keeping it clean my sand sifting goby, tiger conch and nassarius snails do the job for me.
 
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cmor1701d

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I like the natural look of a sand bed. That goes along with a reef aquascape that looks natural vs. nsa or hsna.
Plenty of active bacteria, tons of biodiversity, and snails and some fish need/love it and stir it.
Once established a sandstorm only lasts a few minutes before settling down should a powerhead fall or get pointed down.
 

Homey D. Clownfish

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I like the natural look of a sand bed. That goes along with a reef aquascape that looks natural vs. nsa or hsna.
Plenty of active bacteria, tons of biodiversity, and snails and some fish need/love it and stir it.
Once established a sandstorm only lasts a few minutes before settling down should a powerhead fall or get pointed down.
I completely agree. Keep it as natural as possible. Looks good with quality live rock, too!
 

EakTheFreak

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4 foot sand bed!! How big is your tank!!?

I think sand it purely Aesthetic. I have it for the appearance and agree it’s nice for my two leopard wrasses.

It does however lower PH and can also be a ticking time bomb if you don’t keep it clean. Can raise phosphates and nitrates.

With all that being said, I’m still Pro Sand haha!!
 

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My favorite normal fish are wrasses but my niche here is burrowing eels so I can't not have sand haha. Also love nassarius snails and other inverts that need sand!

On top of that that it is also useful for stability. First it increases area for bacteria and pods to grow. Secondly it is made up of mostly calcium carbonate which breaks down to add alkalinity to the tanks increasing pH if anything.
 

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radiata

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I totally agree with the increased bio-diversity advantages of sand beds that have been posted above. And I didn't know that sand beds were helpful for the husbandry of some Tridacna Clams, so thank you on that one!

Thinking about it, did The Creator actually set up any reefs without sand beds? Hmmm, I have no idea...

With regard to the sand bed in my 180G, I just let it be...

I occasionally add more sand to it if the volume looks depleted. I've never vacuumed my sand bed. I let the wrasses stir it up. My few nassarius snails manage to keep the mix going. See the last paragraph here to see what else I use to keep the mix going...

With regard to the fauna that "sift sand", many just happen to be eating the small critters in the sand bed that you should actually be encouraging to reproduce there in the first place!

And so, with regard to "Engineer gobis never had a tank without them" --- forty-odd years ago I had a pair of those same gobies. They were in a 90G tank that had a sand "Under-Gravel" filter that I had managed to experimentally developed at the time. I took a nice Blue Carpet anemone from a friend who gave it up because he couldn't copper his tank with the carpet in it. The carpet dug itself into the 90G bed, but after 2 or 3 days found itself being covered with sand. The Gobies took a real dislike to it and tried to kill it by burying it with the substrate. I don't think I've kept any gobies, sand sifting or otherwise, since...

MY CLEANER OF CHOICE...

My Sand Bed cleaner of choice is the "Sand Dollar". I've had one in my 180G since before July 2017 (which is when I finally started keeping my specimen purchase logs). My Sand Dollar makes daily transits across and then transits back across the front of the DSB in my tank. It seems to keep my sand bed detritus low, and seems to keep invasive stuff like cyano away.

WHERE TO GET YOUR SAND DOLLARS?

I bought the above Sand Dollar from a sw-only LFS in Eastern Pennsylvania (where I've shopped for 25+ years). I won't mention who they are due to a disagreement I had with them over the origin of a Velvet infestation that suddenly appeared in my tank. (But that's another post.) I've vowed to never return there unless my Sand Dollar passes into the great reef in the sky, and I need a replacement for it. They are the only local place I know of that I can get a living sand dollar.

There is an internet mail order source for 'small 5" sand dollars' that you could try. They're located in Okeechobee, Fl. They're currently pleading that they've had availability and delivery problems caused by our latest hurricane in Florida. They probably have... But they do have a wide offering of marine flora & fauna. They've currently offering "Baby Sand Dollars" for $12 each. Their "Large Sand Dollars" are $12, but are "sold out".

That said, I've been waiting their offer for the "Live Isopods" (@$35) that they've been offering for a few years now. In those few years, they have yet to sell a single one. Their claims are impressive: "https://www.aquaculturenurseryfarms.com/live-saltwater-fish-food/live-isopods/". Sounds great, and just what I'd like to get. But if they reproduce easily, why don't they have any for sale for the past 2 or even 3 years?

Happy Hunting!
 

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I have a sandbed for a natural looking reef and homes for the fish (wrasse) and snails etc, I've never really been interested in a BB tank, which would look more like a LFS tank and not a display tank in my mind.
 
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As the title says, why do we like sand beds so much? Well, here’s just a few reasons I like having a sandbed.

It opens up to many more fish options. If I didn’t have a sandbed then some of my favourite genera would be out of reach. I love my Halichoeres and Macropharyngodon wrasses but they unfortunately need a sand bed to have as a secure hiding spot. Now, obviously this can be worked around with a tub of sand in the back of the tank. Which leads me onto my next reason why I love having a sandbed.

They add so much more to your bioactive life. I have found baby amphipods, snails and worms of various species in my sand beds. And that’s just some of the life I’ve seen hiding in there. There’s algae and bacteria that blooms in sandbeds. This is just some of the life in my 4’ tank’s sandbed.
7DB5868F-FFD8-4E9F-9A3A-7A46AC872562.jpeg


My third reason is… It adds a lot more to the tank in terms of natural looks. And if you have sand of various levels of coarseness then it just adds so much more to a tank.
Again, this is my 4’ tank’s sandbed. I have swapped the sand 3 times in total (Each time went finer) and each time it’s added more to the looks of my tank.
3C0C470B-3200-4241-8B74-0BB44384A68C.jpeg

0925F6D8-6EB4-46B7-91E7-17E4ED13FB89.jpeg


And my final reason I love having a sand bed is… Clams! Now, obviously there are rock-boring clams such as Tridacna maxima, Tridacna crocea and Hippopus hippopus. But in reality, there are clams out there that use the sandbed more than they do rocks. And one clam that does this is Tridacna deresa which is a clam I personally love along with Tridacna squamosa.
image.jpg


So, you’ve heard my opinions on having a sandbed and why I love them so much. I want to hear your opinions, and if you have a bare-bottom tank, do you ever wish you went back to sandbed?
I too have sand beds in all three of my saltwater tanks and all three have different biodiversities and that's what makes them different. my aggressive tank sand bed is always clear as they don't leave anything behind, lol. my other tank fowlr is totally different , and my reef tank forgetaboutit.... my snails and bristle stars and conch snails are amazing as are the nassarius snails as they come out during feedings.
 
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