Substrate or bare bottom

Justin Williams

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Hi to all
I am new to the saltwater aquarium hobby I am going with a 40 gallon breeder and currently making decisions on what I whant as far as equipment.
My question is should I start with a substrate or bare bottom.
Is one easier to keep stable over time then the other or dose it just take longer for the bare bottom to be stable then both are equal in ease of stability.
 

Crabby48

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Newer myself but how I see it is sand may help in the first several months but bare bottom is easier in the long run. Sand will need cleaning and stirring for the long haul. I recommend weekly or more depending on waste build up. Sand snails will help stir also. With bare bottom you can keep flow down low so waste won’t gather as easily and you can see waste build up to know when it needs to be removed
 

Grape_City_Reefer

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Welcome aboard Justin, my wife and I have a 40 gal breeder. We chose to do sand bed, no reason in particular. I am glad we made that choice though we have sand snails that help keep the detritus at bay and they are very entertaining to watch.

I also think it helps to some degree with the biological filtration, I know some will not agree with that statement/theory.

We just tore our tank down completely over last weekend dumped the sand to make moving easier, once we set it up we did 80lbs of dry aragonite fuji pink. this gave as +3" approx. of coverage.

Hope this helps.
 
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flsalty

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Stability isn't really a factor between a shallow sandbed and bare bottom. Both can be cleaned easily. Obviously, sand will give you more surface area than bare, but shouldn't be a factor if you have enough surface area with your rocks.

It really boils down to what you prefer looking at. I don't like bare because it ends up looking dirty quickly. For me that equates to higher maintenance to keep it clean. Sand hides that better, plus sand looks more natural to me.
 

don_chuwish

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If bare bottom then be sure to put on plenty of sunscreen.... oh wait... not that I'd know or anything.
What I mean to say is, if bare bottom be sure to have extra bio media in the sump. Live rock rubble, Brightwell X-Port BIO, Marinepure, Pond Matrix, etc. Many choices.
 

Paulie069

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Hi to all
I am new to the saltwater aquarium hobby I am going with a 40 gallon breeder and currently making decisions on what I whant as far as equipment.
My question is should I start with a substrate or bare bottom.
Is one easier to keep stable over time then the other or dose it just take longer for the bare bottom to be stable then both are equal in ease of stability.
Wow lots of advice here I’m glad you asked that question because I had same question. Great advice no matter where you go on R2R forums
 
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Justin Williams

Justin Williams

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I am thing about it I need to go look at some build threads to see if it is something I would like to do
So if anyone has some links to some good build threads ?
 

Grape_City_Reefer

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I am thing about it I need to go look at some build threads to see if it is something I would like to do
So if anyone has some links to some good build threads ?
I was just looking at one that @Hemmdog did for his tank, definitely on the more detailed side. If for nothing else it is a great way to document your build for your own future reference. The wife and I are planning on upgrading our tank in the future I will definitely do one. The members on here are great for asking what, why, and how you are doing something, makes you stop and ponder how I would have done it.

BTW if you see a member with a Build Thread Contributor badge you can click on it and it has an embedded link to the build thread.
 

Dempsey941

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Did someone say 40 breeder???

I went with sand mostly because I wanted a yellow wrasse which enjoys a sandbed to dive into and my love of nasarius snails. Watching those guys rise from the sand to grab some food is easily one of the best parts of a sandbed.
 
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Greybeard

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What are you planning to house in your new tank?

If you want a pistol shrimp/goby pair, sand or fighting conchs, certain wrasses, any of the sand dwelling fishes or inverts, that'll make the choice for you.

If you want a primarily SPS stix tank, then high flow and nutrient control can be easier to maintain with a bare bottom tank.

Surface area for your bio filter can be obtained in many ways... the high tech ceramic bio blocks are simple, and very effective. More, or better (more porous) rock, remote sand beds... Lots of choices.

Being new to the hobby, I'd suggest a sand bed. Makes things easier, short term, anyway... and most folks don't make it past the first year. IMHO, anything you can do to insure initial success with a new reefer is a good thing.
 

Murica

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Welcome to the hobby! Going bare bottom Is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. It keeps the tank cleaner and more stable. The only arguments against it that I’ve heard are the lack of sand dwelling creatures you can get and the overall aesthetic of the tank. I personally prefer a healthier and easier tank than to have sand, and I’ve actually come around to liking the bare bottom look a lot more.

Keep in mind that adding sand later Is a whole heck of a lot easier than removing it
 

hart24601

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It's pretty unlikely that I will have sand in a reef tank again unless I am shooting for a specific biotype like a lagoon. I have just personally helped too many reefers locally who start having issues after a year or two and I ask them to siphon out a 5g bucket from the sand bed. So far it's always been stuff so rancid you nearly vomit. At least 8 times now over the years this has happened. And when the sand is cleaned then their tanks are great again.

Of course you can keep on CUC and stirring it or w/e your individual solution is, but personally I don't want the fuss, the added variable. Again it's totally up to how you want to run the tank, can have a world class tank with sand, I just don't want the variable.

I also like growing SPS on the bottom of the tank so the answer is pretty clear for me not to have sand. And to me, personally, seeing an SPS tank with sand looks nice, but not natural. While there are exceptions of course, reef crest corals come from rock bottoms.
 

Quietman

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Hi to all
I am new to the saltwater aquarium hobby I am going with a 40 gallon breeder and currently making decisions on what I whant as far as equipment.
My question is should I start with a substrate or bare bottom.
Is one easier to keep stable over time then the other or dose it just take longer for the bare bottom to be stable then both are equal in ease of stability.
Welcome Aboard....as you can see, you started out with one of more clear cut and easily answered questions. Luckily there's only a few thousand differing opinions for you to sort through.

Mine is this....go for looks all the way! Nothing like a clean white sand bottom and the contrast it provides to the rock work and corals and all those sand dwelling creatures.

Naturally, I'm kidding on such a personal choice. If you think you'll like a bare bottom tank (no matter how sterile and unnatural looking) go for it. If you really love the beauty and livestock options of sand (no matter how much crud it accumulates and maintenance) then go for that!
 
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Justin Williams

Justin Williams

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What are you planning to house in your new tank?

If you want a pistol shrimp/goby pair, sand or fighting conchs, certain wrasses, any of the sand dwelling fishes or inverts, that'll make the choice for you.

If you want a primarily SPS stix tank, then high flow and nutrient control can be easier to maintain with a bare bottom tank.

Surface area for your bio filter can be obtained in many ways... the high tech ceramic bio blocks are simple, and very effective. More, or better (more porous) rock, remote sand beds... Lots of choices.

Being new to the hobby, I'd suggest a sand bed. Makes things easier, short term, anyway... and most folks don't make it past the first year. IMHO, anything you can do to insure initial success with a new reefer is a good thing.
I have yet to decid on what I what to house but I do like goby's and I rilly like the blennys.
 

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