Started the tank with Special grade and liked it, but ran into GHA issues and did everything I could to fight it, including vacuuming it out and going BB for about 6 months. While BB has it's many advantages, I really don't like the unfinished look. So recently, I re-introduced Special Grade dry (and super well washed) back in and love it so much better. My tank looks like a nice, clean slice of ocean vs. a place to put rocks and frags. Just a personal preference.
Bare bottom and I paint the bottom of the tank or platform white. Would never go back to sand but I only do SPS. I do like the look of sand and if I ever set up a LPS or mixed tank, I might consider coarse sand.
1. What substrate are you using in your reef tank?
Original carbonate based Play Box Sand from garden store and Home Depot. (Probably a little hard to find these days.)
2. Why do you love it or hate?
With Sea Cucumbers, some Tongan Nassarius Snails, a Sand Dollar and a burrowing Leopard wrasse NO MAINTENANCE is required. No cleaning, no vacuuming, no nothing...
3. What would you or are you going to change it to?
Running a sand bed in a ten year old tank that has gone through two moves has drove me to hate sand. All these corals and my eyes get drawn to the dirty sand. New build I’m doing will have starboard BB Style. if I don’t like it I could always add sand over the starboard but at this point I cant imagine running w sand again unless it was a theme oriented project.
I like the sand, but I hate the fact that my crazy Halichoeres Argus wrasse loves to go into the sand multiple times a day, and have massive convulsions to kick sand everywhere so it can hunt the pods and worms that come out. I’m constantly unburying corals and blowing sand off my rocks.
I used CaribSea Special Grade I believe, and my pumps were blowing it around. I've now added a combination coral rubble and large grades to cover the areas that get the highest flow. So I think a mixed grade is working best for me.
I have a mix between Fiji Pink and Special Grade (40lbs Fiji to 80lbs Special Grade).
It's small enough for the diamond goby to sift and the combo is just course enough that it doesn't move around too much with the MP40s at max. Sometimes the goby helps in this regard and sometimes it doesn't and I'll have to go in pull some back to the middle by hand. Well worth the trade-off for me; I love sand sifters, pistol/goby pairs, conch, cucumbers, sand stars etc..
It only temporarily looks bad. I'll fix the problem and get it under control. Its been a roller coaster for my tank lately.
My end goal is a blanket of coral for a floor. Maybe zoas, chalice, blue clove, maybe a combo of many different coral? Who knows.