Everything about sand.

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This thread I intend to collect information about your experince with sand and sand bed in general. I will continue to update just this post as a summary of your answer and poll. I will also continously add questions that I think newbies would like to know about the sand.

1)When a sand full of bacteria are stirred or pouring them from one container to another which cause a large scale stirring:
-A)Will the bacteria still survive after the the dirt settles?
-B)What have you seen from your experience to the water chemistry?

2)Where to get sand suitable for reefs locally in NY area(we are Manhattan Reefs, right):
-A)very white fine sand
-B)off white fine sand
-C)coral sand (not crushed corals) like the ones on the beaches of Cancun
-D)black color sand
-E)other kinds of sand
 

nanoreefer22

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I think I can answer question 1 pretty well, with a little add on where my brain is lacking.
If you stir your sand severely, you'll end up with a tank crash. Reason from what I understand is that after a while anaerobic bacteria builds up on the lower region on the sand bed, beucase these lower layers lack oxygen. The top layers build up with aerobic bacteria and when you mix the two layers you basically end up with hydrogen sulfate(Correct me if im wrong on the name). If you ever rip out a sand bed thats been in place for a while, you'll get that rotten egg smell and see the black build up. Thats what mixing the two layers create. All in all stirring the sand after its been allowed to create the layers or bacteria, your setting your self up for a melt down of the tank. Thats one of the reasons a lot of people stop using other peoples old sand.

I think most sands are ok for marine aquaria as long as its aragonite based and not silica sand. You'll know if its aragonite by pouring vinegar on it, it should fizz.
-Kris
 

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Symtoms are accurate but I think the reasons may not be correct

nanoreefer22 said:
If you stir your sand severely, you'll end up with a tank crash. Reason from what I understand is that after a while anaerobic bacteria builds up on the lower region on the sand bed, beucase these lower layers lack oxygen. The top layers build up with aerobic bacteria and when you mix the two layers you basically end up with hydrogen sulfate-Kris
The symtoms you mentioned are mostly accurate but the reasons may be wrong.

When you mentioned layers of sand, it means the sand bed is more than 2 inches inorder to have "layers" of sand. There are benificial bacteria on the top layer where it starts to grow down to somewhat 1-3/4 to 2 inches the most unless you somewhat provide high oxygen level to the bottom. In general tank environment, the first 2 inch of sand bed can support those bacteria. Unfortunately, in general there aren't much anaerobic bacteria below 2 inches. If there are, we will not have the H2S issue(rotten egg smell). I'll fill in the chemistry stuff later.

Recertifiying the science book with simple experiments from my own stuff:

In my ecoystem 60, there are more than 3 inches of sand and the sand looks VERY dirty. I take cup of sand from top 2 inches and another one with the bottom sand. Stirr them badly in seperate container. Let them sit in the following environments.

1)Top sand in wide container so that the sand is now 1/2 inch deep
Results: No smell all thru the night
2)Top sand in tall container so that the sand is now 5 inch deep
Results: Smell developes somehwhat in two hours when the bottom sand was lifted up.

3)Top and bottom sand in wide container so that the sand is now 1/2 inch deep
Results: No smell all thru the night
4)Top and bottom sand in tall container so that the sand is now 5 inch deep
Results: Smell developes somehwhat in two hours when the bottom sand was lifted up..


Conclusions can be drawn from the results:

Results of 1 and 3 indicate that the smelling issue has no connection between how deep the sand was when it first started while results of the 2,4 indicate that it is related to the depth of the destination.

Explanation: When both types of sand are laid flat on a wide container, the bacteria have sufficient Oxygen to survive and continue it's job, so no smell is released. However, when the top sand which contains benificial bacteria die off below 2 inches of sand bed, H2S starts to form and causing the bad smell. I 'll fill in the chemistry reactions later.

Hypothesis: Stirring a a DSB is going to cause problem while stirring a SSB or Very SSB should not be a problem. HA I do not have multiple tanks to verify these hypothesis.:grumpy: Well, if you guys are breaking down your tanks, let me know if you can carry out the experiment of the above in a full tank environment. Take special note about how deep you sand are resettling at. I will include your findings in the summary at the first post of this thread.
 
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nanoreefer22

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First question, How long was the sand in the tank or ecosystem 60 that you tested?
Secondly there are anerobic areas in the sand bed, where the sandbed is deprived of oxygen.
Third, the reason you probably didnt get any smell from a 1/2 of sand in a large container is because you took sand from the 'TOP'. Taking sand from the top there would be no mixing of the bacteria for the most part. Therefore when you took the sand from 'TOP' and 'BOTTOM' you mixed the bacteria, leading to the production of the smell.

Remember that just leaving it there for 2 hours probably isn't as sufficient to test this whole thing as you might think.
-Kris
I could always be misreading the info but take a peek at this thread if you haven't already done so,
http://www.manhattanreefs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7148&highlight=hydrogen
 
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ShaunW

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The reason why you don't want to mix up an established sand bed it because you will intoduce oxygen to the anaerobic bacteria. Oxygen is toxic to these bacteria, killing them immediately. The large scale anaerobic bacterial dieoff will release nutients and toxins which will cause a cascading death spiral on the other living creatures in the tank .
 

ShaunW

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Aerobic bacteria do not perform denitrification well. Your idea that your sucessfully converting nitrite to nitrate with a SSB is incorrect. Even facultative anaerobic bacteria, which will populate the SSB, will choose not to perform this function, since aerobic respiration is much more efficient than anaerobic.
 

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Thansk for pointing out that link. It's almost there but not quite

nanoreefer22 said:
First question, How long was the sand in the tank or ecosystem 60 that you tested?
Secondly there are anerobic areas in the sand bed, where the sandbed is deprived of oxygen.
Third, the reason you probably didnt get any smell from a 1/2 of sand in a large container is because you took sand from the 'TOP'. Taking sand from the top there would be no mixing of the bacteria for the most part. Therefore when you took the sand from 'TOP' and 'BOTTOM' you mixed the bacteria, leading to the production of the smell.

Remember that just leaving it there for 2 hours probably isn't as sufficient to test this whole thing as you might think.
-Kris
I could always be misreading the info but take a peek at this thread if you haven't already done so,
http://www.manhattanreefs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7148&highlight=hydrogen
I did not finish the whole thread last time and noticed that the formula he showed has something wrong. There are nothing BLACK in his formula. H2S is gas in room temperature so it would not be the black stuff he mentioned and S is not black for sure. So where does the black stuff come from? His formula is more or less correct but the black stuff is not within his formula so he has been using the wrong formula for an observation.

I do know that there is what you call anerobic bacteria but it does not play the part of bad smell in the way you mentioned. Those bacteria are called sulfur-reducing bacteria (SRB) and will produce bad smell.

I will discuss both when I wake up tomorrow.
 

ShaunW

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WingoAgency said:
When you mentioned layers of sand, it means the sand bed is more than 2 inches inorder to have "layers" of sand. There are benificial bacteria on the top layer where it starts to grow down to somewhat 1-3/4 to 2 inches the most unless you somewhat provide high oxygen level to the bottom. In general tank environment, the first 2 inch of sand bed can support those bacteria. Unfortunately, in general there aren't much anaerobic bacteria below 2 inches. If there are, we will not have the H2S issue(rotten egg smell). I'll fill in the chemistry stuff later.
The beneficial bacteria are not at the surface, they are below 2 inches in the microaerophilic zone. Faculatitive anaerobic and strict anaerobic bacteria provide the "meat" behind a sand bed. The H2S issue is not strictly indictative of anaerobic bacteria, i.e. just because you don't smell rotten eggs doesn't mean that the anaerobes are not present.
 

ShaunW

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WingoAgency said:
I do know that there is what you call anerobic bacteria but it does not play the part of bad smell in the way you mentioned. Those bacteria are called sulfur-reducing bacteria (SRB) and will produce bad smell.
So how do sulfur-reducing bacteria generate energy to live? ;)
 

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Wow, we are getting deeper and more interesting here

solbby said:
The beneficial bacteria are not at the surface, they are below 2 inches in the microaerophilic zone.
Semi agreed-depends on the tank conditions

solbby said:
Faculatitive anaerobic and strict anaerobic bacteria provide the "meat" behind a sand bed.
Semi agreed-depends on the tank conditions

Also agreed that Sulfur Reducing Bacteria(anaerobic) are more common than Sulfur Oxidizing Bacteria(aerobic). Therefore, the DSB, especially in salt water tank where iron is usually limited by the tank keeper, has a better filtration efficiency over SSB unless other external factors are involved such as water throw. In fresh water tank, SSB performs very well too, since there are abundance of iron oxidizing bacteria and iron is everywhere in the tank.

Question: Did SW tank keepers usually keep iron away from the tank?

solbby said:
The H2S issue is not strictly indictative of anaerobic bacteria, i.e. just because you don't smell rotten eggs doesn't mean that the anaerobes are not present.
Totally Agreed.

Side step a little bit now(we were talking about why strring a sandbed is not good and how the bad smell come up as indicated by another reader):

Most enviromental labs use the following formulas to analysis the denitrification under low oxygen level:
1)Heterotrophic denitrification: 4NO3 + 5CH2O + 4(H)+ -> 2N2 + 5C02 + 7H20
2)Autotrophic denitrification: 14NO3 + 5FeS2 + 4(H)+ -> 7N2 + 10(SO4)2- + 5(Fe)2+ + 2H2O

Excuse me for the the way I notated the formula-cannot type the upper and lower scripts.

Note: There is no H2S anywhere in the formulas. These are the preferred way of how denitrification should take place the natural eco system and thus in our tank. Interesting enough, in the second formula, we found FeS2, the black stuff.

I will write up the formula for how H2S come about after lunch. Stay tuned.
 
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nano

The sandbed in the ecosystem 60 has been for one year

I did take the bottom sand out in the mix too

Will check the result after lunch to see if they smell after two days
----------------------

Great snow, great day and also a hard day

Results: Still no smell
 
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kimoyo

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WingoAgency said:
1)Heterotrophic denitrification: 4NO3 + 5CH2O + 4(H)+ -> 2N2 + 5C02 + 7H20
2)Autotrophic denitrification: 14NO3 + 5FeS2 + 4(H)+ -> 7N2 + 10(SO4)2- + 5(Fe)2+ + 2H2O
Where did you get these from? Heterotrophic bacteria are primarily organic degraders and I know a few species can work in reverse inefficiently under specific conditions. But I hadn't heard they could convert nitrate to n gas.
 

ShaunW

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kimoyo said:
Where did you get these from? Heterotrophic bacteria are primarily organic degraders and I know a few species can work in reverse inefficiently under specific conditions. But I hadn't heard they could convert nitrate to n gas.
My thoughts exactly. Where are you getting all your information from?
 

ShaunW

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Tonyscoots84 said:
i was tryin to b funny solbby...
Telling someone that they are squawking doesn't work for good comic relief in my opinion. So I wonder who you were implying, :scratchch ?
 

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