By Bob Goemans
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Bob Goemans corresponds with Rob Hauck (Texas)

Rob Hauck (Texas) writes...

Hi Mr. Goemans,

I've contacted you in the past about a 120 gallon reef tank that I inherited in bad shape. (Published in the September 2007 issue of FAMA) You walked me through converting the wet/dry into a usable filter and laid out a maintenance schedule for me. Since then the tank has been doing fantastic. Everything I have added has done super. I am using all the Salifert test kits, Warner Marine x-phosphate and 25% water changes bi-weekly with sand bed vacuuming.

I have another 140 gallon sitting empty with a large skimmer, wet/dry and a Hamilton lighting system consisting of a 250W 14K Metal Halide and two 96W dual Power Compacts. My plan is to remove the bio balls just like last time and put live rock in that area of the wet/dry, have a 2" sand bed in the aquarium using the 2mm - 5mm CaribSea Aragonite sand, 125 pounds of combo Fiji/Tonga branching live rock and keeping the same maintenance schedule.

I was wondering if instead of using the live rock in the wet/dry could I place the same kind of 2" sand bed in that chamber, which measures about 15" x 18" for any extra benefit? The way the wet/dry is built the water would be forced through the sand bed and returned to the main system.

Thanks to you I have gotten spoiled with my current reef going so well right from the start that I don't want to create any additional problems. Also, are there any trace elements or supplements you could suggest. The only thing I have been using is the CaribSea product called Purple-up.

Thanks in advance,

Rob Hauck


Bob replies...

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the follow-up and happy to see all is going well. And yes, the hobby is addicting! It looks like you want to basically duplicate the success seen in the 120 with the 140. But as for the thought of using a sandbed as a 'mechanical' filter as described, that's not what I would call a useful tool. Keep in mind there are three forms of filtration; mechanical, biological, and chemical. When water is drained, or pushed through a layer of sand such as what is used in swimming pool filters, there's no dwell time for bacteria to do its thing. The only purpose the sand in this case is that of providing mechanical filtration. And that is not going to benefit your system, as mechanical filtration can be provided for where the water enters the top of the wet/dry. Therefore, I'd stay with some live rock in the trickle section.

And if it ain't broke, don't fix it! In other words, if the 120 is doing great on its husbandry schedule and products used, then simply replicate those for the 140.

Hope this helps,



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