The Aquatic Critter

Setting Up The Eco-Sand Plenum System

Live sand systems are a completely different type of filtration because there is little real filtration. These systems depend on living organisms, rather than filtration systems, to maintain water quality Bacteria, copepods, and other organisms have adapted to remove wastes better than conventional filtration. The only other type of equipment needed is a protein skimmer which helps to remove organics from the main body of water and in gas exchange.

Place the Eco-Sand Plenum on the bottom of the aquarium with nothing between the filter and the aquarium. Placing the uplift tube at the front of the tank makes it easier to remove once the reef has been built and the tank cycled. The uplift tube is provided for the initial cycling of the aquarium. The powerhead mounted thereon will bring oxygen into the sand and encourage the growth of bacteria in the sand bed. Many types of bacteria switch from nitrifying to denitrifying bacteria in the absence of oxygen, but it is important to get the colony started by using the ammonia and nitrite produced by the fresh live rock.

Place washed CaribSea™ reef aragonite sand on top of the Eco-Sand Plenum, approximately 20 lbs. per square foot is required. Aragonite will stabilize the calcium carbonate and pH chemistry in line with natural parameters.

Place live rock on top of the CaribSea substrate, being careful not to lay large pieces of flat-shaped rock flat on the substrate surface. Dr. Jaubert recommends leaving 75% of the substrate surface unencumbered, allowing for maintenance and chemical interfacing with aquarium water. The live rock should be positioned so that plateaus or shelves are available at different heights, allowing the corals to be positioned where they are provided with the proper illumination. (Note: if live sand is used in conjunction with live rock, it must be very coarse or it will block the diffusion of water and chemicals through the substrate.)

Start the protein skimmer and lighting system once the live rock is in place. Use the Eco-Sand Plenum as an undergravel filter until there is no more detectable ammonia or nitrite. At this time, remove the powerhead and the uplift tube capping it off.


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