Saltwater Tank Substrate?

N13

Member
Hello! I am currently in the freshwater side of the hobby but I am planning on moving on to saltwater in a year or so and I was wondering if saltwater needed to be completely covered in sand substrate, can gravel be in the bottom and can sand top it off? Also does freshwater beneficial bacteria work in saltwater? Do freshwater filters work in saltwater?

Advice is appreciated, thanks.
 

bcsay720

Member
I think the full sand vs partly sand depends on if you will have burrowing fish. You definitely don't want something hard if you have something that will dig down. This is from someone who is only in freshwater but has watched a million episodes of Tanked....
 
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N13

Member
bcsay720 said:
I think the full sand vs partly sand depends on if you will have burrowing fish. You definitely don't want something hard if you have something that will dig down. This is from someone who is only in freshwater but has watched a million episodes of Tanked....
I am thinking of a clownfish pair with a cleaner shrimp and maybe some hermits with beginner fish, thanks for the answer
 

bcsay720

Member
Yeah the only problem there would maybe be the hermits.

Is there a reason you don't want full sand? Is it just because you have so much gravel on hand? If so, I completely understand.
 
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N13

Member
bcsay720 said:
Yeah the only problem there would maybe be the hermits.

Is there a reason you don't want full sand? Is it just because you have so much gravel on hand? If so, I completely understand.
Yea, I am thinking about plants because the tank is currently freshwater and gravel under sand is the easiest method and I dont know where to put the gravel.
 

Jesterrace

Member
N13 said:
Hello! I am currently in the freshwater side of the hobby but I am planning on moving on to saltwater in a year or so and I was wondering if saltwater needed to be completely covered in sand substrate, can gravel be in the bottom and can sand top it off? Also does freshwater beneficial bacteria work in saltwater? Do freshwater filters work in saltwater?

Advice is appreciated, thanks.
Gravel is a terrible choice for a saltwater tank as it is very prone to trapping things which will be more problematic in the long run and it will be near impossible to clean. An argonitic based sand on the other hand can be done for you by a solid clean up crew. I haven't touched my live sand in over 3 years now since my conch snails, turbo and trochus snails and hermit crabs keep it clean for me. Freshwater bacteria will die in saltwater and can impede the cycling process to boot. Freshwater Filters (ie HOB) can be used for saltwater provided you use different media or biofiltration. What size is the tank you are wanting to convert over? With larger tanks (ie 55 gallon and up) it's often cheaper and less hassle to just buy a used reef ready setup than trying to convert over a freshwater setup.

There are a lot of bad habits to shed before going salty and I strongly recommend watching this video first:

 
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N13

Member
Jesterrace said:
Gravel is a terrible choice for a saltwater tank as it is very prone to trapping things which will be more problematic in the long run and it will be near impossible to clean. An argonitic based sand on the other hand can be done for you by a solid clean up crew. I haven't touched my live sand in over 3 years now since my conch snails, turbo and trochus snails and hermit crabs keep it clean for me. Freshwater bacteria will die in saltwater and can impede the cycling process to boot. Freshwater Filters (ie HOB) can be used for saltwater provided you use different media or biofiltration. What size is the tank you are wanting to convert over? With larger tanks (ie 55 gallon and up) it's often cheaper and less hassle to just buy a used reef ready setup than trying to convert over a freshwater setup.

There are a lot of bad habits to shed before going salty and I strongly recommend watching this video first:

Tank is a 20 gallon long, I am planning to convert it in 1 to 2 years so that might be enough time to learn the basics of saltwater, thanks for the advice!
 

Dechi

Member
A very popular choice for saltwater tanks is CaribSea Aragonite special grade. It has buffering properties to help raise PH and is fine enough for the fish and inverts, but not fine enough to get stuck into a filter and damage it. Make sure you get the « special grade » one as others will have bigger sand grains.



I’m just starting my Fluval Evo 13.5 and that’s what I’m using. Here’s my thread if you want to read it. Fluval Evo 13.5 journal (salt water beginner) | Saltwater Aquarium Setup Forum | 487888

I believe the BB are different in saltwater. As for filters, yes, you can use any filter but I think most people don’t use a filter, they use a water pump that goes through the media in a sump. The Fluval Evo 13.5 is built this way.

Canister filters aren’t popular in saltwater at all. I think the only people who use them are people who switched from freshwater and wanted to re-use their equipment.
 
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N13

Member
Dechi said:
A very popular choice for saltwater tanks is CaribSea Aragonite special grade. It has buffering properties to help raise PH and is fine enough for the fish and inverts, but not fine enough to get stuck into a filter and damage it. Make sure you get the « special grade » one as others will have bigger sand grains.



I’m just starting my Fluval Evo 13.5 and that’s what I’m using. Here’s my thread if you want to read it. Fluval Evo 13.5 journal (salt water beginner) | Saltwater Aquarium Setup Forum | 487888

I believe the BB are different in saltwater. As for filters, yes, you can use any filter but I think most people don’t use a filter, they use a water pump that goes through the media in a sump. The Fluval Evo 13.5 is built this way.

Canister filters aren’t popular in saltwater at all. I think the only people who use them are people who switched from freshwater and wanted to re-use their equipment.
Are hang on backs good for saltwater? Also if your tank is cycled in freshwater will you have to re-cycle for saltwater? Do I have to use different media?
 

Dechi

Member
N13 said:
Are hang on backs good for saltwater? Also if your tank is cycled in freshwater will you have to re-cycle for saltwater? Do I have to use different media?
Yes, you can use a HOB filter. And no, you can’t cycle a saltwater tank with freshwater media, it just won’t work.

Check out Mr Saltwater tank on youtube. He is very knowledgeable and has a serie on budget nano reef for beginners. He has separate videos for equipment, cycling, choosing corals, choosing fish, etc.

I’m posting this video about corals so you can find him and look for the one about cycling.

 
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N13

Member
Dechi said:
Yes, you can use a HOB filter. And no, you can’t cycle a saltwater tank with freshwater media, it just won’t work.

Check out Mr Saltwater tank on youtube. He is very knowledgeable and has a serie on budget nano reef for beginners. He has separate videos for equipment, cycling, choosing corals, choosing fish, etc.

I’m posting this video about corals so you can find him and look for the one about cycling.

Alright thanks! Last question, will I have to use something different than tap water or what?
 

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