How do you prep 'wild' live sand?

jaidexl

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Oct 17, 2006
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Fort Myers Florida
I'm starting a large marine planted tank. I have a bucket of live sand collected from a friend's back yard, at the mouth of a mangrove filled estuary where the Caloosahatchee river exits into the gulf of Mexico. Probably the equivalent of mineral mud, I suppose. I sifted it through a home made screen sifter to get all the heavy, unwanted debris out, mainly shells, leaves and plant material. Now it's sitting in a tub of fresh SW with a power head.

Has anyone here ever used 'wild' mud, and if so, what other things have you done to prep it for tank use besides mix with aragonite or silica?

I imagine the 'mineralized topsoil' process could be used here, to avoid introducing so much organics that are not bioavailable to the plants and macros yet, but ripe for algae soup. But is it counterproductive being that you'd be killing off some bacteria and microbes by repetitively drying it out? If they were killed off, surely they'd be able to repopulate in the tank? I think it could be a good compromise for avoiding explosive nitrogen spikes, but then I'm not sure it's really that big of a deal because I'm still pretty new to live sand and marine planted tanks.
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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Lots of folks have, this is for a marine tank?

I'd just use it but test the water good prior to adding things, give it about 8 weeks and cure your live rock and other marine items during that time.

Do water changes as needed.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Tom Barr

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No need, just get some nice stuff further south near you off the beach, near mangroves etc.

You use that, then mineralize for 3-4 weeks good.

That's all.

The soupy white mucky soft sediment is where the grass grows, as well as other soft sediment macro algae. Go get that and mineralize it some, allow it to thicken and turn to a paste after, then use.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

jaidexl

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Oct 17, 2006
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Fort Myers Florida
Wish I was a little more patient to wait for a response. I already have the sub in and sprinkled a light dusting of clay on the bottom.

So, I have about 1" estuary mud (scooped up right next to a mangrove), then 1" mud - aragonite - silica, then capped with another few inches of silica in two grain sizes. 2.5" total up front and 4" in the back. I'm going to add a little shoal and manatee grass to the back corner, then Oar grass in the mid to front. I just hope a 4 x 48" Tek light is enough for those seagrasses in a 30" tall tank. Fingers crossed.