Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Deep Sand Beds and Refugiums

Hiro Sushi's Six Inch Sand Bed. There has been a lot of discussions lately on the bulletin boards I frequent about whether aquarium's should be set up with a deep sand bed, shallow bed or bare bottom. I have always been a huge advocate of using as deep a sand bed as aesthetically possible, using Carib Sea AragaMax sugar sized sand. In addition to a deep sand bed, I also use a refugium, live rock, high flow in the water column, a protein skimmer and calcium reactor in reef tanks. This equipment and the proper stocking of animals make a fool proof system.

Java Sushi's Five Inch Sand Bed. Installation of a deep sand bed is one of the least expensive type of filtration, and requires minimal maintenance when paired with the proper animals to do the work. The Pacific Black Sea Cucumber is an excellent sand sifting animal that does not destroy a sand bed of life. In addition, the Orange Diamond Goby, large Nassarius Sand Snails and burrowing bristle and spaghetti worms help remove sediment. They are actively consuming diatoms and promotes oxygen penetration that allows them to live in the bed.

LifeReef Refugium. A deep sand bed occupies a large amount of viewing space in an aquarium. I prefer to use a minimum of a three inch sand bed in an aquarium and then a 6-8 inch sand bed in an auxiliary refugium. This LifeReef 40 gallon refugium with chaetomorpha algae has an 8 inch sand bed that keeps nitrates undetectable in a 180 gallon heavily stocked reef tank. I also employ the use of Leng Sy's EcoSystem Refugiums in some of the smaller systems I maintain.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My Commute

I feel pretty lucky. Some days I laugh out loud when I think of city commuters. Many of my clients are 30-40 minutes away from my shop in Carnelian Bay and I am quite fortunate to see a lot of beautiful scenery along the way. Whether it's a sunset view from the east shore of Lake Tahoe, a blinding snow storm going over Mt. Rose Highway to Reno or the American Bald Eagle I recently saw hovering over the old rail-yard in Truckee, I always have a camera with me to capture the moment. The photo above is of Eagle Falls at Emerald Bay. I recently finished setting up three new aquariums in offices in South Lake Tahoe and Highway 89 just reopened after being closed most of the winter. With this year's snowpack, the falls are flowing at the highest rate I've ever seen. Today's gas prices are getting out of hand ($3.45 in Kings Beach today for regular unleaded), but with views like these, driving is priceless.