See how easy live rock and sand selection can be! Aquascaping a beginner saltwater aquarium

– Today on the 5 Minute
Saltwater Aquarium Guide, it’s time for rock and sand. We’re talkin’ dry versus live sand. Depth, how much, which type to pick, and the best way to
build a stable aquascape, all in under five minutes. (upbeat music) Hey I’m Ryan, your host of BRStv and the 5 Minute Saltwater Aquarium Guide. This is clear, simplified,
and a direct path to setting up a successful
first reef tank. Today rock and sand have
already gone in these tanks. Live rock and sand are
partially there for aesthetics and simply makin’ the tank look nice, but more so, they’re there
as the most important filter in the tank. Beneficial bacteria
populate the rock and sand and breakdown uneaten foods and fish waste or filter the tank for you. Which is cool, because rock
and sand are hard to mess up. It’s called live rock
and live sand because of that beneficial bacteria that lives on the surface of the rocks. Some types are more
live than others though. Wet rock you get from the holding tanks at a fish store, the most live. Damp rock like Real Reef, semi-live. And dry rock, not live at the moment. But once all these are added to the tank, they all very rapidly become live rock. There are different reasons to select or recommend the various types of rocks. But for a first tank, the number one goal is the easiest path to a
successful sharp-looking tank, followed closely with a reasonable cost. The easiest or fastest
path is probably pre-cured live rock from a fish store,
it’s also the most expensive. Often eight to 10 dollars
a pound and can come with some funky pests that
may bother you down the road. Flip side of that is dry
rock, like Marco’s Reef Saver which is about a third of that
price at three bucks a pound. This type of rock is very
likely the most commonly used rock these days
because it’s pest free and so inexpensive, but it takes a bit more patience up front. I’ll be frank, patience
is not a trait of many new reefers and we should just own that. So the balance of all that
and what we’re recommending to new reefers in the 5 Minute
Guide on their first tank is Real Reef rock. This rock is shipped damp
and been cured in salt water for five months and has dormant
bacteria on its surface. But more importantly, has
a lower degree of risk than real live wet rock on oddball pests. Maybe more important than
that, the purple color looks nice day one. It’s also right in the middle
of the price conversation. About six bucks a pound. Real Reef is just a good balance of objectives for a new reefer. In this case, we selected a 55
pound box of Real Reef rock. Most people are going to get a pound or pound and a quarter
per gallon of tank size. Havin’ a couple extra
pieces almost always results in a more desirable aquascape. So don’t be worried if you don’t use every last piece in the box. I’ll guarantee that you find
a use for them down the road. More or less, we’re gonna stack
the rock right on the glass. The goal is just a stable formation, which you find visually interesting. But I have a few tips. First, don’t go higher
than two-thirds of the tank because we need to leave
room for coral growth. Try and resist the temptation to simply make a mound, use some negative space. Meaning peaks, overhangs,
cave-type structures. Not only is this visually interesting, but this is the habitat for fish. Many fish are shy, and if
you create a smart aquascape, they can actually hide in plain sight. I’d also pick up a few
tubes of the extra thick BRS super glue gel, in a 20 gram tube. The tube is just easier to
manage than versus a bottle. Then put a generous
amount on the locations where the rocks connect to
create longterm stability. The goal is to lock the
points where the rock touches without seein’ it, and
why I suggest super glue rather than epoxy. I suggest the extra thick
super glue because it holds its shape while drying,
it’s clear and easy to hide. Try using it in locations
where you won’t see it later. In terms of sand, this
is simpler because I have one very specific suggestion, the CaribSea special grade
sand is the grain size we strongly recommend,
and what almost every reefer at BRS uses. The grain size is
attractive, but stays put better than smaller sizes. A good rule of thumb
is one pound per gallon of water for somewhere
around an inch sand bed. But I think 30 pounds is probably adequate for either of these tanks. I wouldn’t go deeper
than an inch just because you just want to be able to clean it. Deeper than an inch tends to collect a lot of the tanks waste and
become the tank’s toilet. Over an inch just is a bigger
challenge to keep clean. Just pour the water and sand into the tank and surround the rock work. The water that comes in
the bag contains some beneficial dormant bacteria. There’s also a water clarification packet you can use after filling the tank. The reason we do the sand after the rock is because we want the
rock to sit directly on the glass for longterm stability, and then fill in the sand around it. So this is what the tank
looks like with rock and sand. The next logical question is, of course, how do I water for a saltwater aquarium, so let’s fill it. The entire Saltwater Aquarium Guide is always available here, but if you want to make proper fresh
water for a saltwater tank done correctly, it’s one
of the easiest things related to the tank. That’s next.

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