Going barebottom?


New member
I have come to the conclusion that my sand bed is leaching back into my tank and creating my hair algae problem. It has been about a year battling this so this is the final resort. I have added phosphate remover (GFO), carbon, I have a good skimmer, have over 50x flow in tank and have had a refugium since the beginning.

So if I decide to go barebottom, will this work:

1. Remove all from tank/sump/refugium including EVERYTHING (LR, corals, water, sand, fish, etc.) EVERYTHING
2. Scrub existing LR (to rid as much of the hair algae as possible)
3. Reset scrubbed LR
4. Top off tank with brand new saltwater
5. Replace fish, corals
6. Done???

One thing I would like to add when going back is a RDSB. I have a 75 gallon tank. Would I be able to create a beneficial RDSB with a 10 gallon refugium?
its recommended to cook your live rock for around 2 months before putting it back into the bare bottom tank.
I went bare bottom almost a year ago and what a relief! I havent seen hair algae or cyano in this tank at all, and thats a first for me. Ive been through about 7 reef tanks with sand and all of them had their bouts with cyano but not this tank, bare bottom is the way to go, i'll never turn back!
Sand looks better but its not worth it, and when its covered in cyano it looks like crap anyway
I can't imagine why you would need to cook your LR with this change. In fact, I would think it would remove all of the good bacteria/growth that you'd need, and would be forced to recycle before you can re-add your life. As long as you keep the LR wet, you should be ok... just how I'd do it.

I think your list is fine. Of course be sure to check water params before introducing fish/corals.
I don't recommend cooking live rock. It kills off the majority of the micro-flora and fauna populating the live rock which reduces the amount of animal diversity you have in your tank. Not to mention it takes several months to cook which is very hard to do if you want your tank back online as soon as possible. I would simply scrub the live rock with a clean stiff-bristle brush and shake/rinse off any detritus in some clean saltwater.
RDSBs seem to do a nice job with denitrification and I would recommend adding one if you like. I wouldn't recommend putting it in your refugium, but rather in a dark rubbermaid container or similar place. RDSBs work much better in the dark and I think you'll definitely see a difference.
You may also want to take the time to expand your refugium and grow more macroalgae. This will help with any nutrients that may leech from the rocks.
Other than that make sure you have a lot of clean saltwater prepared. It's hard to imagine how much you'll use for doing something like this, and it's always good to have some extra.
I have also been having algea issues and I was debating on scrubbing with Kent Marine's Live rock prep in a bucket of water from my aquarium then, with a water change, putting the LR back into the tank.

Anyone forsee any issues with doing this...my tank is established about 2-3 years.