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View Full Version : Thinking of going barebottom - anyone have any regrets doing this?


jimrawr
02/08/2015, 03:06 PM
I am thinking about removing my shallow sand bed and going bare bottom. The reason is the SB seems to be a magnet for the uglies. Diatoms, cyano, detritus collection, etc. None of these seem to collect on rock work, so I am thinking if I remove the sand, the tank will just be healthier overall and without cyano, etc.

Anyways, I am wondering if anyone went from having a sand bed, to BB, and regretted it?

Sk8r
02/08/2015, 03:08 PM
Unless you maintain strong circulation at all levels the unsightliness will tend to collect at a spot on the bottom glass. There's not much escaping detritus of some sort.

jimrawr
02/08/2015, 03:27 PM
Unless you maintain strong circulation at all levels the unsightliness will tend to collect at a spot on the bottom glass. There's not much escaping detritus of some sort.

Right, but then its easier to siphon out. It seems like right now the SB is just collecting everything it can (po4, detritus). Then when it starts to leach out, the algae growth happens on the SB as well. If I can remove that, get the crud out, and let algae growth happen on my scrubber instead, that would be good. I wonder if people see a drastic decrease in cyano once the SB is removed, or if it just starts to grow on the rock instead?

Sprink669
02/08/2015, 03:35 PM
I have a 60 cube that I siphoned the sand out and I am really happy with it. I have 2 MP10's. I sucked out as much as I could each water change, 20 gallons. No regrets at all and no dead spots.
I have a 40 breeder with "star-board" white bottom I am going to be setting up soon.

whosurcaddie
02/08/2015, 04:03 PM
Its not worth it. The amount of poop that piles up in a single day is enormous and becomes an eyesore. snails fish crabs all poop and it will all end up in one pile. If you don't mind siphoning every day then go for it otherwise your gonna be disappointed. Either that or having to siphon every day will get old fast.

whiteshark
02/08/2015, 04:18 PM
I have absolutely no regrets with my solid epoxied sand bottom. All the advantages of the looks of sand and the benefits of BB.

CStrickland
02/08/2015, 04:28 PM
You might want a little more flow than just the 2 tunzes in your sig if that's all you have. People seem happier with them if the flow keeps detritus floating until it's drawn into the sump. I cycled my tank bb to get an idea of the flow patterns and everything, it's crazy how much gross stuff will just rot in your sand if you let it. I would not have believed how much nasty is hiding on the bottom if I hadn't seen it myself.

Also, depending how old your sand is and how well it's been cleaned, sometimes it gets saturated with nutrients. If you take it out and you don't like bb, replacing it with fresh sand might help the algae (once the diatoms clear)

DaveRaz
02/08/2015, 05:27 PM
Personally I think BB is ugly. Don't get me wrong, I've seen many beautiful BB tanks but they look better with sand substrate. I vaccum it every other week while doing a water change. The bb have to be vaccumed as well so I don't see the advantage. With 1-2" of sand its cake to keep clean.

rffanat1c
02/08/2015, 05:35 PM
Started bb and still love it. Everything collects in one corner behind one rock. I've got a 90G with one MP40. Plus I painted the underside of my tank with a sand colored paint to make it look nicer. Got coralline growing on the bottom glass too

ShannyG
02/08/2015, 05:45 PM
Absolutely no regrets. Blow out under the rocks a couple of times a week with a turkey baster and let your mechanical filtration pick it up. I have a pile of sand in one corner for my dragonet that stays more or less in place. I don't see much detritus and I feed a lot.

whiteshark
02/08/2015, 05:51 PM
The biggest problem I've found with sand is not keeping it clean, but keeping it in place. I want my SPS tank blasting with flow, and no sand will stay put. If you don't need major flow, I think a sand bed is fine. For SPS to thrive, and to eliminate dead spots, well I think it's very difficult to achieve with loose sand.

I do much prefer the look of a tank with a sand bed, though. Again, this is why I'm so happy with the epoxied sand bottom.

jimrawr
02/08/2015, 06:11 PM
Thankss for all the feedback guys, lots of good info. Im not too conserned with detritus piling up, at least this way I can see it and remove it. I have two tunzes plus the mag12 return which puts a lot of movement in the water as well. Even if I turkey baster the detritus, hopefully they it will get into the overflow/skimmer.

I agree tanks look better with sand, but ONLY when its clean and white, which seems RARE to me. Every tank almost always seems to have some dirtyness to the sand, which becomes an eye sore to me, even if others don't notice it.

So far it seems like not one person regretting going BB, and thats the feeling I get when speaking with people about it as well.

wetWolger
02/08/2015, 06:19 PM
Any thoughts on using something like this for a bottom:

http://www.designsbynature.net/products-page/deluxe-3d-bgs/rocky-sheet/

I am going BB on my current build. Right now I need to finally decide if I am going with starboard (either black or white, not sure)...or the above thing.

The worries I have about the above thing is it could leach something (though seems unlikely since it is designed for aquariums)...or that it would look weird having rocks just sitting on top of something like that.

What would others do, black starboard, or the above sort of fake rock thing?

whiteshark
02/08/2015, 06:25 PM
Any thoughts on using something like this for a bottom:

http://www.designsbynature.net/products-page/deluxe-3d-bgs/rocky-sheet/

I am going BB on my current build. Right now I need to finally decide if I am going with starboard (either black or white, not sure)...or the above thing.

The worries I have about the above thing is it could leach something (though seems unlikely since it is designed for aquariums)...or that it would look weird having rocks just sitting on top of something like that.

What would others do, black starboard, or the above sort of fake rock thing?

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=392144
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=392144&page=20

GOSKN5
02/08/2015, 06:33 PM
Is the tank new or empty? If so you can paint the underside white or use a textured spray paint... on the outside of the tank of course...

Looks great, I scrape mine to keep clean..

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/02/08/9612f1691ce355f1a151d386acc49182.jpg

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/02/08/853aeaf12d084f92740b983c4f845832.jpg

ExpensiveHobby
02/08/2015, 06:43 PM
Thankss for all the feedback guys, lots of good info. Im not too conserned with detritus piling up, at least this way I can see it and remove it. I have two tunzes plus the mag12 return which puts a lot of movement in the water as well. Even if I turkey baster the detritus, hopefully they it will get into the overflow/skimmer.

I agree tanks look better with sand, but ONLY when its clean and white, which seems RARE to me. Every tank almost always seems to have some dirtyness to the sand, which becomes an eye sore to me, even if others don't notice it.

So far it seems like not one person regretting going BB, and thats the feeling I get when speaking with people about it as well.

Just went barebottom TODAY after years of using sand. I found it was total pain using my Vortech pump as it would blow sand onto zoas and chalices then you have to turkey baster blast it off of them... You shift a rock and release trapped detritus, god knows how long that was building up. My plan is to crank up vortech each night for a few minutes to get any detritus into the column and hopefully into the overflows

Wazzel
02/08/2015, 06:48 PM
I went bb three tanks ago and do not regret it at all. I have had better results in tanks with out sand.

swhobbie1
02/08/2015, 08:20 PM
Its not worth it. The amount of poop that piles up in a single day is enormous and becomes an eyesore. snails fish crabs all poop and it will all end up in one pile. If you don't mind siphoning every day then go for it otherwise your gonna be disappointed. Either that or having to siphon every day will get old fast.

+1

I also noticed that crabs looked like they had trouble walking across the glass.

hart24601
02/08/2015, 09:40 PM
I went BB and love it. I really doubt I will ever setup a tank with sand again. Among other reasons I don't want to get sand under mag floats and scratch starfire. Not that it scratches more, just seems to be more apparent.

3yellowtangs
02/08/2015, 09:42 PM
Love bb. Coraline or corals quickly cover the bottom

lhm nole
02/08/2015, 11:09 PM
BB and love it .. Run 2 mp60 and a mp40 in my 8 ft 300 reef have occasional detritus I siphon in a suck every few days only takes a few minutes bottom stays very clean other than coraline growth..I can also put lots of flow in the tank without a sandstorm.. Only thing I dont like it does limit me on some types of wrasses

Typography
02/09/2015, 12:36 AM
My brother went bb, and he could crank his mp40s to the max and not worry about the holes in the sand.

Fade2White12
02/09/2015, 06:46 AM
The two reasons I wouldn't ever go BB are aesthetics and biodiversity.

Although there are BB tanks that look beautiful (like GOSKN5's above), I have yet to see a BB tank that doesn't look at least somewhat unnatural. Even with starboard, epoxied sand, textured paint, etc., up close they all look somewhat artificial. Don't get me wrong - if you can keep up with the detritus (which is a PITA, IMO) and scrape the bottom class clean from coralline, they can still look really nice. They just don't look "right" to my eye.

Also, I find just as much pleasure in the many different critters that inhabit our mini ecosystems as I do the corals or fish that I keep. Going BB means eliminating the sand-dwelling infauna that are not only beneficial, but interesting (and accurate) as well.

whosurcaddie
02/09/2015, 06:56 AM
Is the tank new or empty? If so you can paint the underside white or use a textured spray paint... on the outside of the tank of course...

Looks great, I scrape mine to keep clean..

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/02/08/9612f1691ce355f1a151d386acc49182.jpg

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/02/08/853aeaf12d084f92740b983c4f845832.jpg

How does your yellow corris do without the sand? Tank is beautiful by the way.

GOSKN5
02/09/2015, 07:01 AM
Sorry I should have said... I have a 6"x4" or so place behind the rocks where I built an acrylic wall that holds 3" of sand... the coris and melanarus sleep there... works great

I wouldn't keep these wrasses in a barebottom without this... it's their security and comfort

oseymour
02/09/2015, 07:50 AM
I have a 4 inch deep sand bed, never siphon it. I have a CUC of snails and hermits, micro hermits, starfish, worms and my sand bed looks clean and white. Below the surface there is a lot going on.

I know there is a lot of detritus because my filter socks need to be changed every couple of days and it stinks, my skimmer output is also stinky.

Reefin' Dude
02/09/2015, 11:18 AM
having first started BB back in the early 90's, then getting swept up in the sand wave in the early 2000's, i switched back to BB in 2004. after comparing the differences it was clear to me how much a substrate works for one environment, but not for another. i wanted to very low nutrients, and trying to do that with a substrate, was just ai have no regrets and i would not go back to a substrated system unless the must have organism requires it.

i have done straight up BB, and Epoxy Sand Bed.


Also, I find just as much pleasure in the many different critters that inhabit our mini ecosystems as I do the corals or fish that I keep. Going BB means eliminating the sand-dwelling infauna that are not only beneficial, but interesting (and accurate) as well.

if the purpose of the system is to keep the benthos, then all is good, but if the purpose is to grow certain corals, then the benthos is not beneficial, and can be detrimental.

all of the benthos is only accurate if they are found in the environment in which the must have organisms are found. for those keeping SPS, most of the time the answer is no. they may be in the LR, but out on the reeftop, sand is uncommon.

the point of going BB is to eliminate all of the unnecessary biomass. the benthos is not helping the system, it is just increasing the total amount of nutrients in the system. every organisms is an increase in total nutrients. detrital elimination as a primary goal in a system stops the nutrient increase before it can even get started. allows one to keep a fine control over the total nutrients in the system, both inorganic and organic.

all of that biomass can be beneficial if the goal of the system is to keep more inorganic nutrient needing organisms, but for those keeping low inorganic nutrient systems, they are not beneficial.

G~

cloak
02/09/2015, 11:28 AM
Is the tank new or empty? If so you can paint the underside white or use a textured spray paint... on the outside of the tank of course...

Looks great, I scrape mine to keep clean..

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/02/08/9612f1691ce355f1a151d386acc49182.jpg

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/02/08/853aeaf12d084f92740b983c4f845832.jpg

You scrape the bottom of your tank to keep it clean? Wow!

How long has the tank been set up? It's definitely beautiful, no doubt about it, but it almost looks like a "Snap-Tite" reef so to say. You could probably turn that into lifeless glass box in a matter of minutes. I'm just saying...

Go sand beds! :)

GOSKN5
02/09/2015, 11:35 AM
Haha to each his own I guess.. I'm ok with a super clean set up... it's full of gorgonians, soft corals, anemones and LPS... = LOTS of movement.. not sure what you mean by lifeless... but again your opinion so thanks for sharing...

It's fairly new as well... a couple months.. but all the rock and many corals were transfered from a previous smaller tank.. also barebottom..

Cabo2008
02/09/2015, 11:57 AM
I've always ran a bare bottom tank since I switched from fresh water to salt water. I'm of the notion that it's pretty awesome to get the "gunk" out easier and once the bottom is covered in coralline, it looks pretty cool too.

Fade2White12
02/09/2015, 12:05 PM
if the purpose of the system is to keep the benthos, then all is good, but if the purpose is to grow certain corals, then the benthos is not beneficial, and can be detrimental.

all of the benthos is only accurate if they are found in the environment in which the must have organisms are found. for those keeping SPS, most of the time the answer is no. they may be in the LR, but out on the reeftop, sand is uncommon.

the point of going BB is to eliminate all of the unnecessary biomass. the benthos is not helping the system, it is just increasing the total amount of nutrients in the system. every organisms is an increase in total nutrients. detrital elimination as a primary goal in a system stops the nutrient increase before it can even get started. allows one to keep a fine control over the total nutrients in the system, both inorganic and organic.

all of that biomass can be beneficial if the goal of the system is to keep more inorganic nutrient needing organisms, but for those keeping low inorganic nutrient systems, they are not beneficial.

G~

I'll disagree somewhat.

The additional biomass from sand-dwelling meiofauna/infauna is countered by the surface area of the substrate. Many of these organisms also process and aid in the further export of nutrients through their metabolic processes. Will there be technically *more* waste created? Of course, but it will be completely negligible. Any correlation between an increase in nutrients and a sandbed is the result of care and husbandry of the substrate, and not additional biomass from the organisms.

There are also thousands of purely sand-dwelling organisms that can be found in reef tanks. I won't get into meiofaunal organisms considering their obscurity (like loriciferans), but there are many species of infauna that most have heard of that live purely in the substrate - numerous protozoans (like foraminiferans), crustaceans (like harpacticoid copepods and ostracods), nematodes (like marine round worms), spionid worms, and polychaete worms (cirratulids, syllids, capitellids, etc.).

What I also think that many people forget is that these animals themselves produce tons of food for SPS and other filter feeders. Some have particular larval or free-swimming stages of their life cycles while others eject sperm and eggs into the water - all of which become useful food sources for our inhabitants and are a natural food source similar to what is found in nature.

hart24601
02/09/2015, 12:06 PM
having first started BB back in the early 90's, then getting swept up in the sand wave in the early 2000's, i switched back to BB in 2004. after comparing the differences it was clear to me how much a substrate works for one environment, but not for another. i wanted to very low nutrients, and trying to do that with a substrate, was just ai have no regrets and i would not go back to a substrated system unless the must have organism requires it.

i have done straight up BB, and Epoxy Sand Bed.



if the purpose of the system is to keep the benthos, then all is good, but if the purpose is to grow certain corals, then the benthos is not beneficial, and can be detrimental.

all of the benthos is only accurate if they are found in the environment in which the must have organisms are found. for those keeping SPS, most of the time the answer is no. they may be in the LR, but out on the reeftop, sand is uncommon.

the point of going BB is to eliminate all of the unnecessary biomass. the benthos is not helping the system, it is just increasing the total amount of nutrients in the system. every organisms is an increase in total nutrients. detrital elimination as a primary goal in a system stops the nutrient increase before it can even get started. allows one to keep a fine control over the total nutrients in the system, both inorganic and organic.

all of that biomass can be beneficial if the goal of the system is to keep more inorganic nutrient needing organisms, but for those keeping low inorganic nutrient systems, they are not beneficial.

G~

Sums it up pretty well imo! Plus I always thought mixed reefs look good with sand, but SPS heavy look strange to me with sand as the reefs I have seen are rock bottom (ok, old coral skeletons) until you get outside the acro and stony-coral heavy areas on the fringe or lagoons.

CStrickland
02/09/2015, 12:25 PM
Interesting. Given the title of the thread, I would have thought someone would have posted by now saying they made the switch and it was a big mistake... Not a single regreter?

Sounds like the people who have done it are pretty happy, and the folks who never tried it are satisfied with their choice too.

PS gorgeous tank goskn5!

cody6766
02/09/2015, 12:39 PM
My take is, both have their place. If i had an all, or almost all, SPS tank, I'd probably go bare bottom. The same goes for a frag tank. I think, in those situations, ultra clean water trumps the better aesthetics and interest of a sand bed. I have a sand bed in my 120 that varies from .5 to 2 or 3 inches and it's completely full of micro fauna. it also augments my fuge as a pod farm. I dumped crushed coral at the rock-sand transitions, behind the rock and in the middle of rock piles. My mandarin spends most of his time there, so it must be working. I'm accepting increased detritus build up in exchange for a more interesting tank. I have a mixed reef and no coals that are notoriously hard to keep alive.

There are some awesome bare bottom tanks, but I always have issue with the rock-bottom transition. Sand smooths it and makes it look much better. I he this could be mitigated by using rubble or cutting the rock flat, but it's still not quite right.

GOSKI5, i think he meant that you COULD have a leeks box in minutes, nor that you do. I read it to mean that you could easily just pluck out the rocks and have a box of water. Also, i think you have one of the best, if not the best BB tank I've seen.


I think the answer to the big question is "it depends." Both systems have their merits and downfalls, and you have to establish your stocking goals, decide on flow levels, decide what you like to look at and make the call.

capecodder
02/09/2015, 12:53 PM
I'd just be careful if you have any big pieces of live rock that your rearranging...hate to drop it onto the bottom glass.

Reefin' Dude
02/09/2015, 01:02 PM
I'll disagree somewhat.

The additional biomass from sand-dwelling meiofauna/infauna is countered by the surface area of the substrate.

as in hiding it under the carpet. :D phosphates are only able to bind to open sites on the calcium carbonate matrix. the problem is that the bacteria are more than willing to utilize this phosphates. it is a game of give and take between the matrix and the bacteria, with detritus as the end result. this end result feed your benthos as it slowly migrates downward through the substrate. substrates are just big phosphate sinks. the problem is that in our systems, there is not a drain on the bottom of the sink. the detritus just keeps filling up. which is not a problem if one is wanting to keep higher inorganic needing organisms, as all of your benthos are providing for their well being. not so much for those wanting to keep low inorganic nutrient level needing organisms.

Many of these organisms also process and aid in the further export of nutrients through their metabolic processes. Will there be technically *more* waste created? Of course, but it will be completely negligible. Any correlation between an increase in nutrients and a sandbed is the result of care and husbandry of the substrate, and not additional biomass from the organisms.

how are the nutrients exported from a substrate? if it was, then what are all of those organisms eating? if nutrients migrate upwards through a substrate, then there would not be anything for the benthos to eat. substrates actually work the opposite. there is a slow migration of nutrients downward. pulling P from the water column, feeding the bacteria first, then the process moves down feeding higher organisms. it all works great until things get clogged with detritus and resources become limiting. mainly O2. the only way nutrients can get exported from a substrate is through physical removal.

substrates increase in nutrients. that is what they do. any google search using the terms phosphates, sediments, marine, and accumulation will get you plenty of reading material. even just looking up the phosphate cycle in any high school textbook will show how phosphates are cycled globally. our tanks are not any different. i know we wished it was not true, but it is.

There are also thousands of purely sand-dwelling organisms that can be found in reef tanks. I won't get into meiofaunal organisms considering their obscurity (like loriciferans), but there are many species of infauna that most have heard of that live purely in the substrate - numerous protozoans (like foraminiferans), crustaceans (like harpacticoid copepods and ostracods), nematodes (like marine round worms), spionid worms, and polychaete worms (cirratulids, syllids, capitellids, etc.).

just because they are found in our reef tanks does not mean that they are found in the numbers out on the reeftop biotope. if you have a substrate, then the organisms that live in it will be there also. that is why they live in substrates in the wild. if they live entirely in the substrate, then they must also poo entirely in the substrate. what goes in must go out. that is unless you train your benthos to crawl out of the substrate whenever they need to release waste. no organism is 100% efficient, where all material going in gets incorporated into its biomass. think about how much food you eat in a day. if all of that food were to be incorporated into your biomass, your mass would increase according to your intake. that is not the case, and is not the case with any mature organisms. an increasing population of organisms, just means that there is more food available, and more poo being produced. an total increase in N and P. just because the P and N are organically bound, does not mean that they are not in the system. they still need to be counted in the total system N and P. in a BB system. what you see is what you get biomass wise. there is not any hidden biomass in a substrate, whether that is bacteria, rotifers, worms, or kracken's. if the organism is there, then there has to be enough resources for it to live.

What I also think that many people forget is that these animals themselves produce tons of food for SPS and other filter feeders. Some have particular larval or free-swimming stages of their life cycles while others eject sperm and eggs into the water - all of which become useful food sources for our inhabitants and are a natural food source similar to what is found in nature.

that would be great if it were true. the majority of the food for SPS comes in on incoming tide. if what you said was true, then most of the feeding would occur on the outgoing tide. incoming tide is full of organically bound phosphates, outgoing tides are higher in inorganic nutrients. then there is the total amount of resources needed to support all of those organisms that are supposedly supply free food for the SPS. again a total increase in N and P of the system. every level of the food chain requires a significant amount of resources. why not just supply the resources necessary to support your must have organisms?

i understand that some people like the benthos, and i am all for that, but to say that the benthos is of any other benefit than for aquarist is misleading. each system should be designed for its must have organism. there is not going to be a one setup for all. we must understand the pros/cons of the different methods and devices we use to determine which devices/methodology will work the best for the ultimate goal.

G~

PhaneSoul
02/09/2015, 01:03 PM
I'll disagree somewhat.

The additional biomass from sand-dwelling meiofauna/infauna is countered by the surface area of the substrate. Many of these organisms also process and aid in the further export of nutrients through their metabolic processes. Will there be technically *more* waste created? Of course, but it will be completely negligible. Any correlation between an increase in nutrients and a sandbed is the result of care and husbandry of the substrate, and not additional biomass from the organisms..

this seems very contradictory to me. how is biomass countered by the surface area of the substrate? the substrate (specifically caco3 here) is in itself biomass. or there would be no ph buffering. unless the organism's are actively taking the nutrients and dumping them in your detritus bin OUTSIDE of the tank, they are in no way exporting anything. simply recycling them.
im sorry but that last sentence is just wrong. any increase in biomass IS an increase of nutrients, or when that biomass dies it would not contribute to nutrients.

There are also thousands of purely sand-dwelling organisms that can be found in reef tanks. I won't get into meiofaunal organisms considering their obscurity (like loriciferans), but there are many species of infauna that most have heard of that live purely in the substrate - numerous protozoans (like foraminiferans), crustaceans (like harpacticoid copepods and ostracods), nematodes (like marine round worms), spionid worms, and polychaete worms (cirratulids, syllids, capitellids, etc.).

What I also think that many people forget is that these animals themselves produce tons of food for SPS and other filter feeders. Some have particular larval or free-swimming stages of their life cycles while others eject sperm and eggs into the water - all of which become useful food sources for our inhabitants and are a natural food source similar to what is found in nature.

food sources at a price. the price is inorganic nutrients which are not good for sps. nutrient levels must be raised to support these organism's. and really, if your aiming for the lowest nutrient system that is best for your low nutrient needing species/critter/coral/whatever why add and rely on a food production source that at the same time is not only producing food but also a toxin to the system.

the same can be said for oil refineries and such, sure they provide us with a way to create electricity, power our cars and heat our buildings, at the price of dumping toxic chemicals into the same ocean that have created an obsessive hobby over. take that plan and apply its setup to our lil glass box with sand and a sps dominate tank and its just in the same only those toxic chemicals dont get pumped into a huge ocean but stay in the tank. ironic.

my 2c

slief
02/09/2015, 01:21 PM
Bare bottom or near bare bottom was one of the best things I did for my system. I still have few patches of sand but it's mostly bare. The upsides are no more scratches, no more detritus collecting on the bottom (I have tons of flow), much less nuisance algae and a cleaner look with less maintenance. My tank bottom is completely covered in coraline which make it look like the bottom is part of the live rock aquascape so it looks really good too.

That said, I do have a healthy deep sand bed in my below tank refugium that helps with bacterial surface but I also have about 1000 pounds of live rock in my system. As such, I have plenty of biological surface.

If you do decide to remove your sand, do so slowly over the course of several weeks. That was my approach and I had no issues. My tank always measures 0 nitrates and has overall very good parameters. In fact, my tank is arguably healthier as a result of the sand removal largely due to the fact that detritus no longer gets trapped in the sand bed which was a big problem prior to the removal of the sand and something that required much more maintenance.

As mentioned above, I have a lot of flow and use Tunze power heads controlled by my Apex to create surge effects that change throughout the day. There are profiles that I created to stir up anything that has settled and suspend it in the water column so it can go over my overflow and into my filter socks. I don't have any detritus issues anywhere in my tank as a result.

Fade2White12
02/09/2015, 02:03 PM
as in hiding it under the carpet. :D phosphates are only able to bind to open sites on the calcium carbonate matrix. the problem is that the bacteria are more than willing to utilize this phosphates. it is a game of give and take between the matrix and the bacteria, with detritus as the end result. this end result feed your benthos as it slowly migrates downward through the substrate. substrates are just big phosphate sinks. the problem is that in our systems, there is not a drain on the bottom of the sink. the detritus just keeps filling up. which is not a problem if one is wanting to keep higher inorganic needing organisms, as all of your benthos are providing for their well being. not so much for those wanting to keep low inorganic nutrient level needing organisms.

I already stated that excess nutrients re: substrates are the byproducts of a lack of care and husbandry - i.e. like physical removal. You're arguing something I already accept as truth. And again, why I said I disagree somewhat.

how are the nutrients exported from a substrate? if it was, then what are all of those organisms eating? if nutrients migrate upwards through a substrate, then there would not be anything for the benthos to eat. substrates actually work the opposite. there is a slow migration of nutrients downward. pulling P from the water column, feeding the bacteria first, then the process moves down feeding higher organisms. it all works great until things get clogged with detritus and resources become limiting. mainly O2. the only way nutrients can get exported from a substrate is through physical removal.

Many of the organisms are able to mobilize nutrients as they become soluble through the faunas' metabolic processes. They can then be utilized by, say, macroaglae for instance. It's an additional layer of processing detritus. And again, physical removal through normal husbandry will rid the tank of final-form detritus.

just because they are found in our reef tanks does not mean that they are found in the numbers out on the reeftop biotope. if you have a substrate, then the organisms that live in it will be there also. that is why they live in substrates in the wild. if they live entirely in the substrate, then they must also poo entirely in the substrate. what goes in must go out. that is unless you train your benthos to crawl out of the substrate whenever they need to release waste. no organism is 100% efficient, where all material going in gets incorporated into its biomass. think about how much food you eat in a day. if all of that food were to be incorporated into your biomass, your mass would increase according to your intake. that is not the case, and is not the case with any mature organisms. an increasing population of organisms, just means that there is more food available, and more poo being produced. an total increase in N and P. just because the P and N are organically bound, does not mean that they are not in the system. they still need to be counted in the total system N and P. in a BB system. what you see is what you get biomass wise. there is not any hidden biomass in a substrate, whether that is bacteria, rotifers, worms, or kracken's. if the organism is there, then there has to be enough resources for it to live.

Who care's if their numbers and ratios in our tanks are not wholly representative of the natural reef? We could never recreate that, in any system. Why even mention that? I was responding to your comment that BB wouldn't remove all of the "benthos" that I was referring to. And again, I am referring to sand-dwelling organisms, and provided a list of animals a BB tank would discourage or prohibit.

that would be great if it were true. the majority of the food for SPS comes in on incoming tide. if what you said was true, then most of the feeding would occur on the outgoing tide. incoming tide is full of organically bound phosphates, outgoing tides are higher in inorganic nutrients. then there is the total amount of resources needed to support all of those organisms that are supposedly supply free food for the SPS. again a total increase in N and P of the system. every level of the food chain requires a significant amount of resources. why not just supply the resources necessary to support your must have organisms?

It is true. I'm sorry, but SPS absolutely prey on zooplankton (and phyto, organic particulates, etc.). Here's (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dloJs9LMR4) a video of a Stylophora ingesting brine shrimp.

whosurcaddie
02/09/2015, 02:06 PM
Interesting. Given the title of the thread, I would have thought someone would have posted by now saying they made the switch and it was a big mistake... Not a single regreter?

Sounds like the people who have done it are pretty happy, and the folks who never tried it are satisfied with their choice too.

PS gorgeous tank goskn5!

I have tried it and regretted it. Hence my opinion against it. But its just that my opinion.

CStrickland
02/09/2015, 02:23 PM
I have tried it and regretted it. Hence my opinion against it. But its just that my opinion.

Oh cool, I thought your post was just general.
So you took out the sand and didn't like seeing the poo? Did you notice any change in your algae levels or growth rates? How long did you run each, and did you change anything else? What was your flow like, and what other equipment did you run? What was your stock?

Sorry so many questions, I'm curious :)

Reefin' Dude
02/09/2015, 02:57 PM
I already stated that excess nutrients re: substrates are the byproducts of a lack of care and husbandry - i.e. like physical removal. You're arguing something I already accept as truth. And again, why I said I disagree somewhat.

we agree that substrates need to siphoned of detritus in order for them to maintain their function as a nutrient sink? cool.

Many of the organisms are able to mobilize nutrients as they become soluble through the faunas' metabolic processes. They can then be utilized by, say, macroaglae for instance. It's an additional layer of processing detritus. And again, physical removal through normal husbandry will rid the tank of final-form detritus.

just another layer of resources needed. that is what i am saying. in order to have a layer of detrivores, there needs to be resources for these detrivores, if not, then they would not survive. all of this adds up to more and more biomass. biomass equals nutrients. until a biomass is removed it is still available for other organisms. algae is no different. one can not change the trophic state of a system by exporting algae. it is impossible. algae is to far down the nutrient food chain. in order for the algae to grow there must be nutrients available for it. the algae not growing would indicate that there are not enough resources for the algae. algae has to wait for the bacteria to release the N and P from the waste organic material. it is not able to get the N and P directly from the waste organic material. it is a day late and a dollar short to the nutrient party.

Who care's if their numbers and ratios in our tanks are not wholly representative of the natural reef? We could never recreate that, in any system. Why even mention that? I was responding to your comment that BB wouldn't remove all of the "benthos" that I was referring to. And again, I am referring to sand-dwelling organisms, and provided a list of animals a BB tank would discourage or prohibit.

i though that was the purpose of keeping a reef? are we not trying to recreate a natural environment for our must have organism? all of those benthos are additional resource users that are not necessary for the care of a reeftop organism. a BB is only going to be able to support the benthos necessary for the conversion of nutrients to detritus within the LR. using bacteria as a visual nutrient export mechanism. BB is just taking it to the root level. giving the must have organisms what it needs and removing its waste in a timely manner. no different than your house. bring in the food necessary and flush the toilet when done. :D

It is true. I'm sorry, but SPS absolutely prey on zooplankton (and phyto, organic particulates, etc.). Here's (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dloJs9LMR4) a video of a Stylophora ingesting brine shrimp.

ahh, did you not get what i said? organically bound nutrients are plankton. that is what i am saying. the corals are eating the plankton that is coming in on the incoming tides. the outgoing tides have more inorganically available nutrients. that whole being close to land problem and phosphate runoff. unfortunately, it goes back to any graphic showing the planetary phosphates cycle.

G~

Fade2White12
02/09/2015, 04:00 PM
just another layer of resources needed. that is what i am saying. in order to have a layer of detrivores, there needs to be resources for these detrivores, if not, then they would not survive. all of this adds up to more and more biomass. biomass equals nutrients. until a biomass is removed it is still available for other organisms. algae is no different. one can not change the trophic state of a system by exporting algae. it is impossible. algae is to far down the nutrient food chain. in order for the algae to grow there must be nutrients available for it. the algae not growing would indicate that there are not enough resources for the algae. algae has to wait for the bacteria to release the N and P from the waste organic material. it is not able to get the N and P directly from the waste organic material. it is a day late and a dollar short to the nutrient party.

Are you thinking that I'm advocating for introducing an additional food source for the fauna? I'm talking about letting their populations equalize based on the normal feeding of corals and fish. Again, the amount of nutrients produced by these organisms is inconsequential, and when considering the many effective ways we use to export (in)organic, this should be a non-issue.

i though that was the purpose of keeping a reef? are we not trying to recreate a natural environment for our must have organism? all of those benthos are additional resource users that are not necessary for the care of a reeftop organism. a BB is only going to be able to support the benthos necessary for the conversion of nutrients to detritus within the LR. using bacteria as a visual nutrient export mechanism. BB is just taking it to the root level. giving the must have organisms what it needs and removing its waste in a timely manner. no different than your house. bring in the food necessary and flush the toilet when done. :D

Whoever said that the organisms I'm talking about are "necessary?" I sure didn't. My original post stated that I advocate for substrate due to aesthetics and biodiversity - as well as the secondary benefits such biodiversity can provide. I stated they're valuable, not required. You're again arguing with yourself, or trying to manufacture something. I don't know.

ahh, did you not get what i said? organically bound nutrients are plankton. that is what i am saying. the corals are eating the plankton that is coming in on the incoming tides. the outgoing tides have more inorganically available nutrients. that whole being close to land problem and phosphate runoff. unfortunately, it goes back to any graphic showing the planetary phosphates cycle.

Again, you're arguing with yourself. I stated that "these animals themselves produce tons of food for SPS and other filter feeders. Some have particular larval or free-swimming stages of their life cycles while others eject sperm and eggs into the water - all of which become useful food sources for our inhabitants and are a natural food source similar to what is found in nature."

Your response was "that would be great if it were true." Why would you state that if you're arguing something different than my original assertion?

I'll just agree to disagree. I'm done engaging you here. I don't like to argue just to argue.

Reefin' Dude
02/09/2015, 04:26 PM
Are you thinking that I'm advocating for introducing an additional food source for the fauna? I'm talking about letting their populations equalize based on the normal feeding of corals and fish. Again, the amount of nutrients produced by these organisms is inconsequential, and when considering the many effective ways we use to export (in)organic, this should be a non-issue.

you must introduce additional food for the fauna. if the food is going to the must have organisms, and then the waste products are removed in a manner to maintain the trophic state needing to be replicated, than the fauna would never get going. in order to support diversity, you must feed the diversity. if the population is growing, then the food source must also be growing. if it were dying, then one would have a problem. :(

Whoever said that the organisms I'm talking about are "necessary?" I sure didn't. My original post stated that I advocate for substrate due to aesthetics and biodiversity - as well as the secondary benefits such biodiversity can provide. I stated they're valuable, not required. You're again arguing with yourself, or trying to manufacture something. I don't know.

i am just stating that biodiversity is not valuable in our systems. if may be if that is the purpose of your system, or if you are trying to keep a more eutrophic system, but in general, no. biodiversity is not valuable. i hear this argument all of the time. i am all for having a substrate for aesthetic reasons, but knowing the maintenance involved with this aesthetic choice needs to be understood. it is not put in and forget.

Again, you're arguing with yourself. I stated that "these animals themselves produce tons of food for SPS and other filter feeders. Some have particular larval or free-swimming stages of their life cycles while others eject sperm and eggs into the water - all of which become useful food sources for our inhabitants and are a natural food source similar to what is found in nature."

i am trying to point out that the direction from with the food comes from is important. or to be more specific , the form in which the nutrients arrive at the coral is very important. just saying that they feed on plankton is not very accurate. one needs to know primary nutrient form required or one could be spending a lot of extra resources correcting problems. :(

Your response was "that would be great if it were true." Why would you state that if you're arguing something different than my original assertion?

i am arguing the importance of the form in which nutrients get to various corals. those that promote substrates tend to lump all nutrients in together. those in the BB camp tend to split them in to inorganically available nutrients and organically available nutrients. knowing how different organisms deal with these different forms of nutrients is very important in understanding how one could be toxic to one and no to the other and vice versa.

I'll just agree to disagree. I'm done engaging you here. I don't like to argue just to argue.

i am sorry you feel that way. the point of going BB is not to be different, but to be able to control as many of the variables associated with keeping hard to keep organisms. going BB allows one to control the various forms of nutrients (mainly phosphates) to match their must have organisms. keeping all of the inorganic nutrients under control removes much of the equipment needed for keeping a reef. almost all of it is for the control of inorganic nutrients. GFO, carbon dosing, "reef salts", even strong lighting. take away the inorganic nutrients and the dependance on these resources become significantly less, if needed at all.

if a substrate is what you feel is needed to be aesthetically pleasing to you, then go for it. nobody is going to argue that. to say that biodiversity is one of the benefit is misleading and is not going to be true unless the system is emulating an eutrophic biotope.

G~

Fade2White12
02/09/2015, 06:00 PM
:deadhorse:

Ronald Shimek would disagree with most of your statements (and probably be confused at your insistence on arguing non-argued points). He's written several books attesting the exact opposite, and many specifically about infauna. I suggest you pick up some copies.

:beer:

Reefin' Dude
02/09/2015, 08:53 PM
:deadhorse:

Ronald Shimek would disagree with most of your statements (and probably be confused at your insistence on arguing non-argued points). He's written several books attesting the exact opposite, and many specifically about infauna. I suggest you pick up some copies.

:beer:

if you believe what Shimek said, then you have a lot to learn about the nutrient cycle and how sediments really work. there is a reason why Shimek is no longer on RC. you might want to talk to some people about this before you bring up that name again. just saying. i will give you the benefit of the doubt being that you joined RC after 2005 when it all went down. the hobby is still reeling from the "Sand Experts".

G~

d2mini
02/09/2015, 08:56 PM
I'd get arrested if I went bare bottom. :hmm2:

PhaneSoul
02/09/2015, 09:40 PM
:deadhorse:

Ronald Shimek would disagree with most of your statements (and probably be confused at your insistence on arguing non-argued points). He's written several books attesting the exact opposite, and many specifically about infauna. I suggest you pick up some copies.

:beer:

if you believe what Shimek said, then you have a lot to learn about the nutrient cycle and how sediments really work. there is a reason why Shimek is no longer on RC. you might want to talk to some people about this before you bring up that name again. just saying. i will give you the benefit of the doubt being that you joined RC after 2005 when it all went down. the hobby is still reeling from the "Sand Experts".

G~

Yep, My post several posts up is probably worth more then Shimek's name is now in the intrest of science.

If you would like some REAL science information brought to the table on how several things in our aquariums work I would suggest you visit this thread:

RIGHT HERE (http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/some-light-reading-for-you-all-191201.html?highlight=geoff+bookmark)

not only is it good stuff but some of it isn't only discussions, but discussions with research papers, articles, experiments, ect brought forth for discussion to find out what exactly is going on. you would be amazed at some of the stuff. for instance did you know fish can tolerate high levels of nitrite?

whosurcaddie
02/09/2015, 09:44 PM
Oh cool, I thought your post was just general.
So you took out the sand and didn't like seeing the poo? Did you notice any change in your algae levels or growth rates? How long did you run each, and did you change anything else? What was your flow like, and what other equipment did you run? What was your stock?

Sorry so many questions, I'm curious :)

Film algae was reduced. I ran BB for about 4 months. I ran filter socks and added tons of flow. I had two wp-25's 1 rw-15 two fluval cp4's 1400gph in each corner pointing straight down to prevent buildup on the bottom and one maxi jet 1200 with the sure flow mod 2000gph in the middle back glass pointing straight down. With all of this flow over 102X turnover I still had poop collecting on the bottom.

PeteC
02/10/2015, 07:40 AM
+1 for not regretting BB. I mean remember its pretty easy to reverse the decision, assuming your sand needs changing or cleaning because its dirty anyway, just pour it back in, that was my feeling. The old sand plus a sack of new sand is still in the garage where I took it 3 years ago or so though, I've never had an impulse to put it back in whatsoever!

I missed the look of sand a lot at first though, and even now I think I like the look of sand, plus the critters you see in it. But OTOH having no sand gives you so much control over your nutrient levels. I do believe you can keep your tank fairly low nute with sand, but I think its trickier. Plenty of zeo tanks have sand and are very ULN. Sand just absorbs nutes for a year or so, then starts to release it slowly. No problem there but if anythign happens like you move a rock, you get an injection of nutes and H2S to the water. If the sand decides to start releasing faster than you feed it with nutes, you get problems etc. Difficult to control the sand bed leach rates IMO. If youre lucky then great, but when your luck changes if you have sensitive organisims, you have a problem.

I think having no sand just makes it easier to balance an ULN system. You have very little nutes stored in the system. Just whats in the water and a little P bound to rock, if the rock is bare CaCO3 type rock. EG if you decide to use GFO to reduce PO4, theres no reservoir of PO4 to fight that change. No tank accidents can inject nutes into the water.

OTOH I did find my tank nutes got too low, before I realised how effective BB was. Things stopped growing. I had to dose inorganic nitrate and phosphate in the end. Now I realise that natural reefs have very low inorganic nitrate and phosphate, I want to try a method to keep organic N and P in the water, with very low inorganic N and P, so BB is a natural choice.

I never saw much zooplankton from my sand bed personally, just detritus. The sand kept it while it broke down into dust. That dust does feed things like worms and coepods which are cool, but I never saw plankton much in the water column unless something stirred the sand up, which generally was negative on SPS because of the nute / H2S spike. And my experience was that the dust irritates SPS.

As for detritus build up on BB bottom, I arranged my flow to reduce this. There are a couple of spots it does build up and my plan, when I get time, is to make a coarse grate out of steel rod inside PVC tube, to lift the whole rock structure off the bottom, and have a couple of pumps creating strong flow across the bottom of the tank to chop up detritus so it floats more and gets skimmed. It dosent seem that essential but it will also make the rock 'float' in the water a bit, which I think might recreate the appearance of coral outcrops in the natural reefs, and compensate for the loss of the 'nice looking' sand.

PhaneSoul
02/10/2015, 08:41 AM
How can you tell the dust irritates sps?

reefgeezer
02/10/2015, 08:47 AM
I ran my tank BB for a very long time. It did allow high flow and made removing solid wastes easy. I was never really thrilled with the look though. A few months ago, I decided I wanted to put Wrasses in the tank so I added < 2" of mixed grade aragonite. The power heads (2 RW8's) rearranged it a little so now it's about 3" in a few spots and well less than 1" in others. I'm much happier with the look.

So far, the tank is doing just as well as it did bare bottom. The bed is just for looks so I do keep it clean. FWIW, I wouldn't suggest putting in a really deep sand bed. I also like the mixed grade aragonite because you can still have pretty high flow inside the tank without disturbing it too much.

PhaneSoul
02/10/2015, 09:52 AM
I ran my tank BB for a very long time. It did allow high flow and made removing solid wastes easy. I was never really thrilled with the look though. A few months ago, I decided I wanted to put Wrasses in the tank so I added < 2" of mixed grade aragonite. The power heads (2 RW8's) rearranged it a little so now it's about 3" in a few spots and well less than 1" in others. I'm much happier with the look.

So far, the tank is doing just as well as it did bare bottom. The bed is just for looks so I do keep it clean. FWIW, I wouldn't suggest putting in a really deep sand bed. I also like the mixed grade aragonite because you can still have pretty high flow inside the tank without disturbing it too much.

yep, I think that's pretty much the only way to go to ensure YOU are controlling nutrients and are able to have the look, the feel, aragonite, the sand in our lives ;)

PeteC
02/10/2015, 10:30 AM
How can you tell the dust irritates sps?

Can't be sure I admit. But polyps closed for a time generally proportional to how much 'marine dust' as I call it was stirred up. Like a few hours to a couple of days or longer even. Mind you that was only my marine dust, maybe others stuff is healthier. And also its hard for me to separate the effects of H2S and nutrients from the effects of the dust. If the dust is just a visible proxy for the nutes / H2S, then maybe its not the dust, but the nutes. That said I did not see polyps closing when I dosed nutes in inorganic form. Organics perhaps? But I dose organics and see the opposite effect on polyps. One particular type of organic not found in fresh food perhaps, or otherwise it has to be dust or H2S, or perhaps organic nutes.

I am not arguing against sand beds, I suspect I will have one again some time in the future, maybe not in my main tank though. I would hate for sand beds to not be seen anymore as they look nice and I like the life associated with them. Its just a choice between what type of tank you want. IMO if you want really good control, BB is best, but for a softie tank, maybe sand is actually best because its a constant drip of nutrients and organics to the water.

Anyway zeovit seems to prove that you can be on the edge with SPS but still have sand, so my opinion is clearly just whats right for me, not anyone else!

PhaneSoul
02/10/2015, 12:05 PM
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2013/12/aafeature

Detritus

Detritus is a collective term for organic particles that arise from faeces, leftover food and decaying organisms. Detrital matter is common on coral reefs and in the aquarium, and slowly settles on the bottom as sediment. This sediment contains bacteria, protozoa, microscopic invertebrates, microalgae and organic material. These sedimentary sources can all serve as coral nutrients when suspended, especially for species growing in turbid waters. Experiments have revealed that many scleractinian corals can ingest and assimilate detritus (e.g. Anthony 1999,2000; Anthony and Fabricius 2000; Roff et al. 2009), which is trapped in coral mucus.

Although stony corals may ingest detritus when it is available, several gorgonians have been found to primarily feed on suspended detritus. For example, the Mediterranean gorgonians Corallium rubrum, Paramuricea clavata and Leptogorgia sarmentosa acquire most of their carbon as detritus (Ribes et al. 1999; Tsounis et al. 2006). This also seems true for some of their tropical counterparts, such as Menella and Swiftia spp. These gorgonians readily capture and ingest small pelleted fish feeds in the aquarium.


are you sure its not just a feeding response?

CStrickland
02/10/2015, 12:08 PM
just don't clean with a magic erasure, they'll get so full on the particles they won't have room for any detritus ;)

PhaneSoul
02/10/2015, 12:47 PM
that definition almost makes me want to put 100X flow in my sump to keep detritus suspended throughout the system indefinatly. if I did that coupled with a low input of food, only feeding when I cant see anything suspended in the water column; I wonder how that would work. from my thoughts it would keep detritus/food suspended in the water column 24/7 making any time dinner time! hmmm

Reefin' Dude
02/10/2015, 01:10 PM
not a bad idea for a lagoon system, but for a reeftop system, probably not so good. waste organic material is generally activity being worked on by bacteria. slowly decomposing. this will convert some of the material to inorganic nutrients. good for the lagoon organisms, not so much for the reef top ones.

you would also be fighting the skimmer.

worth a try for sure.

G~

PhaneSoul
02/10/2015, 01:15 PM
good thing im not really into sps coral ;) just the methods used to keep a tank clean allowing sps to thrive and applying them (with modification of course to allow nutrients for coral) in a softies system

imo its better to start with a tank that stays clean and modify it to create nutrients then to start with a tank that creates a lot of nutrients and modify it to be clean

smatter
02/10/2015, 02:22 PM
if you believe what Shimek said, then you have a lot to learn about the nutrient cycle and how sediments really work. there is a reason why Shimek is no longer on RC. you might want to talk to some people about this before you bring up that name again. just saying. i will give you the benefit of the doubt being that you joined RC after 2005 when it all went down. the hobby is still reeling from the "Sand Experts".

G~

:beer: I'll drink to that.

PeteC
02/10/2015, 02:26 PM
are you sure its not just a feeding response?

Well, its very different to the response I get when I feed, but its not impossible thats just because its 'different' food. Feeding response in my experience is much shorter lived.

I've recently been studying a lot about reef food cycles and I want to discuss some stuff I have learnt / theories here soon, don't have time tonight and its probably something for its own thread. But essentially the significant part of that to this thread is that while the bacterial floc produced by heterotrophic bacteria is indeed good food for marine organisims, probably including corals, the same can not be banked on for stuff like fish excreta. There have been studies that show that if excreta (ie material rich in ammonia, nitrogen and phosphate, and organics) is 'upgraded' by allowing bacteria to consume it, which required the input of a large amount of organic carbon (in the form of carbohydrate in the studies I have been reading), it is transformed from something that is high in protein, and has high food value, without detracting from water quality.

Some might say that that happens in a sand bed fed by vodka or vinegar, and that might be true.

Significantly though, the organic carbon present in excreta is by far insufficient to allow the upgrading of the nutrients by bacteria to biomass.

Regardless, the sand bed is not an essential part of that loop. A tank with or without sand will require a certain amount of carbohydrates (vodka, vinegar) to process a certain amount of nutrients present in excreta, and given that carbs, heterotrophic bacteria will directly use nutrients in the form of ammonia, nitrate and phosphate, to form microbial biomass, which is high quality, protein rich food for shrimp and tipila at least. I think thats a good reason to think it might be good food for corals, and methods like zeovit, which encourage 'mulm' release into the water, seem to agree with that.

Whether larger zooplankton are required, I am not sure, because I thought I read recently an article that said that most SPS corals can't catch particles of food large enough to see (which might be where microbial biomass comes in for them). But if zooplankton are useful, I assume the microbial biomass these studies are describing would be ideal food for it (zooplankton).

Lastly I also read that systems that use a substrate in the form of something called aquamat performed better at upgrading nutrients to protein. The substrate I assume provided a place to attach and multiply faster in simple terms. Sand might do that too, although my own suspicion is that some other artificial material would be better.

Reefin' Dude
02/10/2015, 02:33 PM
i have found that it is difficult to feed a properly set up BB system to much. they really need to be fed for all of the reasons you just mentioned. the food we put into the system is high value, while the organic waste products are low value. a strong BB system will be pulling or accumulating the low value waste quickly driving it from availability for unwanted organisms.

those that i have seen that have had problems going to BB are those that still worry about nutrient build up from having systems designed as nutrient sinks for so many years. it is a different mind set and does take some getting used to.

G~

PhaneSoul
02/10/2015, 02:40 PM
good stuff pete. when u get some time can you link to some articles so I can also read them?

jimrawr
02/10/2015, 08:43 PM
i have found that it is difficult to feed a properly set up BB system to much. they really need to be fed for all of the reasons you just mentioned. the food we put into the system is high value, while the organic waste products are low value. a strong BB system will be pulling or accumulating the low value waste quickly driving it from availability for unwanted organisms.

those that i have seen that have had problems going to BB are those that still worry about nutrient build up from having systems designed as nutrient sinks for so many years. it is a different mind set and does take some getting used to.

G~

Sorry but could you elaborate your first sentence? Do you mean that you find it difficult to OVERFEED a BB system? As in you can feed a lot without having to worry too much about organic waste?

Not sure why I cant follow what you are saying here..

PhaneSoul
02/10/2015, 09:35 PM
[QUOTE=jimrawr;23494587]Do you mean that you find it difficult to OVERFEED a BB system? As in you can feed a lot without having to worry too much about organic waste?

QUOTE]

that's pretty much exactly right. with the extremely high flow, minimal to no detritus settlement anywhere you don't want it to be, its like you feed and pow its all in your collection area for easy removal

slief
02/10/2015, 09:43 PM
[QUOTE=jimrawr;23494587]Do you mean that you find it difficult to OVERFEED a BB system? As in you can feed a lot without having to worry too much about organic waste?

QUOTE]

that's pretty much exactly right. with the extremely high flow, minimal to no detritus settlement anywhere you don't want it to be, its like you feed and pow its all in your collection area for easy removal

That's my experience. I've got a lot of fish and I feed an insane amount and have absolutely no detritus issues. I designed my flow and my Tunze programming to solve that issue and between the closed loop dart gold that exhausts via a manifold dead center in my tank circling the center overflow and my well programmed Tunze's, detritus or uneaten food can't settle. Heck, sand can't even settle under my rocks as a result of the closed loop setup. Several times a day my Tunze's go into my flush profile that I came up with and kick anything that could have settle up into the water column where they find their way into the overflow. Then my four 7" filter socks catch it for easy removal. I don't have detritus issues and I don't nitrate issues ever. When I had a display full of sand years back, that wasn't the case.

CStrickland
02/10/2015, 09:58 PM
Sorry but could you elaborate your first sentence? Do you mean that you find it difficult to OVERFEED a BB system? As in you can feed a lot without having to worry too much about organic waste?

Phane has a BB so he knows better than I, but this is how I think of it.
If I read Pete correctly, since reefin' dude was responding to that post, he's saying that the high bacteria systems like zeovit, (and maybe carbon dosing?) might allow the biofilter to process less useful (low-value) fish waste into something corals like to eat (high-value). Like pollution reduction by conversion. It's easier if I don't think of compounds in the tank as good and bad. The fish waste is good sometimes, and bad others. It is what it is.

Another way to get the same result would be avoiding the extra step: letting the skimmer remove the fish waste, and feeding high quality food to the organisms you want to keep. The combination of high DT flow, and a sump set up that matches this goal allows BB tankers a finer control over their systems, making it easier to grow things that are persnickety, or combine things with different needs (because that narrows the margin of error). So old habits about tightly controlling food input are not helpful because whatever isn't used doesn't hang around to be upgraded; but so much sandy reefing is focused on nutrient reduction that I can see how it would be easy to overshoot the mark, and have phos deficient tank. It would be harder to overfeed a system like that, but underfeeding could hurt it because you don't have that sandbed cushion, and you are not relying on recycled poo to feed coral. It could get too "clean" (a term I don't like to use).

Basically, the nutrients can be good or bad like anything, algae really likes it and I guess could snatch it up before it gets sent along to the coral if you don't dose your zeovit right, or skip a couple doses of carbon? Corals need some too, but not too much, fish gotta eat, etc. The BB sounds easier to me because you are not relying on the sand to house the upgrading bacteria and just hoping the balance works out, you just feed your pets.
but I like how sand looks, and my critters are cute diggin' in it so I've got some :)

tfp
02/10/2015, 10:18 PM
after awhile, you won't even notice...

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16252512780" title="aussie by Tim Plaza, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8601/16252512780_47a39391e5_o.jpg" width="1200" height="900" alt="aussie"></a>

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16439924565" title="chalices by Tim Plaza, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7392/16439924565_d529786688_o.jpg" width="1200" height="900" alt="chalices"></a>

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16439919405" title="fish2 by Tim Plaza, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7310/16439919405_7f93ccae2b_o.jpg" width="1600" height="1200" alt="fish2"></a>

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16252256248" title="zoas-yumas by Tim Plaza, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7431/16252256248_261fcfea81_o.jpg" width="1200" height="900" alt="zoas-yumas"></a>

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16252510810" title="end-right by Tim Plaza, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8588/16252510810_6e522b6ea8_o.jpg" width="1200" height="900" alt="end-right"></a>

wetWolger
02/10/2015, 10:46 PM
That's a beautiful BB tank tfp!

When the corals get close to the rocks, do they just stop growing due to lack light, or are any of them starting to grow up the rocks?

PhaneSoul
02/10/2015, 10:49 PM
okay. I was not interested in sps until I saw that tank. that is the only beautiful sps tank I have ever seen! I absolutely love it! esp that first pic! AND ITS EVEN STOCKED WITH THE REAL TANG POLICE!

PeteC
02/11/2015, 05:01 AM
OK got a bit of time now. Just want to say, I dont think I am introducing anything new here, just a bit of reading material that I never found before and that explains some questions I had regarding why carbon dosing works as it does. I guess the big guys already know all this stuff but for anyone like me who didnt this might be interesting.

So this 'upgrading' I am talking about - from what I understand its just what we all call carbon dosing, and many if not most of us are doing it now. Theres a nice paper here that talks about it:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004484860600216X

They talk about the 3 pathways of 'nitrogen conversion' - essentially nutrient management for intensive aquaculture. Intensive aquaculture is interesting because they are trying to keep lots of stock in small volumes of water, and keep water quality high for survival of the stock, quite similar to what we do.

They list the 3 methods, but what interests me is the last - 'heterotrophic bacterial conversion of ammonia–nitrogen directly to microbial biomass'. Within the latter detail section, its the very last topic discussed (they discuss mixed systems first). Heterotrophic (carbon consuming) conversion of ammonia-nitrogen (meaning conversion of ammonia itself) directly to microbial mass (skipping the usual steps we are all used to, conversion of ammonia to nitrite first, then nitrate, before converting nitrate either to algae or bacteria mass).

So nitrogen is taken out in the form of ammonia before it even gets to nitrite, and this is whats happening when we dose vodka or vinegar. As long as the amounts of vodka / vinegar are enough. Carbon = vodka, vinegar, sugar, etc.

The paper talks about various carbon balances (IE carbon : nitrogen ratios, which means how much carbon you dose per gram of food going into the tank) and sets out the theoretical amount of carbon you need to dose per gram of food dosed. It also describes why normal food does not have enough carbon it in for the bacteria to convert all the waste from that food into biomass. In a nutshell, you add food, which is eaten and excreted. The excreta is degraded, and has had a lot of carbon based energy taken out of it (IE its depleted in carbon sources like sugars). Even when it goes in the tank its already depleted in sugars usually, if its fish etc (theres too little carbon it in compared to the nutrients, or its too nutrient rich).

So whats left in the tank, whether the food is eaten or not, is a lot of nutrients (specifically nitrogen in this case - we are talking about TAN, total ammonia nitrogen). Normally there would be a little bit of carbon in the tank from the food, and heterotrophic bacteria will eat the carbon for energy and combine this carbon with oxygen, creating CO2 (like we do when we eat sugar). In doing so, they will multiply, create new bacterial biomass, and use some nutrients (ammonia). This biomass will be available as food for plankton, corals, fish etc,

But theres not enough carbon in the food or excreta for the amount of nutrients. So once the carbon is all used up, other bacteria take over. These (the old style, pre carbon dosing nitrifing bacteria of aquaria) bacteria convert ammonia to nitrite, then to nitrate, and then (hopefully, eventually) somewhere in live rock, the nitrate is turned into nitrogen gas and finally released from the tank.

Alternatively, photoautotrophic pathways can take the ammonia or nitrate and remove nitrogen that way (algae scrubber).

These pathways are not exclusive and can work side by side. The heterotrophic bacteria are by far the fastest and most competitive of the bacteria, but they stop working when the carbon runs out. To keep them doing all the work, carbon is dosed. If you dose enough carbon, nitrifing bacteria are out competed and will never turn any ammonia into nitrite / nitrate. Even if a little nitrate is formed, the heterotrophic bacteria can utilise this nitrate to make biomass anyway. So all ammonia and urea excreted in the tank will be quickly turned directly into biomass, which is resistant to degradation (its not likely to die / rot itself and release ammonia back into the tank), and its also a high protein food for shrimp and some fish (and I personally suspect corals, but I have found no paper to back that up yet, just the zeovit mulm business).

This is now a leading method to grow foods like shrimp for human consumption and theres lots of data about it, much of which is a great read for those wanting to understand carbon dosing and why it works.

Of course the biomass (bacteria) might also be skimmed out, or caught in GAC, providing an export method from the tank. Or it might be consumed in the tank by the creatures we keep.

Whats interesting is that total available nitrogen build up in the tank is reduced because of a few factors. There is only one step needed to remove nitrogen from the water and turn it into something which algae finds hard to consume, and that process is fast and efficient (so algae nutrients are kept low). The heterotrophic bacteria are the fastest multiplying nitrogen removing bacteria so they can respond fastest to addition of nitrogen, once again keeping water more hostile for algae. Possibly, from what I have read, keeping inorganic nitrogen low but allowing organic nitrogen like biomass to get a bit higher might be more similar to natural reef water, and corals might like that (great barrier reef inorganic nitrogen is typically 0.01 ppm or less).

How does this relate to the sand bed? Well, my take is that the sand bed was essential in the old era, before carbon dosing. Nitrifying bacteria lived in it and it managed nutrients somewhat. When dosing carbon though, firstly there seems no need for anerobic zones, which old style denitryfing bacteria required, and found in the sand bed. Secondly, if detritus falls to the sand bed and becomes even slightly anerobic, heterotrophic bacteria, with their high oxygen demand, will not be able to work as efficiently, and some nitrate might be formed. Thirdly, waste even slightly buried in sand will need carbon dosed into the water to diffuse into the sand bed, once again reducing how effectively heterotropic bacteria will be able to process the nutrients. Together to me that adds up to sand beds encouraging old style autotrophic nutrient processing (ie the ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrate - > nitrogen pathway), and hence inhibiting carbon fed heterotrophic (ammonia -> biomass) nutrient processing.

So to me it seems that if you are a carbon doser and want to go for 100% heterotrophic nutrient management with its attendant water quality parameters found by experience in the reef community and in professional aquaculture, a sand bed might not be the best way to achieve that. With the warning that heterotrophic nutrient management requires good gas exchange to release CO2 and increase oxygen in the water (IE a decent skimmer). On the other hand if you want reduced biomass generation in your tank, nitrogen management which eventually, if everything is working right, releases nitrogen as gas, less CO2 build up in your tank, less oxygen demand, a sand bed might be better, although total inorganic nitrogen in your water will probably not be as low as with heterotrophic nutrient management.

Its probably not accurate to associate sand beds with not carbon dosing, as I say zeovit and many (most?) aquarists use both together, and maybe the actual situation is that despite the sand bed autotrophic processes competing with the carbon dosed heterotrophic processes, the latter is so powerful that it immediately grabs nitrate released from the sand bed and turns it into biomass just as if it had gotten immediate access to the ammonia before it even reached the sand. But I can not see any useful purpose that the sand provides in this chain, and it can only increase total inorganic nitrogen in the water from what I can see, even if its only by a tiny amount. Further since it adds a huge source of nitrogen if its disturbed, it adds the potential for release of that nitrogen, which combined with carbon dosing (specially if there is a build up of carbon in the tank), means the oxygen demand and CO2 production of the tank under this accident scenario would become quite toxic to fish, if not corals. Without sand, and with well designed flow keeping detritus in the water column in 'real time' as its produced, passing through pumps repeatedly, being physically broken up and hence becoming available to heterotrophic bacteria very quickly, nutrient conversion to a form which is not available to algae (a complex organic form aka biomass) would seem to be optimal to me, as well as creating a constant bacterial protein rich food for the corals and other similar feeders.

As a last point I read in another paper that shrimp fed with this 'live food' seemed to do better for some unidentified reason that the researchers speculated might be due to some 'live food growth factor'.

Google search 'heterotrophic bacterial conversion of ammonia–nitrogen directly to microbial biomass' for plenty more papers and studies for more reading.

PeteC
02/11/2015, 05:34 AM
@CStrickLand,

Another way to get the same result would be avoiding the extra step: letting the skimmer remove the fish waste, and feeding high quality food to the organisms you want to keep

IMO not entirely - remember a lot of the waste is liquid and not skimmable (ammonia being the main thing in mind).

I think its fine to remove the solid fish waste and I think that just eases the demand on the system to process waste. As pellets of fish excreta break apart for instance they will release ammonia which needs to be converted to biomass by heterotropic bacteria, meaning extra CO2 production and extra oxygen demand, and extra biomass generated. Fine if you want the extra biomass like the shrimp breeders do, but we probably dont need it. So I think removal of solid excreta just aids the whole process, reducing the demand on the heterotropic process, if you can do it.

The ammonia already free in the water though will need to be processed regardless of whether you remove detritus, so thats where carbon dosing comes in. That will convert it to biomass which is food for corals, filter feeders and probably shrimp etc living in a refugium, or it might be possible to skim it out, but pretty much for sure GAC will remove it, for nutrient export.

PhaneSoul
02/11/2015, 06:57 AM
Some interesting stuff.

Essentially you could cycle a tank within a week (guesstimating) with carbon dosing then since heterotrophic bacteria are able to multiply so fast.

There are a few things that get me, so I'll ask some questions, I won't have time to do much for a few hours and I'll do some searching then.

Are hetero's consuming phos in this cycle
Can hetero's purge LR of nutrients like the guys in the classic nitrogen cycle

PeteC
02/11/2015, 07:59 AM
you could cycle a tank within a week

Feeding carbon seems to remove the concept of a cycle completely. There was a powerpoint type study I looked at, didnt keep the link but might be able to find it again. It regarded intensive shrimp rearing. They had 9 tanks with 3 styles of nutrient management in triplicate. The carbon fed tanks had no cycle, wheras the others did (ammonia spike). The carbon tank nutrient graphs were straight horizontal lines with no spike of anything at all. That makes sense since the hetrotrophics are so efficient and quick to multiply, as well as being 'tougher' and more resistant to washout etc than the anerobes. They seem for this reason to be by far the best method of inorganic nitrogen management.

I have no info regarding LR cycling but my personal speculation is that hetrotrophics might be less efficent to clean live rock. The reason is that live rock apparently has significant porosity with nutrients inside the rock. Hetrotrophics are purely aerobic and cant operate without oxygen AFAIK. So hetrographs would not operate inside the rock. That said, what leaches out of the rock wil be efficiently processed to bacterial biomass by carbon dosing & hetrotrophic bacteria I believe. If LR cycling requires anerobic processes inside the rock then hetrographic bacteria wont help that, but I'm not sure if carbon dosing might help the anerobic processes - that info is probably somewhere in that link I posted if read carefully (no time myself now).

Now as for phosphate, this is where I am at the moment in my 'study'. The big issue with aquaculture is ammonia and nitrogen, not phosphates, so there seems to me far less reading material concerning phosphate. But I have read that protein synthesis requires phosphate. so my reasoning is that if hetrotrophic bacteria creates protein biomass, it must be incorporating phosphate, despite it not being mentioned in the equations in that link (or others). I want to know more about this and I hope that if I start a thread about it in the chemistry forum, some of the chemists (I gues mainly Randy) will be able to help with that question.

I'm fairly obsessed with phosphate at the mo, and its balance on natural reefs at about 3 ppb inorganic, 3 ppb organic (thats P not PO4). Its so far below what I thought was 'right'. So knowing how P would relate to N in this biomass that the hetrotrophics produce would be really key to understanding this process for me.

Reefin' Dude
02/11/2015, 08:05 AM
Sorry but could you elaborate your first sentence? Do you mean that you find it difficult to OVERFEED a BB system? As in you can feed a lot without having to worry too much about organic waste?

Not sure why I cant follow what you are saying here..

sorry, that was poorly written.

Correct.

what i was trying to get at and what has come out with PeteC's fantastic post, is that in a BB system we are supplying high quality foods, and not relying on any of the low quality waste products for food. the organisms are getting what they want, and not getting the low stuff shoved down their throats because it is around (i am talking reef top here, the opposite would be true for a lagoon biotope). if all of the left over high quality food is taken out of the equation almost as fast as it goes in, then there is no reason not to just feed as often as you can or want to. i was feeding 5 times a day when i was keeping Crinoids. 3 times during daylight hours and twice at night when they were out. the corals also loved it, and of course the fish did also. the organisms we keep feed as often as they can in the wild.


Are hetero's consuming phos in this cycle
Can hetero's purge LR of nutrients like the guys in the classic nitrogen cycle

yes, all organisms need P.

hetero's are not able to liberate phosphates from a substrate, they are free range feeding phosphates.

Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria and Alkaline Phosphatase Activity in Coastal Waters off Trivandrum** (http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mamatha_Shivararamu/publication/263973133_Phosphate_Solubilizing_Bacteria_and_Alkaline_Phosphatase_Activity_in_Coastal_Waters_off_Tr ivandrum/links/0deec53c791597031f000000.pdf?origin=publication_detail)

this is actually a piece of a puzzle i was missing. i expect this is why people have problems with algae on their calcium carbonate structures when they slow down or stop C dosing. the PSB's were starved of C because the THB's were utilizing it all up, and the P was able to hang out on the matrix all happy like. when C dosing slows or stops. the PSB's get resources and start cranking. fueling algae.

G~

PeteC
02/11/2015, 08:09 AM
Here that paper is:

http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/ista/ISTA7/RecircWorkshop/Workshop%20PP%20%20&%20Misc%20Papers%20Adobe%202006/7%20Biofiltration/Microbial%20Floc%20Systems/2006%20Roanoke%20-%20Understanding%20Trophic%20Systems%20%20Ebeling.pdf

Down near the end are the graphs of the cycles.

all organisms need P.

Well thats what I thought but equation 16 on that first link I posted which deals with the heterotrophic bacteria seems to suggest otherwise, so I am a bit confused here. But protein needs P apparently. So some clarification / further reading is required for me at the mo. The equation shows the N incorporated into the biomass but no P.

Reefin' Dude
02/11/2015, 08:28 AM
it doesn't help much that P is also converted and transferred within an organism if needed. the best super simple analogy that i have heard is to think of P like water in an organism. we all need it. if we take in more than we need, we push it out, if we are running low, we hold on to it a bit harder. the phosphate rabbit hole is along one. it gets crazy when ATP and ADP get into the picture.

i believe P is not shown because it is an energy component of the equation and not an actual product or reactant in the reaction. i think this is where we get lost. we ignore P because it does not show up on the reactions because it is not there doing the reacting, but providing the energy needed to sustain life.

G~

PeteC
02/11/2015, 08:37 AM
I agree it might not be being shown so that the equations are 'simplified' to whats important to the paper, which is dealing with ammonia and nitrogen. But without proof I dont want to assume that and find out later that its wrong! So either another paper needs to be found whcih explains it, or one of the experts will have to fill in the gaps IMO.

Reefin' Dude
02/11/2015, 08:56 AM
here are some threads that might help. there were equivalent threads here on RC, but they were destroyed in a server problem back in 2005.

Why are people so afraid to talk about phosphates? (http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f77/why-are-people-so-afraid-to-talk-about-phosphates-28107.html?highlight=kalk+protein+skimmer+phosphates)

Can Phosphate levels be too low? (http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f77/can-phosphate-levels-be-too-low-41637.html?highlight=calcium+levels)

i will see if i can find a few more. the best method for hunting down info on this on RC is to look for posts by Boomer.

G~

jimrawr
02/11/2015, 09:03 AM
Thanks for the clarification. Yeah, who doesnt want to have nice healthy fat fish? Feeding more seems to lead to healthier corals as long as you are able to export the nutrients well.

Reefin' Dude
02/11/2015, 11:16 AM
sorry, in my previous thread i meant to type Bomber, not Boomer.

G~

PeteC
02/11/2015, 01:21 PM
Unfortunately I could not read those threads Reefin dude, they seem to be members only. Can you post a quick summary?

i expect this is why people have problems with algae on their calcium carbonate structures when they slow down or stop C dosing

I suspect that part of the problem might be because the heterotrophic ammonia consumers apparently outcompete autotrophic ammonia consuming bacteria as is described in the first link IIRC, and with no autotrophic ammonia population, and considering they are slow growing, you are at stage 1 of a cycle as if it were a new tank if you have been feeding enough carbon to keep the tank 100% heterotrophic with respect to ammonia prior to the reduction. So the whole ammonia cycle has to happen to establish autotrophic ammonia bacteria, leaving you with a nutrient spike. By the looks of things, dosing enough carbon to keep your tank 100% heterotrophic will kill off your autotrophic population.

Reefin' Dude
02/11/2015, 02:07 PM
sorry about that, i did not realize that forum was private.

not really able to summarize as they are big threads that talk about P.

G~

PhaneSoul
02/11/2015, 02:11 PM
Unfortunately I could not read those threads Reefin dude, they seem to be members only. Can you post a quick summary?



I suspect that part of the problem might be because the heterotrophic ammonia consumers apparently outcompete autotrophic ammonia consuming bacteria as is described in the first link IIRC, and with no autotrophic ammonia population, and considering they are slow growing, you are at stage 1 of a cycle as if it were a new tank if you have been feeding enough carbon to keep the tank 100% heterotrophic with respect to ammonia prior to the reduction. So the whole ammonia cycle has to happen to establish autotrophic ammonia bacteria, leaving you with a nutrient spike. By the looks of things, dosing enough carbon to keep your tank 100% heterotrophic will kill off your autotrophic population.


I do not think this. I think it has more to do with phos binding with caco3. until someone can provide more info on heterotrophic bacteria being able to liberate phosphate from the caco3 structure.

inorganic phosphate will bind with caco3 and without autotrophic bacteria to liberate it from the caco3 it will be there. the heterotrophic bacteria are not only starving the autotrophic, but also the photoautotrophic pathways. with the autotrophic having a slow cycle the photoautotrophic are able to take utilize the nutrients and start up.

I see ups and downs to all three of these pathways.
heterotrophic - dosing is key here as we have to feed a carbon source. I haven't seen anything that says it is a good way to export phos (im sure it does since there is more biomass produced but phos does not become limited as in the autotrophic cycle), almost instant cycle of a tank, very fast reproduction rate, nitrates are not a byproduct, a lot of biomass production

autotrophic - will limit phosphate due to phos liberation keeping it out of the caco3 and turned into biomass for easy clean up, nitrates are a byproduct, slow cycle time, biomass isn't as much of a problem, slow reproduction rate

photoautotrophic - it is algae. nuff said

in an autotrophic environment phosphate becomes limiting. that's why I cannot grow algae right now even tho my nitrates are above 50ppm.

"i expect this is why people have problems with algae on their calcium carbonate structures when they slow down or stop C dosing"

with hetertrophic not receiving any carbon the photoautotrophic cycle is able to ramp up. with plenty of phosphate being available they have plenty of nutrients at hand

I would rather run a system where phosphates are going to be limiting rather then carbon since phosphates can inhibit the calcification of corals.

*disclaimer* some of this is new to me and some isn't, im trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together here and this is what I came up with, don't scrutinize me if the corner pieces are backwards so feel free to correct anything.

PeteC
02/12/2015, 10:36 AM
Well if autotrophic bacteria are turning ammonia to nitrates, AFAIK theres nothing there that will remove phosphates, and if theres no nitrate -> nitrogen gas conversion, the environment will be suitable for algae I guess (high N and P).

But as I say I have seen little mention of heterotrophic bacteria using significant amounts of P.

Also I don't really see how phosphates would be released if heterotrophic bacteria ceased to be fed and autotrophic bacteria took over, other than from the die off of heterotrophic bacteria, but that would not seem to be likely to have that much phosphate stored in its biomass (only guessing there though). Anyway there is much I don't understand and hope to learn so if I am missing something I apologise.

The way I see it at the moment, all bacteria are loaded towards removal of nitrate more than phosphate, and so other means of exporting phosphate would seem essential to maintaining low phosphate in any situation. If thats not the case and the heterotrophic bacteria remove lage amount of phosphate too, then that will be excellent.

Reefin' Dude
02/12/2015, 10:59 AM
this is of some interest. i have not had a chance to read through them yet, but should shortly. wanted to get them out there before i lost them in my browser history.

The uptake of inorganic nutrients by heterotrophic bacteria. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24186453)

Uptake of dissolved organic matter and phosphate by phototrophic and heterotrophic bacteria (http://gradworks.umi.com/33/97/3397018.html)

Phosphate and adenosine-59-triphosphate uptake by cyanobacteria and heterotrophic bacteria in the Sargasso Sea (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.4319/lo.2011.56.1.0323/asset/lno20115610323.pdf;jsessionid=B60E39C01FD4043D3D53208D9DB8216D.f03t01?v=1&t=i62fzxjx&c0292ecb)

Phosphorus Cycling in Aquatic Environments:Role of Bacteria (https://marine.rutgers.edu/pubs/private/AmmermanEEM02.pdf)

P limitation of heterotrophic bacteria and phytoplankton in the northwest Mediterranean. (http://m.avto.aslo.info/lo/toc/vol_43/issue_1/0088.pdf)

G~

PhaneSoul
02/12/2015, 02:18 PM
Phosphate liberation
http://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncw/f/gills2006-1.pdf

That is the first one that got me to start understanding how bacteria 'purged' live rock of phos

Reefin' Dude
02/12/2015, 02:43 PM
previous links should now be visible to everyone.

Another about denitrification. (http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f77/denitrification-how-it-really-works-44798.html?highlight=kalk+protein+skimmer+phosphates)

G~

coralsnaked
02/12/2015, 03:04 PM
I personally do not think a six inch line of sand against the side of the glass looks very appealing or less somewhat unnatural

PeteC
02/13/2015, 10:22 AM
Some interesting reads up there, although I didn't make it all the way through that uber thread that spanned 9 years!

It seems from the last couple of links that reefin dude posted that phosphorus indeed does limit bacterial growth as we speculated, although ideally we would still find some info on how P limitation relates to the bacteria strains that the aquaculture papers utilise for ammonia recycling. I also read over the last day that P levels are very plastic in bacteria, and that a wide range of values of P relative to C and N are acceptable to bacteria, with the bacteria just adapting their growth to suit the levels of P available. Thats extremely interesting I think as the way I take it is that P will be used up to a high N:P ratio in what they call 'luxury' uptake IIRC. So the bacteria know they are often P lmiited and in times of P abundance, they will take up and store excess P over their requirements.

I wonder if this topic though should be split off and restarted as its own thread, as it has drifted from the OP bb topic. Also its got significance to a wider number of people and their contributions would be useful too.

Reefin' Dude
02/13/2015, 01:58 PM
i am not sure how RC likes to deal with these type threads that seem to evolve. looking at the view counts compared to post count it does seem to be an interesting thread to a lot of people.

from what i have read, that most organisms are able to "store" P for times when P becomes more limiting. from readings about the ATP, ADP reactions. bacteria are no different. i would expect that our strains are not that different from either of the studies shown in the papers. i tried to pick those that dealt with the marine environment, but it does seem to be fairly consistent across strains of heterotrophic bacteria.

G~

Bilk
02/25/2015, 01:36 PM
So OP what did you do? Did you remove your substrate or not? :)

I'm contemplating either removing the substrate and replacing with a coarser grain - sand just blows all over if I run PHs where they need to be - or go BB. My issue isn't as simple as I have a DSB. Not sure how I want to go about this yet.

One idea is to fire up a remote DSB and let it mature for a month or two and then start to remove the sand in the tank bit by bit. The other option is to find someone to hold my livestock and then drain and remove the sand and recycle the tank. In my opinion, neither is fun and neither will come without consequences.

bdare
02/25/2015, 01:40 PM
Pretty good article here:

http://www.nano-reef.com/topic/260742-biogeochemistry-meiobenthology-microbial-ecology-of-the-sandbed/

PeteC
02/27/2015, 12:05 PM
@Bilk If youre planning to carbon dose with BB, IMO you might not need to cycle, if you have clean LR. Reason is cycling is something that nitrifying bacteria need to build up numbers, establish anerobic zones etc. If your system is carbon dosed with enough organic carbon input to deal with all the nutrients you are inputing, the bacteria only take a few days to build up, and if you reduce feeding to zero when you remove the sand and ramp it back up once you have removed the sand over about a week, that should give them plenty of time to build up enough.

Is completely siphoning the sand bed out possible or is there too much sand? If theres too much, then a holding tank might do you. If you can fill a holding tank with your tank water, and move the stock when there is enough water in it without uncovering the stock in the tank while you transfer it, you could remove all stock from the DT, remove the sand, give the tank a rinse to remove the deposits stuck to the glass where the sand was, then pump water back to DT from holding tank and transfer stock as it fills up. All depends on how high your rock formations are in the DT and whether you can move enough water to holding tank without uncovering remaining stock in DT. As far as cycling goes, the DT does not need the sand if its carbon dosed. Carbon dosing is an alternative nutrient method to DSB or LR, and while you can have LR in a carbon dosed tank, its not working in the same way as a tank that is not carbon dosed (IE in carbon dosed tank, LR is not denitrifying).

Just dont contaminate your water by touching rock or sand (IE dont allow the nutrients and nasties in the sand into the water) before you remove the water. Once you have removed enough water for the holding tank, then you can move your stock. Once the sand bed is at all stirred up IMO you dont want to keep that water that has sand bed nasties in it.

CStrickland
02/27/2015, 12:42 PM
Just to be clear, the DT does not need the sand regardless of whether carbon is dosed. It's two separate things.

I don't see why you would need to re-cycle the tank, though I can imagine that the bio-filter might be a bit out of whack if you took it all out at once. The simplest way seems to be just take a little out with a sand vac each time you change the water. If you start to see signs of nutrient deficiency with the bb, you can add back some coarse substrate. With bills 200g tank I would think that could take a couple months, but I wouldn't bother starting with the rdsb, keep it simple.

Reefin' Dude
03/01/2015, 03:10 PM
Big thanks to CStrickland for teaching me a trick for searching the RC archives. GOLDMINE. i thought most of these threads were gone.

DSB leaching phosphates? (http://archive.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=390767)

this thread has some of the best and longest discussions about phosphates and DSB's.

G~

PhaneSoul
03/01/2015, 04:29 PM
Oh Boi.... I'm supposed to do a paper tonight for a class tomorrow... Why did you do this to me.. I'll never get to sleep after work now.

GroktheCube
03/01/2015, 04:41 PM
I'm much happier with my tank BB. I can run way more flow without worries about sand blowing, which lets me put high flow corals closer to the bottom in many parts of the tank. It also seems like I can feed more, as I don't have to worry about any of it going to waste settling in the sand. There's one spot in the tank where detritus settles. Once every 5 days or so, I siphon it out in a sock I'm about to change.

spkennyva
03/01/2015, 08:07 PM
I have a 40B mostly SPS that my son and I have been dreaming about for a while. It has been set up for 18 months. Originally it was setup as a BB tank, but my son really wanted sand, so over time he wore me down and we ran with sand for about 6 months. The tank was doing great BB, and with the sand it seemed to slowly progress into bigger issues. All coralline growth stopped, green algae started on rocks, and cyano too. We run carbon, GFO and have a very large skimmer, and lots of flow. Over the past couple of weeks, I've been slowly siphoning out the sand and just today its finally all out. :thumbsup: I hope to see improvements soon.

Any suggestions on how to best improve things? Should I do a big water change?

JohnniG
03/01/2015, 11:08 PM
Personally I think BB is ugly. Don't get me wrong, I've seen many beautiful BB tanks but they look better with sand substrate. I vaccum it every other week while doing a water change. The bb have to be vaccumed as well so I don't see the advantage. With 1-2" of sand its cake to keep clean.

Cake you say. Im a month in with daily/every other day Water changes and siphoning. The cyano is too heavy to siphon.

PhaneSoul
03/01/2015, 11:17 PM
Cake you say. Im a month in with daily/every other day Water changes and siphoning. The cyano is too heavy to siphon.

did u rinse ur sand well before you put it in?

Reefin' Dude
03/02/2015, 02:54 PM
I have a 40B mostly SPS that my son and I have been dreaming about for a while. It has been set up for 18 months. Originally it was setup as a BB tank, but my son really wanted sand, so over time he wore me down and we ran with sand for about 6 months. The tank was doing great BB, and with the sand it seemed to slowly progress into bigger issues. All coralline growth stopped, green algae started on rocks, and cyano too. We run carbon, GFO and have a very large skimmer, and lots of flow. Over the past couple of weeks, I've been slowly siphoning out the sand and just today its finally all out. :thumbsup: I hope to see improvements soon.

Any suggestions on how to best improve things? Should I do a big water change?

nope, keep doing what you are doing. you may find the LR is purging a lot of detritus. the amount of detritus depends on how nutrient rich the substrate was. what is your must have organism? this can help us to fine tune your system. i would try weening your system off of both GFO and carbon if possible to get all of the phosphate out of the rock. this will help in the long run, but may be ugly in the short term, again depends on the length of time you have been dosing and GFO'ing the tank along with the amount of nutrients in the substrate.

do not be afraid to feed the tank. everything likes to eat. normally i would say get more flow, but without knowing your must have organisms, it could be "dangerous" to some organisms. i ran 100x flow in my 125g SPS clam system.

something i strongly suggest for those going BB is a UV system. one that is capable of handling the same amount of flow as your skimmer. i have a 40w UV with 2" ports and have it plumbed directly before the skimmer, so any organics and algae broken down/killed by the UV go through the skimmer so the skimmer has first shot at removing them.

my build thread (http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/the-rebuild-begins-63881.html?highlight=rebuild+begins) up to the point where i had to tear it down for divorce reasons.

my current frag tank build thread (http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f6/it-has-begun-227302.html).

G~

spkennyva
03/03/2015, 06:36 AM
Thanks for the reply.

My current setup is:

40B with 15 gal custom sump


SCA 302 skimmer
2 165 watt Chinese led fixtures
GFO and Carbon canisters
Mag 9 return pump with a custom spreader bar positioned at the bottom behind the rock to get flow up underneath the rocks.
In-tank flow: 2 Koralia Evolution 850GPH and one old school 802 powerhead
filter sock (cleaned at least twice per week)
2-part alk and calcium dosing
Red Sea test kit numbers:
Mag: 1400
Alk: 7.75 - 8.2
Ca: 415


RO/DI for everything
custom ATO


I have never dosed carbon. I was just curious what others thought.

My must have corals are mostly SPS and some LPS. I currently have several montis, 4 acro frags, birdsnest, and a few others. I also have a few zoa colonies and 2 acans. All corals are doing OK, nothing great. My Garf purple bonsai seems to be doing the best out of my SPS.


I have not been testing Nitrate or Phosphate, but I've got a Hanna HI713 coming in the mail.
No real algae problems, but the coralline is simply not growing since the substrate went into the tank and the rock is more green than before. Again, back to BB and hope to see some improvements. I did order some Golden Pearls food to try to feed my corals. I understand that I need to go very slow with feeding, right?

I started reef keeping in 1992 and stayed with it for 4 years, with a huge break until about 18 months ago when we setup this tank.

spkennyva
03/03/2015, 08:18 AM
Forgot to mention that I do also have a 18W UV running on this system.

PhaneSoul
03/03/2015, 08:25 AM
In my science opinion, unless your trying to for some reason get a very very ultra low nutrient system going on I would not carbon dose. Going barebottom itself with routine maintenance in itself is good enough for sps.

Carbon dosing is not as efficient at keeping phos from binding with the liverock. So if you use it as a crutch then eventually you may have problems with liverock becoming full of phos. It may not be immediatly, or a few years from now. Depending all on your maintenance and how quick it actually happens.

Reefin' Dude
03/03/2015, 09:44 AM
i am a big believer that we do not move enough water out of the LR structure. the largest CLS in the 125 was behind the LR mounds and moving a lot of water out of the structure to clear the bases of the SPS colonies. from my experience just having the flow above the SPS does keep the entire colony healthy and the bases start to die back because they are not getting water attention that the tops get.

an 18w UV is not really doing much, but it is better than nothing. make sure the output is close to the intake for the skimmer.

i like your Ca, alk, and Mg levels. really close to NSW levels.

the coralline not growing tends to be a sign that the LR is full of P, and just needs to finish purging itself of P before it will get the coralline going again. this is just going to take time while in the system.

looking at the specs of the skimmer i expect that you are moving only about 300gph through the skimmer. i now that the pump specs say over 600gph, but if you read the small print it says flow is different when used for skimmers. this tends to mean that the 600-700gph is with a real impeller and when a needle wheel impeller is used the flow is cut by IME 60% ish. this puts a lot more flow going through the sump, than the skimmer is actually able to process. i like to get as much of the water going through the sump going through the skimmer as possible. the actual flow in the tank is done by CLS's and powerheads, not by the return.

the 125g had only about 350gph going through the sump and over 12,000gph in the display not including the return. my eductor driven skimmer can process about 400gph. i would also remove about a liter of skimmate a day. a light tea colored liquid. i would also feed the system 5 times a day.

G~

spkennyva
03/03/2015, 10:15 AM
As I mentioned in a previous post, we do have some cyano that collects on a few rocks. It seems that the cyano perfers the rocks that we used to seed the tank. The bulk of the rock was dry, but we got a few pieces of LR to help get the system started. These original LR pieces are now where the cyano blooms daily. It comes and goes regularly, starting with none when the lights first come on, and then progresses to patches on the old rock. This all started after the substrate was about 4 months old.

Would there be any value in pulling these few older pieces of LR and placing them in a separate tank with no bioload for a month or so?

ca1ore
03/03/2015, 10:57 AM
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been slowly siphoning out the sand and just today its finally all out. :thumbsup: I hope to see improvements soon.

I would be very interested in hearing from you on whether removing the sand does in fact solve your problems - or at least, if you believe so. It's always hard to really know cause-and-effect in our tanks because more often than not we are addressing a problem along multiple avenues. I am curious because my tank is of similar age, with a sandbed, and I have so far experienced no issues with it. I do need to find a way, I think, to move more water through the rock structures, but that's a separate issue.

Bilk
03/03/2015, 03:03 PM
@Bilk If youre planning to carbon dose with BB, IMO you might not need to cycle, if you have clean LR. Reason is cycling is something that nitrifying bacteria need to build up numbers, establish anerobic zones etc. If your system is carbon dosed with enough organic carbon input to deal with all the nutrients you are inputing, the bacteria only take a few days to build up, and if you reduce feeding to zero when you remove the sand and ramp it back up once you have removed the sand over about a week, that should give them plenty of time to build up enough.

Is completely siphoning the sand bed out possible or is there too much sand? If theres too much, then a holding tank might do you. If you can fill a holding tank with your tank water, and move the stock when there is enough water in it without uncovering the stock in the tank while you transfer it, you could remove all stock from the DT, remove the sand, give the tank a rinse to remove the deposits stuck to the glass where the sand was, then pump water back to DT from holding tank and transfer stock as it fills up. All depends on how high your rock formations are in the DT and whether you can move enough water to holding tank without uncovering remaining stock in DT. As far as cycling goes, the DT does not need the sand if its carbon dosed. Carbon dosing is an alternative nutrient method to DSB or LR, and while you can have LR in a carbon dosed tank, its not working in the same way as a tank that is not carbon dosed (IE in carbon dosed tank, LR is not denitrifying).

Just dont contaminate your water by touching rock or sand (IE dont allow the nutrients and nasties in the sand into the water) before you remove the water. Once you have removed enough water for the holding tank, then you can move your stock. Once the sand bed is at all stirred up IMO you dont want to keep that water that has sand bed nasties in it.

OK I did one thing in prep for a possible removal of the DSB. I purchased some Sachem Pond Matrix - it's larger in size than the regular Matrix - and placed it in the sump to seed it. There's about a gallon and a half of the stuff in there. I figured if the sand bed is doing anything, this could possibly pick up the slack once the sand bed is removed. I also put some more LR in the sump and plan on hooking up a remote DSB to perform the same function.

I understand the carbon dosing side as I was doing so for the last year, but have since backed off VSV quite a bit. Now only dose 2ml/day. I don't run GFO and yet the PO4 in the system reads between 0 and 3ppb consistently. There's no macro algae growth at all in the system. As a result of PO4 reducing to near unmeasurable levels, NO3 has risen, but to what some consider a desirable level at a consistent 4ppm. It doesn't rise and it doesn't fall. This all occurred after I reduced the VSV dosing. So not exactly sure what was happening and what is now happening in the nitrification/nutrient process. Corals seem to be unaffected and look the same as before, well except some yellow across which are now actually yellow vs green. I guess that's a good thing.

One thing I do know about what's happening in the tank is there's not enough flow. Not nearly enough. I have two two 6105 running at 40% and one Gyre running at 60%. Any higher and there's sand shifting and I don't want to expose what could be toxic areas of the sand bed to the water column. I had two MP40s in there too, but took them out as they just made things worse.

I don't know how others do it using sugar fine sand and not having the same issues. Maybe it's because I used a limited number of larger rocks as individual islands of sorts vs having a larger, singular structure that rises higher into the tank, but this isn't working well for me. I can tell there are way too many dead spots and trying to fix that with the sand situation proved to be fruitless. It all looks fine for a while then I find a huge pile in a new location and some spread all over the rock structure. Not what I want.

Just to be clear, the DT does not need the sand regardless of whether carbon is dosed. It's two separate things.

I don't see why you would need to re-cycle the tank, though I can imagine that the bio-filter might be a bit out of whack if you took it all out at once. The simplest way seems to be just take a little out with a sand vac each time you change the water. If you start to see signs of nutrient deficiency with the bb, you can add back some coarse substrate. With bills 200g tank I would think that could take a couple months, but I wouldn't bother starting with the rdsb, keep it simple.

You don't feel a RDSB is worth employing? It's simple enough to do. Just not sure how long it takes to become well seeded. The Matrix has been in the sump for the last month so I would think it's active and working.

I know I have some decisions to make and some work ahead :sad2: But it's all good. It's part of the hobby LOL

My decision to go with a DSB was based on Paolo's TOTM 11/2014 - which for some reason is no longer viewable. :( His build thread is here (http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2063379). He obviously had great success and no issues with sand moving about. In an older build I ran a Joubert system and had great success with it, but that was well before across came on the scene for the general hobbyist, so achieving high flow wasn't really as necessary for that tank. So now I'm torn a bit. I like the infauna a DSB provides as well as the aesthetics - as long as it states where it's supposed to and I can keep enough flow for the corals and to keep the junk suspended long enough to reach the overflow - but feel it's time to correct what I now think was a mistake.

rgulrich
03/08/2015, 07:56 AM
Barebottom? It all depends on the environment you're trying to recreate. If you're trying to emulate a lagoon, then fine sand, it's inhabitants, the accompanying detritus (which the surf carries into the lagoon) and corals endemic to a lagoon will all be quite happy. The flow will be moderate to light, and it's pretty easy to keep the water in the aquarium.

If you're trying to build a patch reef, the current will be more aggressive and it can be surrounded by sand - which will be in pretty much constant motion by the strength of the current. This current will also help you export detritus by keeping it in suspension until you can remove it with your filtration system. It also has the tendency, unfortunately, to go where you don't necessarily want it to go - into the rockwork or onto your aquarium inhabitants. Planned accordingly, though, it can make a striking display and the sand will remain sparkling clean through it's constant motion.

Let's say you want to build a reef flat, though. This area is mostly rock covered with coral colonies, with some gravel or rubble interspersed between coral heads. The current is very strong and it becomes pretty difficult to contain the water in the aquarium. Sand in this environment is suspended along with the detritus to be removed by the filter system.

What we usually end up with is a series of compromises, however. In my instance, I still like the occasional Trachyphyllia or Lobophyllia sp., so I have to find a little "refuge" for them so they won't get shredded by a strong current. I also like a few Tridacnids here and there, and likewise have to find a good spot for them with a little, though not quite as much, protection. My aquarium houses a pair of Dragon-face pipefish that feed off of the nearly-microscopic crustaceans my course coral rubble substrate houses/produces/and feed off of the detritus. I've made a series of compromises to maintain this display and house the coral, fish, and invertebrates that I would like to see in my living room. I imagine I'd probably have to make some compromises if I worked with Reticulated pythons instead (my father's preference and the house I grew up in, along with aquaria filled with "big and ugly" fish). Here's an end shot of my walk-around 300:
http://i451.photobucket.com/albums/qq239/rgulrich_photobucket/Marriottsville%20Reef%202014-/Reef%20inhabitants%202015/20150223_173559.jpg (http://s451.photobucket.com/user/rgulrich_photobucket/media/Marriottsville%20Reef%202014-/Reef%20inhabitants%202015/20150223_173559.jpg.html)

The coral rubble does a get bit of a stir every now and then, and only a bit at a time. The detritus and ash (the real end of the food chain) get lifted into suspension and a good portion of it heads into the filter system in the basement for removal. Some of it settles on the reef until it gets removed by the current and fish. Some of the more substantive inhabitants of the rubble bottom most probably get a bit perturbed with me when I do this, but they find other locations to settle (if they aren't snatched out of the current by the fish).

So, I guess the hardest part is deciding what one wants to do, try to map out the best way to get there, and then understand there will most probably be some compromises made along the way. The most difficult part, perhaps, is deciding what those compromises must be.

CStrickland
03/08/2015, 01:40 PM
You don't feel a RDSB is worth employing? It's simple enough to do. Just not sure how long it takes to become well seeded. The Matrix has been in the sump for the last month so I would think it's active and working.

I thought about using an rdsb because I have 2" of fine non-aragonite sand, and only 25# of rock in a 55 with ~20g sump. That's not very much calcium carbonate to bond inorganic phos. I'm not worried about nitrates, I think that because they are so easy to test (relatively, my API test is a pita really) we get caught up in the numbers because it gives the illusion of control. We've all seen the tanks with happy coral and even anemone at 60ppm. But I held off, and it turns out that for me its a solution without a problem. People said I wouldn't have enough realestate for nitrifying bacteria, but I haven't had any issues so far. People say I will have terrible algae, but it hasn't happened yet. When I run into an issue, I will evaluate solutions to it by how much they help relative to how much effort / $ / space / stinkiness they will add to my hobby. I'll probably start with a skimmer if things start going sideways, I like the idea of how they are always removing from the system better than sweeping under the rug. I also find convincing the studies and threads that conceptualize dsb's and algae removal as factorially increasing the overall nutrients in the system. The phos binding in particular seems weak (with the exception of caco3) given how readily it passes through and between organisms.

Also, My goal is not ULNS, some of the acros are cool but I like euphyllias the best. It sounds like a hassle to try to find the exact balance point where organisms with different needs will survive, nevermind thrive. A lot of people just get caught up thinking "nutrients bad!" But I'm trying to get my head around which nutrient is "bad" at what concentration for which organism.

Further, I can't imagine feeding less than 2x a day, I'd do anything to avoid that. Blowing off the rocks and vacing the sand, while controlling detritus suspension and settling to allow for easy removal, seem like the easiest, cheapest, most common sense way to avoid excess nutrients in a tank like mine where "excess" is not dictated by ULN. Like any pet, I want to spoil my tank with food so everyone is happy; and it is my job to remove what comes out the other end before it can break down into fertilizer.

PS what do you mean you like the aesthetics of an rdsb? I was just going to put it in a homer bucket, do you have like an ant farm type of setup in mind? There's plenty of worms in the DT to look at. I might do a planted tank down the road, they're pretty. But I don't see any reason to connect it to my reef tank.

spkennyva
03/11/2015, 05:41 PM
I would be very interested in hearing from you on whether removing the sand does in fact solve your problems - or at least, if you believe so. It's always hard to really know cause-and-effect in our tanks because more often than not we are addressing a problem along multiple avenues. I am curious because my tank is of similar age, with a sandbed, and I have so far experienced no issues with it. I do need to find a way, I think, to move more water through the rock structures, but that's a separate issue.

Well, Its been a week since every grain of sand was removed. As mentioned, I had been working on removing it for several weeks prior. Also, based upon the guidance given here, I've been feeding the fish more and added some coral food. I'm going slowly so I don't over do things. Initial reports are very good. Coral growth has been noticeable and coralline algae has started in places not seen before. Coral color is also improving.:bounce3: I'm keeping Alk pretty stable, which I think also has helped. BTW, I'm now adding MUCH less alk since the sand bed is gone. Overall the tank is much more stable now. I've also taken a turkey baster to my rock and vac out the debris. Still running carbon and GFO for now.

PhaneSoul
03/11/2015, 06:01 PM
That's because bacteria need alk. Take away the substrate, you take away a lot of bacteria, you take away a demand for alk.

Cheap the sandbed will work as it's supposed to until it's full :)

CStrickland
03/12/2015, 02:33 PM
Cheap the sandbed will work as it's supposed to until it's full :)

Who you calling cheap? ;)
Sure an rdsb will bind til it's full, still don't think its "worth it" time/stink/space-wise. My sandbeds not working at anything but lookin pretty, growing diatoms, and leaching toxic metals / oil spill remnants. I'm ok with that, it's real pretty.

PhaneSoul
03/12/2015, 03:36 PM
Lol yes it is. Don't deny it. Bacteria are everywhere whether you want them there or not.