Cleaning the substrate. Good idea?

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by HOT SAUCE, 29 Jun 2014.

  1. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE

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    hi all

    few days ago I bought this thing from the only pet shop here in Swaziland the looks like...... well never mid what it looks come but it will siphon the dirt of the substrate in the tank. there is a picture of the device.

    20140629_012105.jpg

    I bought it because it was cheap and because I remember back in the day when I had a freshwater tank I wanted to buy one but ended up making one using g a 500mlk sprite bottle. and mainly because the substrate I my tank is quite dirty. not horrible dirty but dirtier than I would like it to be.. for example Everett e I want to put something in the sand and cloud ogle some gray particles just comes out.

    is it ok to siphon the substrate of a marine tank? how will that affect whatever lives in the sand. and what beneficial stuff is there ? I have a sand sifting starfish but he is a bit slow on the job. doesn't the gray "dust" in my substrate cause high nitrites or phosphates or something else which is bad?

    20140629_012105.jpg
     
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  3. Bendor

    Bendor

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    If there is lots of particulate matter it will increase your nitrates. I clean my substrate once every 6 months. If you are worried about removing all the good goggos only clean half the substrate and clean the other half in a week. The goggos would have spread into the clean substrate and you should be left with roughly a quarter of what you had.

    Do you have an external canister filter? What works really well is filling the canister with filter wool and connecting it directly to the thin part of your syphon pipe. Place the return in the tank and adjust the suction speed to allow a good clean without actually sucking any substrate all the way up the big tube. You don't lose any water as you are pumping it back and you can clean until your satisfied not until your display water runs out.
     
  4. Ebi Omer

    Ebi Omer

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    Thanks for that.
    Curious to know if other people use this method?
     
  5. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE Thread Starter

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    thanks @Bendor. I've been getting quite a bit of hair algae of late and I've been thinking that there must be something polluting the water. a friend advised me to divider the tank in sections and do one every week or so.
    I'm really interested to find out how many people clean their substrate and how often.. maybe @Mods can help setup a poll.
    as a star fish is a omnivore it will probably only eat the live foods in the sand and not the detritus. I dont want to unbalance the amount of critters in the sand by removing their food.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  6. Bendor

    Bendor

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    There was a poll last year. Can't remember the results but I'm sure you can find it.
     
  7. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    Quite a few varying opinions, misunderstanding and misconceptions surrounding cleaning of sandbeds. Truth is, they are a nutrient sink, the shallower they are, the shorter the time before they start leaching dissolved nutrients back into the system.
    The idea of not siphoning a sandbed,, originates from the likes of Ronald Shimek, one of the proponents of DSB filtration.
    Truth is, his recommendations are based on DEEP SAND BEDS and not shallow in tank substrate. Also, composition and grain size and shape are critical when wanting to adhere to his methodologies. Also are detritivore composition and regular innoculation.
    BUT... we are not dealing with a DSB, regularly seeded with cupfulls of live sand from another system, comprising of a depth of at least 12cm, composed of oolitic shaped aragonite... And being at least two thirds the size of the display with a very low, non predatory bioload....

    We are dealing with a shallow sandbed, whereby detritus and uneaten food will settle, rot, dissolve and leach back in to the water column to fuel algae growth & cyanobacteria.

    For a shallow sandbed to contain sufficient detrivores and nutrient processing capabilities, will require years of development, with a non predatory and extremely low bioload. And no, adding a few sand sifting starfish and nassarius snails and hermits are not going to solve the aforementioned.

    If you want to have a sandbed in your tank, vacuum it as regularly as possible. The destruction of the few beneficial lifeforms which are colonising it is a small price to pay compared to having to battle GHA, bryopsis and cyano.

    Remember, denitrification occurs in anaerobic areas, created as a function of grain size, shape and bed depth. Nitrification occurs in aerobic areas, which is what your sandbed mostly facilitates.

    Hope that helps
     
  8. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE Thread Starter

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    wow thanks @irie ivan that was awesome.. what is your opinion on the actual process of cleaning? do we clean the whole sanded at once or in different sections at different times? I read in RC that the live rock will continually keep on seeding the sanded with live for the sandsifting starfish to eat. is there are a chance that it may starve since there is no food for the critters it feeds on to eat in the sand (sanded being too clean)?

    out of curiosity.. how often do you clean/siphon tour sanded.. weekly, monthly.. every few months?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  9. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    I am not familiar with the dietary requirements of a sand sifting starfish, I do however know that proponents of DSB advocated against it due too their destructive impact on beneficial critters.
    I do not have a sandbed in my ststem. When I had a DSB in my sump, i vacuumed it with every water change.
    Depending on size of water changes, I would siphon as much as possible with every water change.
    If you do have a sand sifting starfish, and you are concerned it will starve, just feed it.

    If I had a sandbed, I would use the same method as described above by using a cannister filter.
    Leave the sand alone for a while, then do a siphon and see what the filter floss looks like. Then you'll understand why I don't have one.....
     
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