Detritus settlement in sumps

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by seank, 2 Sep 2009.

  1. seank

    seank

    Joined:
    24 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,984
    Likes Received:
    119
    Location:
    North of Durban and South of Mozambique
    I need to know this- so please guys and gals, give a solid answer and not a thought out answer...

    What is the purpose of all the critters in ones sump, eg lice thingies, snails, crabs etc etc??? Do they not disperse of detritus too???.

    I have read that ones flow over your sump area needs to be low(ish), but from experience I tend to disagree, as I had a huge return (obviously, whatever volume returns to your display in a given time frame, will return at the same speed back to your sump:whistling:)

    And I never had issues with detritus- also keep in mind that my buffers on either side of my sand bed was cut high, so water never really flowed "over" the sand,and never "blew" out detritus from my display.

    Please explain what happens with detritus in a well established tank (I am not talking about newly set up tanks that does not have a lot of bacteria and critters)
     
  2. AdS Guest




    to hide all adverts.
  3. Tony

    Tony

    Joined:
    23 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    4,093
    Likes Received:
    68
    Location:
    Honeydew, Johannesburg
    Sean form my experience of not using a DSB and having a bare bottomed sump is that I have to clean it once a week to remove the detritus. I either add some floss and kick up the crap or add some potassium permangeanate and kick it up. The skimmer goes mad after this as the potassium oxidised the detritus
     
  4. chikaboo

    chikaboo

    Joined:
    2 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    4,980
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Newcastle - KZN
    Hi Sean - my only concern in my sump with water flowing too fast towards the return chamber that with enough speed one would have too much of gunk getting into the return pump which meant more work for my lazy butt! If the flow is slow enough it gives detritus and bigger dirt particles time to settle and thereby keeping my return chamber basically only for water. But another question comes about is what happens to the "waste/poop" from the critters and gogga's in the sump?
     
  5. Sentari

    Sentari

    Joined:
    15 May 2009
    Posts:
    2,084
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Weltevreden Park, Johannesburg
    Interesting cause i was also wondering about the detritus at the bottom of my sump. If it should be siphoned out or just pushed back into the system or cleaned with the CUC.
     
  6. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    29 May 2007
    Posts:
    17,868
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Cape Town
    Sean - I hope you don't mind me giving input here?

    My answer is going to be a bit boring to you - but I am also aiming it at newbies who read this, and for information to other people who might find this thread on the internet.

    YES Sean. That is the MAIN purpose of the critters. As is the purpose of different strains of bacteria to break detritus down even further.
    Other critters like some starfish, also live mostly off detritus.
    Coral polyps too, "eat" detritus that is freefloating in the water column.

    Let me try and explain myself a little bit in more detail:

    In nature, you have two types of lifestock. You MACRO fauna (fish, bigger invertebrates, etc - "higher forms of life" if you want to put it that way).
    They have a feeding cycle where it is a "fish eat fish" type of life. Even mostly herbivores would change to eating meaty foods (adapt or die) if there is not enough green/sea-veggies to live off.

    Then, you get the micro fauna of the sea - they tend to be the "Cleaners of the sea". These include (but are not limited to) shrimp, crabs (including hermit crabs), starfish, amphipods, copepods, isopods, worms (ie. bristleworms, peanut worms, spaghetti worms, medusa worms, polychaete worms, too many to name, etc...), snails (a huge number as well), chitons, sea urchins, etc....
    These are the most commonly known "cleanup crew" critters, we keep in our tanks (some explicitly, others come with live rock and live sand).

    Then, below that level, you have your microscopic fauna - ie. cleanup crew:
    different strains of bacteria.....

    Now - after all this - you get the "dirt" in the tank, that needs to "cleaned up".
    Most of this "dirt" consists of fish waste (poo), uneaten foods, old and rotting plant / macro algae material - ie. detritus....

    The whole cycle of detritus - according to me, is as follows:
    Bigger pieces of food, macro algae, dying / rotting organisms, etc -> some of the cleanup crew members get hold of this, and "converts" this down to a smaller "building blocks" - certain strains of bacteria also assists with this.
    For this process to work, the "whole pieces" (can be down to a mm in size) needs to lie still in one spot, right? Bacteria can still attach to these pieces of food, while the food is floating around.
    As the pieces of "food" gets broken down to lower levels of it's organic chemical compounds, so does each of the abovementioned critters have their "go" at getting nutrients from the "food".....
    By the time it becomes the "detritus" as we know it, you are down to the micro fauna (and some macro fauna - as mentioned above)..... these tiny critters then "eat" what's left as detritus, and use up the nutrients that they require from it, to stay alive, and to grow.
    After they excrete the detritus (in whatever form it is at this stage), the lower "level" of "cleanup crew" takes over, and they have a "go" at the "food", whom in turn also uses up whatever nutrients they need from the "food", and then excretes the rest as waste.

    Now - you get down to the lowest levels of microscopic "cleanup crew" - the bacteria.
    The bacteria then breaks the "food" down to both organic chemical compound, and non-organic chemical compound levels.

    This is where the "ammonia cycle" takes place - at this layer.
    If your DSB works as it should, and you have both aerobic and an-aerobic bacteria working on this "food" to break them down - you end up with the non-organic levels of nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen (the building blocks of nitrates)....

    Now - to answer YOUR question Sean, based upon my whole "story" above:
    Not everyone's tanks have the correct combination of detritus removers in their tanks.
    Meaning, that the whole cycle does not work as it should.
    Also - if your tank is bare bottom, you cut out a HUGE amount detrivores of the whole cycle, meaning that the aquarist has to manually remove the detritus....

    Also - another issue with detritus, is: the more one feeds, the more detritus there is in our tanks. Whether you have a sand bed or not.
    If one do have a sand bed IN the display tank, then the detritus goes into the sand, either by the workings of the micro fauna, or by the working of water settlement and infiltration.
    The more food for the detrivores, the more the detrivores breed. Some detrivores are good in huge quantities, some are less good (in our tanks). ie too many bristleworms can start causing them to start eating our corals, clams, and other invertebrates....

    Now - if you say that you never really had issues with detritus, this would ONLY MEAN, that you were able to get the "formula" right, somehow.

    Please take into account that your tank's total water volume, was FAR FAR bigger / higher than MOST other aquarists tanks.

    In your case, the total water volume most likely diluted the total amount of detritus that was "created".....
    Also - relatively spoken, you had relatively light stocking levels..... Compared to your total water volume.....

    This is not true for other smaller tanks..... many other marine aquarists add fish until they reach their stocking limits.....
    Also - I STILL find that people (me included) overfeed the fish - especially once you start becoming slightly more experienced (even after keeping marines for a FEW YEARS)... Because now, your "skimmer can most likely handle it" - a mistake I made.....

    This all said - everyone has different stocking levels in their tanks, different feeding regimes, different cleanup crew, different skimmers, and different total water volumes....

    We use a generic suggested method for a return pump, because, in MOST cases, if the water flow through the sump is FAR TOO FAST, the sump cannot do it's work.

    Meaning, that the food that actually go down the overflow, then just get's pumped back to the display tank....
    The "extra food" and "detritus" that is indeed in the water column, does not get to "settle" on the DSB, to feed the micro fauna living there, meaning that they cannot breed as they are supposed to, and cannot break down the food/detritus to the lowest levels. Meaning, that the bacteria that is supposed to live in the DSB, does not get enough "food" to break down even further, to an-organic nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen levels...

    I hope that I did not bore you out of your mind too much.

    And I hope that all the stuff I typed above, makes sense....
     
    Last edited: 3 Sep 2009
    ChrisRaubs and seank like this.
  7. FransSny

    FransSny

    Joined:
    16 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    5,697
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Hermanus
    Wow JB ...awesome explanation
     
  8. chikaboo

    chikaboo

    Joined:
    2 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    4,980
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Newcastle - KZN
    Not boring - very informative! Thanx Jacquesb! I was looking at water life cycles and comparing it to our "landlubbers" - we basically run through the same as what goes on in the water - dust to dust - Animal eat animal and veggies (plants) then wastes deposits into ground and broken down to fertilise the ground so more veggies (food) to grown then eaten by baby animals which grow up to be eaten by other animals/humans/birds and so goes on the cycle of life!
     
  9. seank

    seank Thread Starter

    Joined:
    24 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,984
    Likes Received:
    119
    Location:
    North of Durban and South of Mozambique
    Thank you Jacques, this is really a good answer. Should make this thread a sticky as it will always come up in discussions.
     
  10. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    29 May 2007
    Posts:
    17,868
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Cape Town
    Thanks Frans - I hope that it is understandable to everyone, without sounding too technical or too "dumb"... ;)
     
  11. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    29 May 2007
    Posts:
    17,868
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Cape Town
    Cool guys!

    Sean - I am very glad that I could have helped.
     
    Broder likes this.
  12. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    2,087
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    East London
    Now that's what I call a perfect answer Jacques. I like the way you steered clear of mentioning aptasia:lol:
     
  13. aslam

    aslam

    Joined:
    24 Nov 2007
    Posts:
    671
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Pmb
    Hello Sean,with your previous setup,you said your glass baffles between your dsb was abit high,did you find detritus building up on the dsb.I ask as I have the same issue,the cheato has grown and coverred the entire compartment above the dsb,alterring waterflow even more.
     
  14. seank

    seank Thread Starter

    Joined:
    24 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,984
    Likes Received:
    119
    Location:
    North of Durban and South of Mozambique
    No Aslam, never had problems with the Baffles, nor with detritus. The sump is still running, and the only problem I have, is that feather duster worms are overgrowing the whole area, as well as some type of purple/maroon spunge. Will take a pic of it and post it as I need to know what it is
     
  15. aslam

    aslam

    Joined:
    24 Nov 2007
    Posts:
    671
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Pmb
    Thank's for the quick response.Perhaps I have to increase the flow as you have.
     
  16. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    23,142
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Location:
    Centurion
    Another TOTALLY different viewpoint on Detritus. That is if you have a complete cycle and all organism to complete handle waste.


    From Cryptic Zones
     
  17. Falcon

    Falcon

    Joined:
    26 Feb 2008
    Posts:
    2,869
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    VEREENIGING
    Well this is all true guys, but i would think this is a more naturalists approach and should work well for softies ect where all the detritus removal work is left unto a few critters which we cant even really easily see so if they die for any odd reason(maybe some doom sprayed in the fish tank room etc) then we are sitting high and dry so to say and most of the filtration will be lost without us even knowing....now by simply making sure no detritus settles in the first place then theres less risk of failure.

    Take meks set-up for example.where most of us handle nitrate and phosphate removal in our tanks in its final forms mek uses zeolites which removes it(AMMONIA) before it even becomes phos or nitrate.

    So in a similar way we can relate detritus accumalation in sump,either have the critters eat it all up or remove it before it even has a chance to release anything.

    i would feel that its best to remove the detritus as your critters may eat etc and finally yield nitrate which your dsb sorts out BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PHOSPHATES?phos remover gets over worked and you'll have to change it more often so more maintanance and more costs involved.if you simply remove the detritus then your phos remover should last much much much longer.


    Think of this equation:Think of it as

    THE FILTRATION EQUATION:

    (Fish and Coral food) + (waste) = detritus
    (detritus) + (biological break down) = ammonia
    (ammonia) + (biological breakdown) = nitrates + phosphates

    so which link in the chain would be the simplest to remove from the three? without ANY DOUBT THE DETRITUS.hence why we have big skimmers:whistling:
     
  18. Falcon

    Falcon

    Joined:
    26 Feb 2008
    Posts:
    2,869
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    VEREENIGING
    People take out the detritus,AS MUCH OF IT AS YOU CAN,lol or else seriously why waste your time with a huge skimmer when you dont want to remove all the detritus?
     
  19. chikaboo

    chikaboo

    Joined:
    2 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    4,980
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Newcastle - KZN
    OK guys in laymans terms besides fish poo what else can we find sitting in our skimmer cups? In other words are there nutrional nutrients being skimmed out with the gunk? And detritus is basically made up of ?????
     
  20. Falcon

    Falcon

    Joined:
    26 Feb 2008
    Posts:
    2,869
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    VEREENIGING
    yip you should find nutrition in there but not much and besides our feeding should have more than enough nutrition for our tank inhabitants.

    as for what detritus is made up of lol use your imagination boet...coral slime,fine sand particles,uneaten food,corals excretions and chemical warfare chemicals and toxins given of by corals,some trace elements even,left over non soluble compounds that are addded by kalk dosing,die off from live rock,dead fish particles and dead bacteria,even some live bacteria etc etc....varies in diff tanks and feeding and dosing regimes.
     
Recent Posts

Loading...
Similar Threads - Detritus settlement sumps Forum Date
Detritus Settlement Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds 22 Jan 2012
This is why Detritus settlement is bad Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds 20 Nov 2009
Detritus ??? Protein Skimmers, Mechanical Filtration 30 Aug 2016
Detritus Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds 5 Apr 2016
Vroom vroom...suck aquarium detritus up with the EHEIM Automatic Quick Vac Cleaner! JungleAquatics.NET BLOG 14 Jun 2015
Comp: Cleaning Detritus in Liverock chamber Competitions 10 Nov 2014
Urgent help needed detritus Urgent Help Needed 20 Sep 2013