how do I cycle a deep sand bed?

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by niksus, 5 Sep 2011.

  1. niksus

    niksus

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    Hi to all, I have a 100 l marine tank which has been runnung for a year now. Two months ago I have installed a sump/refugium with a six inch DSB and topped with live rock (I have used playsand).Reason for this is that I like to have a NNR. I can see some activity in the refugium, like amphipods, copepods, bristlestars etc. After five weeks I began to see worm activity at the top of the DSB.

    My query is how long will it take to cycle the DSB and begin to see some N2 bubbles which means that the DSB is working as it should. Also I am not sure if I have used the correct sand. Any one can help?
     
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  3. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Hello and Welcome niksus

    Playsand is OK, as long as you washed it properly before use.
    DSB can take anything from 3 months to 6 months to be really matured. It depends on the live you manage to introduced from the liverock or from where you seeded your DSB. A cupful sand from a fellow reefer disease free system DSB is a good thing every couple of months.

    Just ensure that the liverock on top of the sand is not too much. Else the parts where the rock lies on the sand is not really acting as a DSB. Either try to lift as much as possible. A small amount of rock or empty shells on the DSB does provide good hiding spots for worms. But the rocks should not cover most of the sand.

    Seeing worm activity in the sand is a good thing.
     
    Mauritius-aquarist likes this.
  4. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Welcome to MASA. Where is malta? :p
     
  5. niksus

    niksus Thread Starter

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    Thanks Riaanp for your reply.

    As regards washing the sand before introduced it to the tank.No I did not rinse the sand as I have brought the it from a beach about two feet deep in the water,and very few people be swimming there, also the sand looked very clean. Reason for not washing the sand is, to preserve life in the sand as much as I could, please tell me if I did it wrong?

    As to live rock yes it is packed full, directly on the sand, till it reaches the surface. What do you suggest I will do?
    Thanks again.
     
  6. niksus

    niksus Thread Starter

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    Malta is between Italy and Libya it is a small Island.Population is around 500,000 and it is peacefull.
     
    Last edited: 5 Sep 2011
  7. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    First post you said you used playsand? You must have tried to say NOT playsand?

    Anyway, natural sea sand from below low water level and from unpolluted beach is the best. Not washing it is then 100%.
     
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  8. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Can move some of the liverock to your display.
    The others, stack them in a way that the minimum pieces are on the sand, the rest is lifted. Best is to have on rock in the DSB area, except one or two pieces to provide shelter for the worms. That is what I prefer on my DSB. Also some empty sea shells is also nice alternative hiding place.
     
  9. niksus

    niksus Thread Starter

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    Yep I think I wasn't very clear. I have collected sand from the water of a beach.

    What about the live rock would you suggest I do anything about it. like I said it is packed to the top.
     
  10. niksus

    niksus Thread Starter

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    Ok thanks for the info and will do that.
     
  11. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Awesome, thanks. So you are between Ferrari's and coral reefs - best of both :thumbup:
     
  12. niksus

    niksus Thread Starter

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    So if i suspend the rocks from the sand and elavate as much as I can would I be disturbing the sand and loose any life form which has been there in these two months?
     
  13. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    no,
    unless you start digging up and turning over the sand.
     
  14. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Hi niksus and welcome to MASA, agree with advice above. DSB's do take a bit of time to cycle.
     
  15. niksus

    niksus Thread Starter

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    Ok thanks for the info to all. will lift up the L/R today.
     
  16. niksus

    niksus Thread Starter

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    Three months have passed and I still do not see any gas bubble in my six inch sand bed which I have in my refugium. I have used sea sand and I am suspecting that it is not fine enough for anearobic bacteria to take place. Does any one suggest that I replace the sand with a very fine one, or shall I wait cause it is a long process?
     
  17. herkie

    herkie R.I.P.

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    I think you must give the DSB more time. Be patient and you will rewarded.
     
  18. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Most of the live is microscopic, you cannot see it.
    How did you seed the DSB? Did you put a liverock piece or two in DSB area?
     
  19. niksus

    niksus Thread Starter

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    Yes above the sand is full of live rock and there is plenty of amphipods running around. What I did this week is reduced the water flow which pass through the sand bed chamber.
     
  20. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Give it some time, just ensure that the live rock does not block the flow too much. If you notice settlement, then remove some.
     
  21. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

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    It can take up to 6 months or more before you see worms which aid in working nitrogen bubbles to the surface. The DSB will gradually start denitrifying. It wont be an overnight event. If your system is very sterile, ie. heavily skimmed, low feeding etc. it will take longer before you actually see worms. But, don't worry, things are happening. Mother nature never fails. If the sand is way too coarse, you can sprinkle finer sand on top, but don't disturb what you have.
     
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