Detritus build up in mature but neglected reef

Discussion in 'General Reef Topics' started by Bruce, Aug 21, 2016.

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  1. Bruce

    Bruce Giant Squid

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    Hi everyone, it has been some time since I was a regular on this forum. (I was living in Hawaii from 2011-2015 and my setup got VERY minimal maintenance while I was away). There were a couple of survivors that I posted pictures of!

    I have a question about detritus buildup. I have posted a couple of pictures that show the state of my tank. The front sand was easy enough to deal with (some hydrovac action and etc) but I am a little unsure how to approach the rear of the setup and all the little nooks and crannies that seem to have a large build up of what appears to be silt(?).

    Should I just try to snake a little tube in and suction all of that stuff out or are there critters that I can get that would love to feast on the stuff? I have also heard some people say to just stir everything up and do a water change while passing the water through a sock filter (and maybe some carbon) and then put it back in the system.

    Here is an imgur album. I am having a little difficulty using the image insert feature.

    http://imgur.com/a/Oj8Au
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
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  3. DSC reef

    DSC reef Giant Squid

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    I would honestly siphon as much as you can while doing a larger than normal water change. I wouldn't trust stiring it all up. I know there are CUC that eat detritus but siphoning the majority of the detritus would be best in my opinion. You can always get some critters to get in little places you can't once your done.
     
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  4. APC

    APC Gigas Clam

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    How are you parameters now? Nitrates, etc? If they are okay - I tend to agree with DSC - syphon it out - over the course of a couple of big 30-40% water changes over the course of a couple of weeks. Stirring up that deep sand bed all at once is going to be a nitrate bomb in your tank. I would sooner take the live stock and water out, pull all the sand out and replace with arag-alive sand and then put the livestock and water back in. Not suggesting that as the first course of action by any means...but If the sand is that bad I think that is a better option than stirring up what you have.
     
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  5. Bruce

    Bruce Giant Squid

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    My test kits are a bit old but all parameters seem solid. I think you both are right about trying to siphon out as much as I can. I am really less worried about the sand itself and more about the silty powder buildup that is sitting on top of the sand and in the rock work. Do you think hydrovacing the sand bed is also worth doing?
     
  6. APC

    APC Gigas Clam

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    If you have never done that before - you probably need to be careful starting now - Not to say don't do it - but perhaps not all at once. Get the silt up first as discussed, do some nice water changes, and then gradually vacuum areas of sand each week. I think if you do too much at once, you run the risk of releasing some nasty stuff (Nitrates mostly). Personally, I run a very thin sand bed...average of 1" or less and I spot vacuum it each time I do a water change - I have a 300 gallon system and do about 10% water changes every week (mainly because I like a really clean looking tank - white sand, clean glass all around, etc).
     
  7. Bruce

    Bruce Giant Squid

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    Thanks for the reply. The sand bed has always been pretty deep (+3") and I never really did much hydrovac work (really none at all). But that was when the tank was pretty active. So I'm just worried that doing a lot of heavy work with the sand bed might end up annoying the anaerobic population that is probably pretty established in there.
     
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  9. APC

    APC Gigas Clam

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    yeah with that deep sand bed...be careful for sure
     
  10. Bruce

    Bruce Giant Squid

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    Okay everyone update time. So I believe that I have gotten the bulk of the detritus and silt buildup out of the system. Here is my next concern/question: to hydrovac or not to hydrovac. During its prime, this system housed many coral and critters no problem and I didn't ever hydrovac the sand. I was going for a more natural DSB (I liked the ideas of having a sandbed ecosystem). At this point I don't know the status of the deeper sand and whether or not I need to start from scratch, hydrovac it all or just leave it as it is.

    Please let me know what you all think. I am really hesitant to hydrovac or replace the sane because of how dependent the system is on the amassed biological filtration from the rock and sand.
     
  11. Swisswiss

    Swisswiss Caribbean Reef Squid

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    I would not hydrovac, maybe get some nassarius to help clean then "innards" of your sand bed
     
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  12. DSC reef

    DSC reef Giant Squid

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    Leave the sand be. Get some nassarius snails, they'll clean deep in the sand. Plus there cool to watch. Coming out of the sand like zombies when you feed.
     
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