Sand Sifting: Species Profiles & Cost v. Benefit

Discussion in 'Sand' started by UltimateWarrior, Sep 3, 2009.

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  1. amcarrig

    amcarrig Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's how I always set my tanks up. Right now we're running our tank bare bottom but we still have a 4" dsb in the refugium.
     
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  3. ladwpwrkr

    ladwpwrkr Fire Worm

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    sweet...that sounds like the way to go....the best of both worlds! I could always set up my dsb and fuge after the tank is up and running right?
     
  4. amcarrig

    amcarrig Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You sure can! :)
     
  5. kazvorpal

    kazvorpal Plankton

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    Sand Sifting Stars almost certainly are bad for a deep sand bed. I do not know if the above fish eat enough to wipe out a sand bed the same way. SOME predation is, if anything, healthy for the system.

    The nessarius, a tiny cousin of the conch, is a filter feeder, eating only very tiny stuff, and therefore is the best bet on your list for you keeping the surface of your sand prettier.

    My actual conch (about 2") does an even better job than all of my nessarius snails combined, though.

    If you're keeping a deep sand bed, even the nessarius/conch are somewhat disruptive to the process, as you don't want the bed all that stirred up...but they don't do it terrible harm.

    If you're not using a deep sand bed to eliminate your nitrates and free you of the bad side-effects of frequent water changes, though, then those molluscs are all good.

    Speaking of which, although I love all the mini and micro fauna and go out of my way to have a diverse supply, if you're not using a deep sand bed, you may well decide that having most of your sand critters eaten isn't all that big a deal. A typical FOwLR tank can survive without many of them.
     
  6. Rocheal

    Rocheal Astrea Snail

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    This was an extremely useful thread to read. Thank you very much for making this a sticky, as this contains a ton of the information I have been trying to gather via Google (which is what stumbled me to this thread!!)

    I am, however, still at a loss with my decision. I don't know what to do and I don't think I have enough experience/knowledge to make a decision just yet, but I DO need to figure this out.

    I suppose I have a "DSB", though it is actually crushed coral. (This was a dormant tank for about 7 months that I just vacuumed and cleaned up two days ago. I added a True Percula Clown yesterday that is swimming, eating, and seems to be doing well as long as I keep the light off.) The depth of the substrate is about 3.5"-4" in it's deepest parts. My tank is a 35 gal with live rock in it. My question is: Do I need a sand sifting species? If so, what? And this may seem like a dumb question, but how do I maintain crushed coral? I am used to fresh water gravel and viciously vacuuming without disturbing anything! Should crushed coral be vacuumed?

    *I am very, very new to this. I jumped into this due to the ultimatum of it being turned into a cichlid tank if I didn't get it going. I am determined to master this. I will have a successful tank with a thrilled bunch of life in it!
     
  7. kazvorpal

    kazvorpal Plankton

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    You don't have a deep sand bed. In order for you to have an anoxic zone at four inches, you'd need sugar-fine sand.

    Using crushed coral, I don't know if it's physically possible to have a bed deep enough.

    Meanwhile, crushed coral (at least as I know it) is far too large and rough to host sand-sifting creatures.

    Crushed coral was the standard thing to use, ten or more years ago...back when people used under-gravel filters. Nowadays, it is considered harmful. It actually can be done just fine, but unlike sand it does require careful cleaning, because otherwise detritus accumulates and produces nitrates faster than you can reasonably remove them using old-fashioned methods like water changing.

    Yes, unfortunately, the only way I know of to fix the nitrate problem with crushed coral is to vacuum regularly, which also makes having a really stable ecosystem of small/micro fauna almost impossible.

    Personally, I think it's better just to go ahead and switch to some kind of calcium-based sand, like aragonite. The easiest, of course, is to set up a deep sand bed, so you don't have to worry about nitrates and frequent water changes.
     
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  9. Rocheal

    Rocheal Astrea Snail

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    Thank you, I appreciate your honesty. I'll see what I can do!!

    ETA:
    I have sand.....
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010