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Thread: A Sediment substrate that works

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    A Sediment substrate that works

    Ok in conversation and debate with several other reefers I have decided to donate some time and effort into coming up with a plan to create a Sand bed type system with modifications that has a chance to beat some of the inherent problems that sediment beds have.
    To this date we have boiled it down to some form of a plenum type system that has the ability to have the waste drawn out from time to time to combat the build up phase.
    SOoooo jump on in and throw you two cents in and maybe we can come up with an idea or plan.

    MIke
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    Ok here is the last post I made towards the task at hand and where most folks agreed to start.

    Ok lets look at it for a second. In a dsb we are trying to reverse a couple of inevitables. One is that a dsb can only do a low ammount of bioload because the nitrification/denitrification process is slow. also it only handles an ammount of what is put in thier (nitrogen based) the balance stays and builds up. and then the problem with P leeching. In order to help the above problems along we need to adress them, possible with some filtration design. So one by one then,
    The low bioload: The ammount a bed can handle in regards to waste/detritus and so on is low for what most folks want in a tank. If we can figure out how to remove some or eliminate some we can have a win here.
    The build up: Now the pure idea of having a wasteing or draining system under the plenum (or what ever we call this) will fight this battle, so I think we are on the right road already.
    P leeching: a little more tricky, but I think it will fall in line with the fix of the above problems.
    Ok back to solids. helping to remove the solids will help the bed in the ammount of bioload it can handle. Also you have to look at what is associated with the solids and how thier removal will benefit us. As mentioned prior bacteria feed by excreting microbes in a enzyme type fuild (snot) they will surround the solid and begin to reduce what parts of the solid they need. with in and around the solid will be this snot, which is loaded with the byproducts, products they cant reduce, bacterial flock, the protienious bile (snot) and so on, removing it or allow it to drop into an area where we can remove it it a big win against both the build up and bioload problems. I am not saying go after all of it, but I think we should allow what ever can drop into the lower region to do that, it is a huge form of exportation and I think a major key. We are not going to be relient on it totally and will still have the vast majority of the bed performing the Nitri/denitri processes. But I think this will allow for the kind of processing ability that a dsb needs to be.
    The waste and so on that would get trapped in the top portion of the bed is where the works needs to be done. this is the area that gets clogged the easist, the ammount of waste coupled with the biproducts and goo (lol) is what makes the region go anaerobic. My thinking is that if we make that area with larger particles we will help to keep it aerobic. Also the larger particles will allow for more diffision into the anaerobic zone, this will lessen the probem with being so relient on bugs for this operation, Win win.
    On the removal of organics. build ups, detritus and so on that goes into the plenum area i dont like the concept of constant wasteing. When you pull water and all that is associated with it out of the plenum zone you are screw around with the integrity of the each zone. the areobic zone will feel no impact, the anaerobic zone is going to take a hit, it will be saturated with oxygenated water and will convert the bacteria to oxygen fixation instead of nitrate for the period of time that th oxygen is present, if you are constantly wasteing you are keeping this zone in an internal state of flux, I dont think that going to benefit us. For me once every 3 months or so we give it a good draw, This will hurt the anaerobic zone, but it will also flus the aerobic zone so thier wont be an immediate need for the denitrification as the waste has to go through the nitrification process from scratch. the time should balance itself out
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    years ago....circa 1980...i had a tank drill from the bottom, 4 intakes and one output to a riser tube of clear acryllic to the surface. it had a i.5 inch plenum made of egg-crate and screen. the water was drawn down through the CC substraight and forced through a Rainbow canister filter. large detrius got stuck but small particles were pulled down into the filters. large particles broken down and were also pulled out to the filter. this worked well but had limitations due to Rainbows being small in capacity.

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    My thinking is that if we make that area with larger particles we will help to keep it aerobic. Also the larger particles will allow for more diffision into the anaerobic zone, this will lessen the probem with being so relient on bugs for this operation, Win win.
    How large would the particles need to be in order for it to work properly?
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    Well Nikki that is up to us to figure out. We have alot of info about substraights that range from MM to rubble, so the plan is to find out what size would work best for the system we plan on constructing. The main thing we are looking for from the top layer is the ability to diffuse water. this will keep it aerobic, make for good nitirification and be able to migrate food down into the system with out so much relience on bugs.

    Wit I remember a simular system that was a modification from a undergravel system but was also drawn off.


    Lets start at the plenum structure on the very bottom and work our way up.
    heres the requirements I can see, (add some if I have missed any)
    1: it has to be strong enough to hold the weight of the rock below.
    2: we must be able to effectively remove the biproducts that buld up in that lower zone.
    3: it has to work with the balance of the system.

    so have at her.

    Mike
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    Blenny
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    another thing to keep in the planning is how to keep the different layers from becoming mixed. in the original plenum designs screen was used, but if the screen spacing is smaller than the gaps in the substraight are we defeating principle?

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    Blenny
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    Originally posted by mojoreef
    Lets start at the plenum structure on the very bottom and work our way up.
    heres the requirements I can see, (add some if I have missed any)
    1: it has to be strong enough to hold the weight of the rock below.
    ok, her was my plenum from the 72 bowfront. i think this will support just about anything piled on it. substraight and rock.

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    Cool Dave thanks for jumping onboard (about time, lol)
    On the layering I agree 100% that is something we are going to have to explore weel when we hit it.
    On your plenum I agree it should be fine for with standing weight but we still have to incorporate the ability to remove waste/organics/detritus from the bottom of the plenum, so I think we are going to have to get deeper on the unit below.

    keep the ideas coming


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    we still have to incorporate the ability to remove waste/organics/detritus from the bottom of the plenum, so I think we are going to have to get deeper on the unit below.
    Hmmm....a drain at the bottom to empty the space....or a way to siphon it out. Either way, if anything happens to settle at the bottom, then it would need to get flushed out, too - otherwise that would defeat the purpose of removal - you would still be getting a build-up (and we don't seem to be too concerned about loss of anaerobic bacteria). Would there be any way to attach a powerhead or something to keep things circulating down there? Would this help to keep the gunk in suspension for ease of removal? Perhaps with the right kind of screening, there wouldn't be that much in the way of settling down there anyway.
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    Ok, take Wits picture, flip it upside down and perforate it like an underground sewer system, plumb it up completely, & cap off one end, while adding a runner to the top of the tank, plumb up a pump that would suck the bottom up below the crate. On the top side on top of the mesh you could install another rack of pipe like in photo. Cover the crate with rubble, then layer with smaller particles, or layer on top of the crate a mesh. I guess the top side will need some work.

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    Alrighty I feel the wheels a spining, lol.

    Nikki I dont think we need to keep it circulating, we just need an effective means by which to trap it and then remove it. Sucking it out via a pump I believe is the key, we just need to design a system in which to do it.
    On the anaerobic bacteria I am not to worried about a loss. through biofilms and so on were only going to get the one that are associated with the waste in the plenum. Also thier is nothing stopping us from having an anaerobic zone above the plenum.???


    Mike
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    info: i took the pic of it upside down, to show the supports. it couldalso be raised by using larger PVC pipe.

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    Brittle Starfish
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    This sediment substrate topic is the one im not going to miss.
    Cesar [PSAS since 2002]
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    So if we took your plumbing, maybe use larger pipe, drill a Bazillion holes, say 1/4" add a row in the middle, maybe like a heated floor system, coiled to make rows, then tie-wrap it down with those colorful ties. you could plumb a pipe all the way to the top, inside the overflow box, coast to coast you could use two pipes coming up, one on each side, with a pump connected to both, A big pump, enough to suck it quickly, this could then dump back out into the sump, maybe filtering with a fine Micron sock. Now the surface on top is ???

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    Brittle Starfish
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    Hi all

    I'm one of the people that has been discussing this system with mojo on a different forum...

    Here was our basic idea over there for substrate and seperation...

    nylon fabric (like the really thin kind you see sleeping bags made of), then 1-2 inches of fine sand, then another nylon fabric barrier, then 2 inches or so of a more coarse substrate above that...

    Mike
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