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New 215...need input on husbandry with SSB...

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scottjj

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Nov 3, 2004
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I am setting up a new Oceanic 215 RR (72x29x24). It is drilled with 1" drains and 3/4" returns. I plan to use a 55g sump, a 20g fuge, a Mag 9.5 on each return and a Mag 18 on a closed loop. The LR is about 100lbs Fiji and 70lbs of Marshall. I will use an ETSS protein skimmer pushed by a Mag 7. The lighting is all PC with a 48" Satellite and a 60" Orbit Extreme (about 660w total). I plan on keeping a mix of relatively easy corals as I do not plan on getting any MH lighting. Livestock plans are for all non-predators such as a Sailfin, a powder blue, a rabbitfish, 1 dwarf angel, 1 larger angel, mated clowns and something schooling, Anthias or similar. I also have 8 various serpent stars and 8 fire shrimp and cleaners from my current tank.

I have been reading as much as possible about the BB/DSB debate. I do not want to further the debate, as I am 90% sure that I do not want to go DSB (and I don't like the looks of a BB). In short, what are the challenges to be faced with a large tank and a shallow sand bed of 3/4" to 1 " ?
With this depth, should I use crushed coral ? sugar sand ? in-between ?
If I use a DSB in the fuge, will I gain back some of the de-nitrifying affects lost by not using sand in main tank ?
I was thinking that 170lbs of LR would enable me to maintain a healthy system with weekly 20g water changes.....agree ? Should I add or reduce flow with the closed loop ?
 

mojoreef

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Hey Scott welcome to Reef Frontiers.

Scott thier really isnt a debate on BB or DSB, they are different methods to be used on different systems, they both have pros and cons. If you have researched I am sure you know.
I have never really been a big fan of the shallow beds, they still stop u from having good flow, but dont have as good a sink quality as a dsb. Looking at the tank you are discribing it sounds like a good candate for a dsb style tank. Remote DSB is to disfunctional and does not do what a bed would do in the main, it can be done but it doesnt address the BB in the main.
The corals you are planning on getting do well in system that are nutrient rich, a dsb is a great facilitor of that enviroment. I would suggest going dsb but making sure you run and set it up proper, then maintain it well and it should serve you for a decent time frame.

MIke
 

scottjj

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Thanks for the reply....

I guess the phrase "for a decent timeframe" has me somewhat worried and is the focal point of this decision....I want to set this tank up for long term enjoyment.....like 10+ years....I guess my perception at this time is that assuming I am able to keep up a very good and consistent maintenance practices.......I will have better results and fewer headaches with a shallow sand bed.......at this point I am evaluating what 'very good and consistent maintenance practices' are or should be....I want to learn....hence my questions.....
 

mojoreef

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LOL Scott that is a hard question to answer as thier are so many variables. The best way I can discribe it is that i it is set up in a tank with a low bioload, and the critters that stir the sand are replenished every year, and you dont put any critters in the bed that will eat or reduce those populations the dsb will last a long time, but I still cant say with out guessing.
A dsb system is designed to try to off gass nitrogen based products through bacterial action and critter movement that facilitates the transfer of food down and gass up. All other products that enter the bed are sunk and held. Since the bed is limited by its side walls and bottom glass it can only sink so much until it is filled. How long that process take is based on how much of a bioload, how well the critters are replenished and what other kinds of critters you have in it that absorb nutrients. In the case of a tank with a low bioload, soft corals which uptake and enjoy higher nutrients, and if you replenish the population of worms, pods and stirrers in general I think you would have the best chance at sucess.


Mike
 

mojoreef

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Nikki, snails can be good stirrers, so can a variety of worms, sand clams, thier is quite a list. Eventually all will die over time with the exception of bristle worms (survival of the fittest) and since thier is no natural recruitement the hobist needs to manualy restock. Thier are a few online retailer that are taking advantage of this and you can get stff from them. Indo pacific and ...Darn I cant remember the other one.
Mike
 

dnjan

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mojoreef said:
Nikki, snails can be good stirrers, so can a variety of worms, sand clams, thier is quite a list. Eventually all will die over time with the exception of bristle worms (survival of the fittest) and since thier is no natural recruitement the hobist needs to manualy restock. Thier are a few online retailer that are taking advantage of this and you can get stff from them. Indo pacific and ...Darn I cant remember the other one.
Mike
Inland Aquatics
 

jks1

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Nov 29, 2003
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I find myself in the same situation as scott. I didnt want the potential for a "life span" on a DSB, but didnt like the look of a BB. So I went with a shallow sand bed -1.5" of fine sand in my 210. The system has been up for 10 months. I have seen no algae, and continually read less than 2.5 when testing for nitrates. Phos in the water column are undetectible, and just barely detectable in the bed. I understand the potential downsides of a shallow bed, I feel I get enough nitrification in the LR in the system. What can I (and scott if he chooses to go shallow) expect to see in the future? What are some indications of the bed going down hill? Algae? What are some warning signs letting us know action (some form of maint/replacing segments of the bed etc) is required? Thanks all and I hope this helps you with your descision Scott..
 

MikeS

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Hi all

I got to get in on this one.... :D

Like to get a few opinions on DSB "critters".....

My DSB is over 4 years old now...everything is going well so far...here's what I'm wondering...exactly how dependant to you all think the DSB is on critters? Over the last 4 years, I've watched the populations of the assorted DSB life like pods, worms, stars, snails, ect...rise and fall dramatically, yet my sandbed contiunes to keep my nitrate levels undetectable. Are these critters 100% necessary for proper DSB function? Watching the populations shift so dramatically in my sandbed has led me to wonder this. I mean even without them, won't things like osmotic pressures continue to move water in and out of the sandbed? Perhaps not at the same rate, but logically osmotic pressures will be a factor....

I wonder if maybe the critters are more important in perhaps a secondary role in long term DSB success, such as introducing oxyen rich water into the upper levels to help keep the anerobic zone in check so to speak....

Ok...open season on the sand junkie... :D

MikeS
 

mojoreef

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Hi JKS, A shallow bed just means less room for sinking material that all, Also by looking at your readings I would imagine that your not getting much denitrifing form it or you wouldnt have any nitrates like that. As per what to look for, hmmm Not much it will tell you when it needs some help, if you start to see algae on it and such that would say its starting to leach some nutrient, a gentle stir and syphon off the detritus that comes out of it will help it along. If it were me John and I had the shallow bed I would manually stir it and syphon off the detritus that comes out of it on a regular basis.

Ahhh Mikie I knew if thier was sand you would be close by lol.
I've watched the populations of the assorted DSB life like pods, worms, stars, snails, ect...rise and fall dramatically
Well most of those critters are really what I would call dbs critters, worms are. Because the sand is so fine thier is not alot of diffusion of water from the top layer down to the bottom. The bacteria which do all the work cant bring it to themselves so the critters provide that nitche. They allow for the migration of products down and gasses up.
not at the same rate, but logically osmotic pressures will be a factor....
that may be a bit of a reach, I would say for the areobic zone for sure but down to the denitrifing areas.
I wonder if maybe the critters are more important in perhaps a secondary role in long term DSB success, such as introducing oxyen rich water into the upper levels to help keep the anerobic zone in check so to speak....
For sure that to.
Mike why dont you start a thread on it in the advanced section and we can look at it more....oh and I clinched the #1 seed, hehehe


mike
 

dnjan

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I assume that the critters are also consuming some of the organic waste that gets into the upper portions of the sandbed. So that the organic waste doesn't add to the nutrient content of the tank (at least not right away - hopefully some of those critters get consumed by something further up the food chain).

Concerning how to tell if your sandbed is having problems - if you start getting dino's or cynano on portions of the sandbed (especially the low-flow areas), then your sandbed is probably releasing nutrients faster than it is absorbing them.
 

jks1

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Yeah Mike, I do stir often and siphon during water changes. I have a pretty large fish load in the tank, (tangs- yo uknow how much of pigs they are) and feed pretty liberally with flake, frozen, mush, nori etc, so I was actually pretty happy about the nitrate levels considering how much Im putting into the system.
 

Angelscrx

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I bought two 1.5-2 inch sand sifting snails and they work great at stirring the SSB I now have. They burrow under the sand and about the only time you see them is when they move the sand above them shifts. They are awesome. Long slender bodies make for great movement through the sand.
 
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scottjj

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Nov 3, 2004
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North Richland Hills, Tx
an interesting topic.....like I mentioned, I am looking for long-term enjoyment from the tank and don't mind disciplined periodic maintenance to achieve it.... I think what I will end up doing is going with 3/4 to 1" sand bed, keep pretty good flow in the tank and plan on moderate siphoning during water changes....therefore needing to add new sand to the tank when it gets very thin....probably every 6 months or so (?)
 
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