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sand filters?

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dennyvd

Guest
I don't have a tank yet, but have been facinated with saltwater aquariums that I have seen and am thinking about taking the plunge, so to speak. I've been looking at equipment and different systems of filtration, knowing that the nitrogen cycle is important. Tonight I stopped at Aquarium Concepts in no. Seattle and they had a 5-8" deep sand type filter in lieu of wet-dry plastic balls for bio-filtration. Whats the difference?
 

OnTheReef

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2003
Messages
72
Location
Santa Cruz, CA
Re: Sand Filter

Dennyvd,

First off, welcome to PSAS! Well, you've opened with one of the most controversial subjects in our hobby. However, many of us have become frustrated with the foibles of undergravel filters and deep sand beds. While the benefits of these two things sound great in theory, most of us find in practice that undergravel filters and deep sand beds start out very effective, but over time they clog with detritus and develop strong anaerobic zones which are hard to undo. I have found, and many others will agree, that your most effective means of biological fitration is high-quality live rock. The more biodiversity on the live rock the better. Also, a highly active cleanup crew, consisting of algae eating snails, detritus eating starfish, cleaner shrimp, peppermint shrimp and algae sifting fish such as blennies or gobies is essential to maintaining a healthy tank. Also, most folks swear by protein skimming, as this removes a lot of protenaceous material before it decays. However, there are other means of reducing proteins and nitrates, such as nitrate-eating soft corals and macro-algae growing in a refgium. I'd highly recommend Delbeek and Sprung's book "The Reef Aquarium", followed by "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist."

Hope this helps,

Eric
 

Doug1

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
249
Location
Southern Oregon
Agreed on the can of worms theory ;) THere are many approaches to bio-filtration. When I got into reefing after years with SW swim tanks, there were several approaches in use. Primarily the old undergravel filter had fallen out of favor for reefs, the Berlin Method was in use, Plenums were being touted as the end all be all , while Dr Ron was touting the success of the deep sand bed. WHat to do, what to do?
The first thing IMO is to plan out where you want to go with your tank, what type of biotope you want to recreate and the animals you want to keep and then build the system around that.
Next ypu need to examine the varios methods in the contex of your desire setup and weigh the pros and cons. All of the systems have advantages and disavantages but some will be more suited to different environments. Understanding the dynamics of the different methods will help you make a choice.
Once you have settled on a specific system, ie lagoonal soft coral, Clam tank, stony reef bulding coral, then you can decide what type of lighting and filtration will be the better choice.
A lagoonal type soft coral system will be more suited to a deep sand bed type, medium light tank, as will a tank predominated by large polyp stony corals. Adding clams to the mix ups the light requirements. A high energy stony coral tank will need a lot of light, no fine sand to blow around , high lighting and probably skimming.
Making a choice at the begining will allow you to setup the tank with the least amount of redoing the tank and spending way too much from cconstant upgrades of equipment. Good luck and have fun :)
 
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dennyvd

Guest
Thanks Doug and Eric. I have another post with a different topic for Sunday, if you want to comment.
 

Doug1

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
249
Location
Southern Oregon
One of the many things I have learned over the years is that while there are several methods that offer some success, over the long haul a decent understanding of closed system dynamics as well as reasonable bio loads and meticulous husbandry works well.
Planning the tank around target animals, research requirements and associated animals, and conditions they need to prosper in is Paramount.
I see more people with exp going toward specific animals and reef zones and I think thats a better approach than a hodge podge. Reefing is not an instant gratification hobby, unless you have thousands to burn, then there are the ethical issues of wet furniture. On the other hand you asked first and thats good. Research, research,research , decide, pick it apart, then replan and then maybe ;)
 
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