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A Dedicated "Sand Pump" or Powerhead to keep sand and substrate clean! Possible?

Do you use "Dedicated FLOW" to try and keep your sand bed clean?

  • Yes

    Votes: 60 16.4%
  • No

    Votes: 238 65.0%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 46 12.6%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 22 6.0%

  • Total voters
    366

Shooter6

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Sounds like you would be better served with the undergravel filter board, connected to a return pump. Then the water will flow up through the sand keepi g detritus out. This has been done for decades by at least 1 reefer.
 

ca1ore

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How does mother nature take care of this? Is there some magical creature we don't know about in the final stage of detritus consumption that consumes but puts out no waste (I think this would be the proverbial unicorn) or do you think it eventually settles to the very bottom over the millenia and simply becomes a new layer of the earth under the sand (which of course we don't have the luxury of waiting for in our aquariums? Or maybe it just stays where it lands (eventually becoming buried) and if a big siphon came along and disturbed it there would be one huge cloud of nasty stuff in the ocean's water column.
Of course the ocean boasts bio-diversity no tank can hope to match, but I'd imagine most of the detritus generated on natural reefs ends up as silt beds in the deep ocean (google marine snow). Nature's form of geological storage.
 

ca1ore

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I have a bunch of sand sleeping wrasses that help to keep the sand bed turned over. Beyond that, I just have very high flow in the tank so no detritus can settle. i don't doubt that the bottom layer of my 3" sand bed is laden with detritus .... out of sight, out of mind!
 

WRB

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Curious? What about a random run of air line under the bed. Let the bubbles do their thing. Works extremelt well in my all fish salt tank. i use an adjsyable pump and will turn it up during my water changes.
 

Karen00

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Of course the ocean boasts bio-diversity no tank can hope to match, but I'd imagine most of the detritus generated on natural reefs ends up as silt beds in the deep ocean (google marine snow). Nature's form of geological storage.
Awesome. Thanks! I will look into that. I was always curious what happens out in the wild. Obviously we try to replicate nature as best we can but can only go so far hence manual intervention like periodically cleaning equipment, water changes, siphoning, etc. It's always interesting to know how nature handles these housekeeping chores.
 

Thomas L

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That's the way we did it 40 years ago but I guess I'm going to have to learn new methods if I get back into the hobby. I never did a reverse flow as it would take lots of infrastructure under the bed to get the flow constant and not blow the sand all over the place! However, that's exactly the way a water treatment plant backwash their filter bed. The trick is to JUST barely float the media to remove contaminates.
That's all what I know!
 

Hendo1133

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I think great CUC is key, however with more and more people moving to auto water changes, a device that is on the market to clean your sand without removing water could have a market I believe. Giving people the option to as needed essentially pump and cycle water trough a filter sock of sorts without removing water from the tank. While I know you can argue you can occasionally just manually water change, I feel like this product would be less disruptive to routine and allow you to fully clean your sand bed periodically. I have seen a couple of DIY options like this for removing detritus from a sump and such, but never one with the proper suction to essentially tumble without removing sand in order to clean.
 

BradB

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You could never implement this. There isn't much difference between flow strong enough to blow sand around and flow too weak to keep it clean. The entire sandbed would need to be exposed to this same level of flow, including near the sides of the tank and around rockwork.

I do like the idea of a RUGF or airflow for this purpose. Maybe a grid of tubes with holes. Once a week you hook up a powerful air pump which blows all the sand into the water column and it settles down clean.
 

Rjramos

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F0A6298A-6B90-4F4B-9093-855F30E93473.jpeg

This is old school stuff from Bob Goemans Live Sand Secrets booklet, 1996. Still have it! At the time the concept sounded like it was a good idea, but I never tried placing 4” of sand in display much less a dedicated sump. What I did start working with and still do is 1” of mud in refugium. My displays all have either no sand or 1/2” or less. Purely, aesthetics. I have found that no matter how you try to maintain a sand bed, you always end up with cyano on the surface and detritus/ nutrients accumulation over time. Everything starts out fine, but over years, things start to deteriorate.
Back when we transitioned from under gravel filters with 1-2” of crushed coral gravel on top, either in reverse flow or down through the gravel for fish only aquariums, it was said that this was not good for corals. That the constant flow of water through the gravel favored aerobic bacteria, nitrosomas and nitrobacter, similar to a wet/dry trickle filter. And this left an incomplete nitrogen cycle producing nitrates, harmful to your corals.
 
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NanoReefLovers

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I am interested in how something like this may work without making a sand storm. My pumps already move the sand more than I like. To get the spots that don't get too much flow I uses a turkey baster about 20 min before a water change. However for the most part my diamond goby does an amazing job keeping the sand clean.
 

SawCJack00

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I'm a stickhead, so ideally I'd prefer to run BB, BUT I also love wrasses and have several sand sleepers, so I use Caribsea Special grade which has a little larger grain size to keep it from blowing too much, yet the wrasses do fine in it. I have several fighting conchs, lots of Nassarius snails, tons of worrms, and a pair of Bella Gobies that keep the sand sparkling. When I blow off my rocks with a powerhead, I also hit the sand to stir it up, but I do not have a pump running at all times for that purpose.
 
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Joe Grubbs

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When I set up my system 6 years back, I did establish an eight inch deep sand be in a section of my sump. In all that time, I cannot identify any specific benefit from that setup. So, when I upgraded the sump this year, the deep sand bed was not a part of the new build. I can say, I did not see any negative from the deep sand bed being a part of the system.


This is old school stuff from Bob Goemans Live Sand Secrets booklet, 1996. Still have it! At the time the concept sounded like it was a good idea, but I never tried placing 4” of sand in display much less a dedicated sump. What I did start working with and still do is 1” of mud in refugium. My displays all have either no sand or 1/2” or less. Purely, aesthetics. I have found that no matter how you try to maintain a sand bed, you always end up with cyano on the surface and detritus/ nutrients accumulation over time. Everything starts out fine, but over years, things start to deteriorate.
Back when we transitioned from under gravel filters with 1-2” of crushed coral gravel on top, either in reverse flow or down through the gravel for fish only aquariums, it was said that this was not good for corals. That the constant flow of water through the gravel favored aerobic bacteria, nitrosomas and nitrobacter, similar to a wet/dry trickle filter. And this left an incomplete nitrogen cycle producing nitrates, harmful to your corals.
 

Rjramos

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When I set up my system 6 years back, I did establish an eight inch deep sand be in a section of my sump. In all that time, I cannot identify any specific benefit from that setup. So, when I upgraded the sump this year, the deep sand bed was not a part of the new build. I can say, I did not see any negative from the deep sand bed being a part of the system.
Did you set it up with plenum under it or just 8” of sand with no flow thru?
 

ca1ore

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Awesome. Thanks! I will look into that. I was always curious what happens out in the wild. Obviously we try to replicate nature as best we can but can only go so far hence manual intervention like periodically cleaning equipment, water changes, siphoning, etc. It's always interesting to know how nature handles these housekeeping chores.
I remember reading back when the search for MH370 was in the news that there were many meters of silt at the bottom of the pacific that could swallow a plane .... and that it would likely never be found. Prophetic as it turns out, and sad for the families.
 

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