How important is sand sifting or sand stirring livestock to your reef tank?

BRS

How important is sand sifting or sand stirring livestock to your reef tank?

  • Very important

    Votes: 332 45.5%
  • Somewhat important

    Votes: 222 30.5%
  • Not important

    Votes: 101 13.9%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 64 8.8%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 1.4%

  • Total voters
    729

revhtree

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Earlier this week we talked about vacuuming the sand bed to keep it nice and clean. We want to keep it clean for many reasons which include the overall health of your reef as well as for it's visual appearance. Another way to accomplish this is by housing sand sifting or sand stirring inverts and fish. Let's talk about it today!

1. How important is housing sand sifting/stirring livestock to the overall health of your reef tank?

2. What are you favorite sand sifting or stirring fish?

3. What are your favorite sand sifting or stirring inverts?

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lapin

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Cant have dirty sand now can we.
Sand sifting fish and snails are my go to.
 

AlexG

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In my last system I more or less left the sand bed alone and only occasionally stirred up a small section a couple times a month to release some detritus and microfauna into the water column. I heavily relied on natural sand cleaners to get the job done. Sand stars, sea cucumbers, nassarius snails, conchs, and micro fauna were all critical to keeping the sand bed clean. I avoided sand sifting fish since they tend to deposited sand on the corals and can easily deplete some of the valuable microfauna in the sand.
 

Janet Belanger

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I'm not sure if it really helps keep the sand clean, but it's neat to see a conch sifting through, or watch snails pop up from under the sand to consume food that hits the substrate. I also had two pistol shrimp, which were constantly moving sand around, and I think they disturbed the sand enough that they helped keep detritus in suspension.
 

Zonly1

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Since I do not vacuum my sand bed, like ever, I rely on my sand sifting friends. Lots of Nassarius, a hand full of conchs and my favorite, golden head sleeper goby. I do use a turkey baster to kick up the crap out of my sand bed occasionally.

Edit: forgot to mention a couple of cucumbers and a pistol shrimp that make mountains! lol
 

DH78

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They help a bit with sand cleaning, but they sure do rearrange the sand and, in my opinion, keep it the sandscape more natural looking.
I have a diamond Goby. I love all the sand sifting gobies. They are fun to watch and always have a bit of personality.
I also have a sand sifting star, nassarius snails, and conchs. None of these seems as effective as the goby. However, they do in general go deeper.
 

Sam25

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My yellow watchman goby, tiger postal shrimp, and sand sifting star keeps my sand bed white and they always clean up the detritus that builds op on one of the back corners

The goby shrimp pair do move my sand a lot and rearrange it, but i have my rocks on the glass so I’m not worried about them moving things
 

Spinal Compass

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A nitrate bomb can destroy a tank. There are aerobic bacteria at the surface and anaerobic bacteria deep in the sand. The deep sand can store nitrates within the substrate and if it is released suddenly then the nitrate level in the tank can spike. Therefore, it has been said that you either constantly disturb it or never disturb it. If you have not stirred your sand for years and then suddenly read about the importance of sifting the sand then you could release a nitrate bomb. Sand mobilizing animals like gobies and snails prevent the build up of nitrates and should be added once they have sufficient food supply for bottom feeders. If you add a bunch of snails and they don't have food then they starve to death. Gobies can feed off of excess food but are sometimes frightened by their larger tank mates. Therefore, it's no simple matter to find the balance.
 

RealtorSarkis

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I’m currently my tanks sand sifting clean up crew, I stir the sand bed every few days but the sides of my tank get low flow so the sand grows algae, I’m gonna get myself a diamond goby for sure and probably some sand sitting cuc. I more so just care about the way it looks, the look of white clean sand is appealing.
 

hqn77

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I find that the best combination for keeping sandbed clean is:

1. Siphoning the sandbed every two weeks.
2. A small army of nassarius snails and tiger conches.
3. Vibrant.

Having sand sifting gobies mean that I cannot keep plate corals, acanthophyllia and cynarina. Not worth the trade off.
 

Calm Blue Ocean

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I really like my sand maintenance crew but find they can't get the job done alone. Maybe someday when my tank is a bit more mature but for now, vacuuming regularly is still a necessity.

I don't have any sand sifting fish (I guess my YWG sifts occasionally but not enough to be significant).

Inverts I'd say the best at turning over the sand is my Tiger Pistol Shrimp. He goes on these kicks where he just digs up everything! Best part is that he turns over sand in places I have no hope to ever clean myself. Last week he completely cleared everything out from under the island furthest from his usual burrow. The other tank inhabitants loved him for it, with hermits napping there during the day and my Pink Streak hiding there when the other fish get too crazy!

I also have a number of cerith snails that dig into the sand during the day, nassarius snails that cruise the sand at night, a Tiger Sand Conch who is a beast, and 4 small fighting conchs.

Still I must vacuum.
 

schuby

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Hmmm, this seems like the same topic as a few days ago, "How often do you clean your sand?" Most of the replies are exactly the same. This would be more helpful if the question was, "For those who don't manually clean or stir their sand, what creatures do you keep for sand-maintenance?"
 
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WHAT WATER CHANGE "PERCENTAGE" MAKES IT WORTH DOING?

  • 5% - 10%

    Votes: 26 12.7%
  • 10% - 20%

    Votes: 107 52.2%
  • 20% - 30%

    Votes: 43 21.0%
  • 30% - 40%

    Votes: 6 2.9%
  • 40% - 50%

    Votes: 2 1.0%
  • 50% or more

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No water change is worth it

    Votes: 4 2.0%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 5 2.4%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 12 5.9%
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