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

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

  • Very important

    Votes: 339 45.6%
  • Somewhat important

    Votes: 225 30.3%
  • Not important

    Votes: 103 13.9%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 66 8.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 1.3%

  • Total voters
    743

kzitzman1

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I think this is quite important to have fish and inverts move and clean the sand, but especially if you don’t. I also don’t want to syphon the sand too much when I change water as that can take out a lot of good stuff. Water flow helps move sand and the front center area tends to have the sand get low as water flow pushes sand to build up a little on the sides. So about once a month I’ll flatten out the tank by moving some sand back towards the middle that has been moved by our opposing mp40’s. We also have a conch snail, some gobies and pistol shrimps that help the process.
 

Klaas

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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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Besides sea cucumbers, snails, and sand eating Goby I have 2 Engineer Gobies. One on each site of the rock formations. They keep turning over the sand under the rocks. The hard to reach areas. Perfect team with the snails and cucumbers
 

lukefish

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I’m having quite a problem with my tiger pistol. He moves the sand up so much that each morning I have to turkey blast the sand off the corals that he’s moved the sand onto. It’s probably good for the sand in that it avoids a nitrate bomb and keeps the sand turned over... but I don’t think the corals like it.

This seems to be a vicious cycle but I’m willing to endure just to watch the goby and the pistol get on so well.

I know this isn’t the subject of this thread but if anyone has any tips in keeping the pistol and goby in one area of the tank and therefore keeping the sand Bed in check, let me know.

I also have a narssius snail. He goes missing for months on end and then every so often I see his nose poking out the sand bed. I’m a big fan of sand sifters.
 

mvbrandt

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Sand sifters are absolutely amazing and crucial.

Diamond Goby has to be one of the best.

One thing I think also is overlooked about the sand sitting gobies is the tiny particulates they kick up out of the sand contribute to coral and filter feeder nutrition as well, improve filter efficiency, etc. In a sense within these relatively contained system they're almost adding a marine snow like effect to the water column if your flow and turbulence is sufficient to pick up the silt coming out of their gills.

$0.02

Love my DG
PXL_20210321_205735300.PORTRAIT-01.COVER.jpg
 

twiatr2001

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I will agree that Diamond Gobies are great when they stay in the tank, with no exaggeration, I have probably gone through 30 or so gobies over the span of 2 years for them jumping out of the tank and or getting too close to the anemone, its sad to say but they aren't the smartest fish in the world. At one point my LFS gave me a few for free because he felt bad for me going through so many.
 

dedragon

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I’m having quite a problem with my tiger pistol. He moves the sand up so much that each morning I have to turkey blast the sand off the corals that he’s moved the sand onto. It’s probably good for the sand in that it avoids a nitrate bomb and keeps the sand turned over... but I don’t think the corals like it.

This seems to be a vicious cycle but I’m willing to endure just to watch the goby and the pistol get on so well.

I know this isn’t the subject of this thread but if anyone has any tips in keeping the pistol and goby in one area of the tank and therefore keeping the sand Bed in check, let me know.

I also have a narssius snail. He goes missing for months on end and then every so often I see his nose poking out the sand bed. I’m a big fan of sand sifters.
Same, my twin spot goby keeps the sand clean but all of my chalices and acans are covered in sand every day cuz of him
 

Trouble1375

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I haven't seen anyone mention a Bicolor Goatfish yet. He sifts the sand all day long but instead of picking it up and sifting through his gills, he digs with his barbels and then nose dives into the sand when he finds something he wants. The silt is in the water column continuously but he doesn't leave piles on the corals.
 

M Stein

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I don't think that dirty sand is necessarily detrimental. If your nitrate control method (mine is vodka) is sufficient then your water will be fine.
However, nobody likes an ugly sandbed, so I make sure have at least the surface layer stirred up.
2. What are you favorite sand sifting or stirring fish?
Gobies are really effective, but sometime they can be territorial, and only sift certain areas at a time. Some like the diamond goby can even rearrange your sand making piles burying rocks and (gasp!) coral to suit themselves. Even if they don't do much to rearrange the sand they'll almost certainly drop sand on some of your lower placed corals.

which brings me to.
3. What are your favorite sand sifting or stirring inverts?
I'd love to say sandsifting stars but I haven't had the opportunity to try them out. So I'll have to go with nassarius snails. They sift evenly and efficiently and they also eat uneaten food.

What I'd really love to use though, are stingrays. Shame my tank's too small.
 
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Minhaj Qazi

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V Imp. 2 tanks With Diamond Goby and Without.
 

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Tundra Cuttle

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1. It is important because it keeps your sandbed from ultimately releasing nutrients into the tank once it gets to a mature capacity. Livestock seem to be gentle on the sand bed and keep it balanced, while vacuuming the sandbed seems to be very harsh on the biological filtration (bacteria) inhabiting the sand. I have seen sand vacuuming kick off nuisance blooms of various things and/or kick off a mini cycle.

2. Sand sifting gobies are my favorite for sifting fish but I don't like the way they put sand on coral.

3. Sand sifting stars and nassarius snails are my go to because they don't get sand everywhere.
 

Trouble1375

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Our diamond goby is like that and goes everywhere to clean. Our watchman goby and pistol shrimps pick a specific area.
Our bicolor Goatfish goes everywhere and if I move something he has a party at the freshly exposed sand. Every once in a while he’ll swim up and spit the sand everywhere but that is very rare.
 

EricR

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Newbie...

Do bristleworms count? (Someone asked earlier with no replies). Curious since I have a bunch that crawl up out of the sand periodically to feed.

Any recommendations for safe online stores to purchase sand-sifting inverts (like some of the snails and sea stars mentioned here) -- feel free to message me directly if not appropriate for thread (...since that's kinda like advertising?)
 
BRS

Have you ever had aquarium equipment damaged by livestock?

  • YES (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 12 17.1%
  • NO

    Votes: 53 75.7%
  • Maybe now that you mention it

    Votes: 4 5.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 1 1.4%
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