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What’s your opinion on the role of detritus in a reef tank

atoll

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we cannot agree its intert mineralized waste, since its killing tanks that do home moves without following surgical order of ops. There is marked consequence in viewing detritus as neutral, in all cases. somewhere that loop you describe Lasse gets interrupted, and bad things happen, for many tanks that compact in waste.
Waste is just food for other organisms. At the bottom of the chain is bacteria is it not? This bacteria is either living from what the bacteria is producing or what is attracted to it surely. Other than the possibility of hydrogen sulfide being released from disturbing a thick bed of detritus what else is there to worry about? Having said that why disturb it anyway. I may be barking up the wrong tree here but that's the way I understand it.
 

brandon429

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we would have to have a thread where people successfully move homes and keep 100% of the sandbed as is, in order to explore the safety aspect of sandbeds/detritus/particulate organic waste.

a home move thread quickly reveals solid crashes though if this attempt is made across 20 tanks for example, whatever the mechanism is, its wide-ranging and certainly not rare.




on a side note I am positive that any changes with age do not hurt old tanks regarding bacteria. I think a portion of the industry is gearing up to measure that, tell us its bad, then sell us something.

Many people have old tanks that run perfect year after year and add nothing to deal with bacteria. My claim is that bacteria perpetually self manage if we backflush/deep clean the system occasionally. Pauls old reef is refreshed by the ocean water and reef animals he adds. mine is opposite, its a land locked super old pico in texas where solid coralline live rock never ever ever ever needs bac recharging whatsoever.
 

Paul B

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Coincidentally, I am stirring my gravel even as we speak, so to speak. :p

I don't care about detritus as a detriment as I actually kind of like it, but I run a reverse Undergravel filter and it needs yearly stirring and cleaning (where I can reach) to keep it functioning correctly. The fish love it.

I moved the tank here about 18 months ago and it is pretty filthy. :oops:
Before I moved it here it was set up in the same place for 35 years.

You can't see any detritus in my tank because it is all incorporated in the gravel. I had to empty the large diatom filter once because it clogged.
This video was from the last time I did this and wasn't to dirty. When I did it just now, my copperband came out in the front of the tank with a flashlight. :cool:

 

Lasse

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There you are my old friend.:)
Do you think your Oxydator in some way impacts upon either the detritus or the end products of it?
You already know ⁹I am a big advocator of Oxydators and have my model A with 12% peroxide and 2 catalysts in the sump of my 530ltr aquarium. Not that I want to get into more discussion on Oxydators here, we have debated such many times. :)
Yes - IMO it does - is oxidize organics (chemical mineralization). For the moment - I do not run my oxydator but the system still works.

IMO - It is important to differ between organic and inorganic detritus there the organic is food for different organism and the inorganic is just minerals. If you do not have anything that will process the organic detritus - when you will probably have problems sooner or later if you do not take them out - but if you try to establish an ecosystem - you do not need that (and you should not either).

I believe that the critical thing missing in reef tanks today is biodiversity.
IMO - you are right

Sincerely Lasse
 

merereef

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Wake up Brandon - here it comes :D




Nearly all living poikilotherms will convert around 20 % of the organics of the ingested stuff into new biomass and excrete the rest of the organics together with indigestible matter as both organic and inorganic substances. With other words - if an animal ingest detritus of organic origin - it will block around 20 % of that into biomass and leave the rest to next organism - that will block 20 % and so on. After countless recirculations - the rest is mineralized detritus and dissolved inorganic nutrients - of no concern as load in a biological system if there is organism using photosynthesis in the system. The dissolved inorganic leftover like PO4 and different inorganic N species will be food for primary producers like algae (including zooxanthellae of corals and other animals carrying zooxanthellae) and plants (mostly in freshwater - few plants in salt water) In a well working system - input of organic nutrients and consumption of organic/inorganic nutrient in the system are in balance with each other. If the inorganic nutrients rise in the system - either the input is to large or the consumption is to low. If the inorganic nutrients are zero - either the input is to low or the consumption to high.

My aquarium is run by ecological principles there I (as human) most of the time only is a viewer. I try to stay out from that ecosystem

Here is my first sump apartment - never ever been cleaned or touched in any way during nearly 4 yeras

IMG_20200321_172335.jpg

The return chamber - same treatment

IMG_20200321_172342.jpg

And here is my well worked out sand in the DT - However - not by me - I´m lazy - my animals of different taxa is responsible for this good looking - nearly 4 years old rather thin sandbed (4-7 cm deep)

200321-sand-.jpg


My refuge has a sandbed around 20 - 25 cm and it has been untouched (of me) for around 2.5 years

How my DT looks like - please see my build thread

With other words - the proof is in the pudding

Sincerely Lasse

Hi so do you never syphon your sand bed or sump?
 

atoll

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Yes - IMO it does - is oxidize organics (chemical mineralization). For the moment - I do not run my oxydator but the system still works.

IMO - It is important to differ between organic and inorganic detritus there the organic is food for different organism and the inorganic is just minerals. If you do not have anything that will process the organic detritus - when you will probably have problems sooner or later if you do not take them out - but if you try to establish an ecosystem - you do not need that (and you should not either).


IMO - you are right

Sincerely Lasse
Trying to stay out of the whole Oxydator thing but are you saying you are currently not running your Oxydator although you have it in your sump? If you don't why have you stopped using it so?
 

brandon429

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Pauls balance seems ideal if one is going to run the higher biodiversity/bed approach. Its highly oxygenated waste even when in place and the only tank on the forum where water flows out from up under the bed into the tank; then the diatom cleaning upwells safe detritus, for removal. I can see why 5 decades have agreed w the practice. the tank is opposite in every way of all the entrants into our safe home move threads. What Paul does not have: zones of gray stinky waste/kill zones
 

merereef

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Coincidentally, I am stirring my gravel even as we speak, so to speak. :p

I don't care about detritus as a detriment as I actually kind of like it, but I run a reverse Undergravel filter and it needs yearly stirring and cleaning (where I can reach) to keep it functioning correctly. The fish love it.

I moved the tank here about 18 months ago and it is pretty filthy. :oops:
Before I moved it here it was set up in the same place for 35 years.

You can't see any detritus in my tank because it is all incorporated in the gravel. I had to empty the large diatom filter once because it clogged.
This video was from the last time I did this and wasn't to dirty. When I did it just now, my copperband came out in the front of the tank with a flashlight. :cool:

What is this tool you are using? And have uou ever fought dinos?
 

SloppyWhenWet

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It doesnt doesnt seem to affect coral and I've noticed the feeding response as well. I understand also over time the build up of detirtus to maybe keep po4 and no3 at higher values. If your coral look good I'd keep it up.
 

Paul B

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The tool is a diatom filter and the tank would have never lasted 49 years with out it. I don't understand how people run tanks long term without one. :oops: I have been using them since the 60s.



the tank is opposite in every way of all the entrants into our safe home move threads.
The secret is a reverse undergravel filter, but don't tell anyone. :)

And have uou ever fought dinos?
I have never fought anything.................After Viet Nam I mean. ;)
 

Paul B

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They must have been because I used them when I had fresh water and I have not had them in 53 years.
Some of mine are probably from then but I had to re-build all of them.

Here is a little history of this hobby.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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I allowed detritus to accumulate in parts of my sumps and refugia to an inch deep or more mud.

I cannot be sure if that is a net plus or minus, but I do think it may be why I could dose large amounts of vinegar (up to 1 mL per gallon per day) without nutrients getting too low. That dose was too high for other reasons, but I think the detritus buffered against an excessive nutrient drop.
 

merereef

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I allowed detritus to accumulate in parts of my sumps and refugia to an inch deep or more mud.

I cannot be sure if that is a net plus or minus, but I do think it may be why I could dose large amounts of vinegar (up to 1 mL per gallon per day) without nutrients getting too low. That dose was too high for other reasons, but I think the detritus buffered against an excessive nutrient drop.

Mmmm i might have to remove my filter socks tonight!!! I hear people that run tanks without filter socks also see better polyp extension... and someone before mentioned our system nowadays is lacking in bio diversity so this might help
 

Bruce60

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Mmmm i might have to remove my filter socks tonight!!! I hear people that run tanks without filter socks also see better polyp extension... and someone before mentioned our system nowadays is lacking in bio diversity so this might help
I have gone back and forth with the use of filter socks from always to never. Currently, if I am cleaning or stirring things up I like to install one to catch the detritus and other debris. I typically will leave in for a day before removing. Other than that, I typically do not install one.
 

Lasse

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Hi so do you never syphon your sand bed or sump?

Never ever done that. (must admit, however, that I cleaned the return part once after pouring 100 grams of GFO into it - by mistake :mad:) I have stirred my sandbed for a week three years ago - before my CUC had establish themselves. i do not use any mechanical filters, have never don that. Use a biological filter today. I run it rather slow and let it run for 100 % during short periods in order to get out bacteria film from it (food for filtrating animals)

Trying to stay out of the whole Oxydator thing but are you saying you are currently not running your Oxydator although you have it in your sump? If you don't why have you stopped using it so?
It is a trial and error test in order to understand some things with the aquarium. i will use it and not use it for some periods and see what happens. For the moment - my redox probe was not working (I have put in a new today). I have run without for three weeks now

Sincerely Lasse
 

Lasse

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and the only tank on the forum where water flows out from up under the bed into the tank
Not true - I do that too in my refuge. That´s the base of my system.

Sincerely Lasse
 

PranK

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I really like having a heap of detritus in my sump because I have a heap of pods, stars, worms, etc living in there and I want to keep them. But, I do find that every now and then my nitrates will climb and I'll need to blast out as much of the detritus as I can, and when I do I let it go through to the display. I do this a few times a week for a month or so. It makes the display cloudy for a few hours but I see so much feeding response in corals and critters.

My goal is to try to do this on a more frequent basis, so rather than this action once a year, wind it down to a smaller amount monthly or weekly.

I also have an 'overflow tank' which is plumbed into my main system, its a 2 foot cube with my livestock that has been unable to live in the display for whatever reason. I recently syphoned the sand out of that to give BB a go. I don't like the clean bottom look, but coraline is starting to grow now so hopefully it'll get covered soon. It is nice knowing there is no crap in there.
 

tony'stank

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I believe that a moderate level of detritus is beneficial to reef tanks. After reading Mike Palettas talks I removed my filter socks. I use a turkey Baxter on my rocks and upper levels of my sand bed weekly. Like others here have noted the corals go into a feeding mode. Like Paul B’s tank if you look at my tank you dont see a dirty tank. You see a mixed reef with a healthy diversity of aquatic life ( filter feeders seem to really benefit. I believe that most of the people on this forum that keep detritus- free bare bottom tanks have sos dominated tanks with few fish and inverts. While beautiful those tanks have always seemed kind of sterile to me.
 

merereef

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I believe that a moderate level of detritus is beneficial to reef tanks. After reading Mike Palettas talks I removed my filter socks. I use a turkey Baxter on my rocks and upper levels of my sand bed weekly. Like others here have noted the corals go into a feeding mode. Like Paul B’s tank if you look at my tank you dont see a dirty tank. You see a mixed reef with a healthy diversity of aquatic life ( filter feeders seem to really benefit. I believe that most of the people on this forum that keep detritus- free bare bottom tanks have sos dominated tanks with few fish and inverts. While beautiful those tanks have always seemed kind of sterile to me.
Do you have a link for mike palettas talk? I love listeninn to that guy
 

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