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

Royce White

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So do most people here run filter socks or not?? If i dont run filter socks the sump gets full of ditritus and i feel it may be a concern but from reading these posts it seems it may not be as bad as i thought.. so ditritus is food? Do people find tanks do better with or without filter socks?
I don't use socks and my sump and tank sand is clean. I believe it is because of the healthy amount of bristle worms and pods. All my rock came from the ocean, Fla gulf'
 

Dan_P

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Some people search far and wide for the most useful CUC to tackle detritus. Others see it as a nitrate factory. However, detritus does play an important role in let’s say, a well-established mixed reef.

Thoughts?
When you use the term detritus, to which material in the system are you (not the reefing community) referring? Where is it located? What color is it? Does it float or sink?
 
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ScottR

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When you use the term detritus, to which material in the system are you (not the reefing community) referring? Where is it located? What color is it? Does it float or sink?
This was posed as a broad question. Not necessarily specific to my tank.
 

Cory

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Personally i dont think lots of detritus is good. Ive seen 2" pile up in a 25 gallon tank cause diseases in one of my fish. It piled up in the overflow. When removed, the fish healed. When pile up again one fish got sick. Removed and it went away.

I think that the color it puts in the water may be bad too for light penetration. It absorbs par.

I also found a correlation of detritus causing cyano to grow in areas dense with it.

Sediment runoff from land that contains humic acids and tannins was found to inhibit corraline algae growth.

I think a little is okay. But i dont want to keep it in the tank because mostly we dont know what it is. Nobody tests it.

Organics and humics will also bind minerals. Possibly too strongly that they might not be bioavailable to things that use it.
 
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Dan_P

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This was posed as a broad question. Not necessarily specific to my tank.
Sure, I understand and still interested in your answers. Tells what you mean by detritus.
 

Gareth elliott

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Maybe @Bulk Reef Supply could test detritus with icp. Would be interesting to know whats actually left in detritus after day 1, day 7, week 3.

I know on my freshwater planted my general hardness increases more quickly when i let detritus collect. so make sure there is enough unidirectional bottom flow to keep it suspended. So filter catches it.
 

90's reefer

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Bare bottom here. I suck it out into the filter sock every 3-4 weeks based on amount.
My tank runs .02ish po4.
After blowing off rocks and disturbing the detrius I have noticed an increase in po4 to .06ish.
Sump gets cleaned every 6 months.
So far no issues and po4 is .02ish and no3 <2 on my system and stable.
I have also let it go for 2+ months before removing from the tank with no issues.
 

AJsReef

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Interesting, I run BB as well but with a roller mat. I’m stable at 0.00 not necessarily where I want to be but I can’t stand cleaning my sump if I let detritus down there. I find with socks/mat that I never have to clean skimmer/reactor/return pumps and I really like not having to do those chores.

I do get 1 or 2 specific detritus piles in the display I may clean up every few weeks. My thought process is I’d rather minimize maintenance and control what I can control through water changes and dosing. 1% AWC daily and dosing PO4/NO3 :)
 

Cory

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Id be interested in seeing an icp of detritus and some sort of bacterial/viral analysis.
 

Dan_P

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Id be interested in seeing an icp of detritus and some sort of bacterial/viral analysis.
An N-DOC test might be more informative about the material’s ability to support bacteria growth, what everyone worries about. Total organic carbon and nitrogen content would inform us about the possibility for ammonia production.

@taricha has studied his version of detritus. I believe he found the stuff was not “digestible”. His results were more nuanced and he will have to determine how his results might inform us. I have suggested to him that the stuff is biological ash. If the stuff is accumulating, it means that it is not being eaten.
 

Cory

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Glenn f believes using a "powerfilter" as an essential component of his tank. To him its a must. @glennf

Not sure on his opinion of detritus
 

DraggingTail

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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 secret is a reverse undergravel filter, but don't tell anyone. :)


I have never fought anything.................After Viet Nam I mean. ;)
Do you have instructions on the diatom filter?
 

Cory

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From ronald shimeck

"Aquarists feed their systems to keep their decorative animals in good health. The amount of food necessary to maintain a large well-stocked aquarium is quite significant. However, most of that food is not used by the organisms that it is meant for, it either is either converted into dissolved nutrients or it is converted into feces. Both of these materials must be removed from the aquarium or converted into some harmless product. That conversion is almost entirely the done in the sediments, and it is done by cycling food over and over through various animals and microbes until there is either no nutritional value left in it or it has been totally converted to soluble gases that leave the system."

 
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merereef

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From ronald shimeck

"Aquarists feed their systems to keep their decorative animals in good health. The amount of food necessary to maintain a large well-stocked aquarium is quite significant. However, most of that food is not used by the organisms that it is meant for, it either is either converted into dissolved nutrients or it is converted into feces. Both of these materials must be removed from the aquarium or converted into some harmless product. That conversion is almost entirely the done in the sediments, and it is done by cycling food over and over through various animals and microbes until there is either no nutritional value left in it or it has been totally converted to soluble gases that leave the system."

for this to work does it require the sand bed to be of a certain depth
 

Cory

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for this to work does it require the sand bed to be of a certain depth
If you want denitrfication to happen, it generally needs deeper oxygen free areas, so yes you would need a sand bed that can do that. But this depends on the particle size. Any particle size can produce anoxic areas but for a sand bed with pebbles you might need 4 foot deep sand bed. With sugar fine sand, youll need at least 3 inches.
 

NanoDJS

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Haha Im with Paul on this one. Especially out here on the Island we have alot of Old Salts, and some legit ancient systems that look Unbelievable , you go to the sump area and omg its like never been touched by human hands , just as crusty as can be and it the tank loves it , I think its essential to the balance also . These new style " sterile" OCD tanks I call em fail because its so alien the way they are being kept, nature is dirty and grimey .
 

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