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Freshwater Deep Sand Bed

Discussion in 'Substrate' started by Wendy1B, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. Wendy1B

    Wendy1B Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hello,
    I am considering experimenting with a FW DSB. My tank is on order: http://www.fishtanksdirect.com/red-sea-reefer-170-black-34-gallon-glass-aquarium-set-r42111.aspx It will be a high tech set up with pressurized Co2 and LED lighting. I am planning on using the sump as a refugium on an opposite lighting schedule as the main display. Plants will be high light demanding, delicate species. Inhabitants will include Crystal Red Shrimp and peaceful shoals of compatible fish/Snails.
    I have the 8 liters of SL aqua soil, which I was going to place on top of 30/60 mesh Black Diamond Blasting Grit (also black in color), which I was planning on placing on top of a sprinkling of Osmocote Plus and some mulm from one of my co-workers' well-established, healthy molly tanks. This is the article I am basing my decision on to try a FW DSB: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_7/volume_7_1/dsb.html. The thing which prompted me to research the DSB is seeing a 3-year old setup in person while visiting my sister in CA. It was stable, and without algae problems. It had metal halide lighting, pressurized Co2, and a canister filter. The plants were challenging species; I had never seen them in person before because my town is in the grips of the low-tech set-up. The thing that attracts me most about the DSB is the biological filtering large-scale capacity. Plus, I'm somewhat of an experimenter. One concern which has been brought to my attention is the lack of nutrients in the blasting grit. Also, the possible impaction of said grit. My thoughts on these issues are:
    The Osmocote Plus does provide nourishment to plant roots; I used it in my old low tech set up, and the Anubius, crypts, and swords thrived on it. However,
    since particle size is important in the DSB, what if I manage to crush the Aquasoil fine enough to suffice? In the powder size which I ordered, it looks to be about 2-3x too large as it comes. It will be nutrient rich for the plant roots, and provide the different levels of oxygen zones required by the nitrifying bacteria along with the surface area required for the large amount of biological filtration I desire. The compaction issue is avoided by keeping enough live Blackworms and Malaysian Trumet Snails. I plan on using my sump refugium as a safe breeding zone for the blackworms so that I can continuously restock their population in the main display. At any rate, the depth of the sand bed is not something I am set on; I am open to foregoing a DSB if the possible consequences outweigh the benefits. But I am just hoping anyone on this forum might have some thoughts they'd like to share about the DSB?
     
  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    All I can ask is...why? Look at all the beautiful tanks here or on other forums or the ADA gallery. Not one uses this method. If it was so advantageous it would likely be more widely used. Yes, it works...but is more work and a PITA.

    There are no advantages over standard filtration. DSB are passive filtration systems relying on diffusion, making them less efficient than a good active filtration system like a sump or canister. Their advantage is in the volume of media or bacterial population. But, we recommend oversized active filtration. For example, filters I run on 50 gallon tanks are rated for 300 gallon tanks according to their manufacturer.

    Also, disturbing a DSB will be an issue and you will most definitely find yourself moving plants, adding plants, etc. Uprooting will disturb the layers. Lastly, in a heavily planted tank you tend to not get anaerobic layers of substrate because plant roots transport oxygen into the substrate it will be almost entirely aerobic. Disturbing anaerobic layers can be an issue for the health of your tank.

    There is really not a good reason to do this. Yes, this is how river systems and other freshwater systems work in nature to a great extent...but our tanks, despite what people like to claim, are artificial and to rigidly try to model them after nature is ill advised.

    Do not crush the aquasoil, it will turn to mud or dust.
     
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  3. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Wendy

    Shawn has given you excellent advice I very strongly suggest you do not use that method.

    Experimenting is OK but get many years of experience first.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  4. Wendy1B

    Wendy1B Aspiring Aquascaper

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    OK, I will listen to voices of experience. Shawn, the "why" was that with my tiny sump, I fear I won't have sufficient area for the high amount of biological filtration I desire. I do still have the fluval canister filter from my old 55 gallon; I suppose I can run that if my sump is as inadequate as I fear it may be. Once my setup arrives I will have to fiddle with things to see how I should proceed on filtration. I do appreciate the input, very much!
     
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  5. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Wendy

    If only many member posters would do that instead of giving us every reason why they know better.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  6. Wendy1B

    Wendy1B Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Um, I have found that those with experience are far better to listen to than online articles.
     
  7. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Wendy

    Are you saying Dr Google does not know every thing.

    When doing any research you have to know who wrote it and where it came from.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  8. Wendy1B

    Wendy1B Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Haha, "Dr. Google", I'll have to use that!
     
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  9. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I thought your tank was going to be small? What will be the total volume? How much biomedia will you have in your sump? I would recommend 5-10% tank volume of bio media. 10x filter turnover rate
     
  10. Wendy1B

    Wendy1B Aspiring Aquascaper

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    My total system volume is 43 gallons; 34 gallons in the display + 9 gallons in the sump. I really wish it had arrived this week. I haven't ever seen this setup in person. The sump is set up to be used as a refugium. I was thinking the other sections may be too small for enough bio media, and I have been told by many Shrimp breeders to go way overboard on the biological filtration for the best Shrimp health. Here's what I ordered: http://www.fishtanksdirect.com/red-sea-reefer-170-black-34-gallon-glass-aquarium-set-r42111.aspx I used to think I'd only have enough room for the 28 gallon nano, but my husband rearranged the furniture with me twice, then surprised me with a new couch and recliner set that gave me an additional 5" to work with! I was so blown away, I thought a tank was already a huge splurge, but he told me he wanted me to get the best possible tank we could fit in our tiny living room. He's a keeper! :)
     
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  11. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    How much of the sump will have biomedia? I would think you could easily reach the 3-4 gallons. More the better, yes...but for most people a layered substrate becomes a headache since they move plants, add plants, etc. It gets disturbed all the time.
     
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  12. Wendy1B

    Wendy1B Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I don't know how much of the sump I can fit bio media into until I can get my hands on the setup to mess with things. I was thinking I could put bio media in the chamber with the filter sock, and also use the bubble catching chamber for more bio media.
     

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