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View Full Version : DSB Dynamics- To use or loose?


Zoaelite
12-30-2009, 12:33 AM
Wanted to start a discussion on the use of DSB's and remote DSB's in reef tanks and how they work for everyone. Are you running one, how large and deep is it, what's it composed of, who lives in there, how much flow is in it, how did you seed it, is it dark/ light and the most important question "Do you think it works?".

I'm currently running two but I can't really consider either of them anaerobic. The first is a 30g fuge with a 6-8 inch bed, this tank is full of mangroves and a pistol shrimp/ goby pair which would eliminate any anaerobic areas. The second is about 12X12X10 inches of sand in the return area from my main tank, excuse my paint skills but here's a basic drawing:

http://img63.imageshack.us/img63/3240/deepsandbed.png (http://img63.imageshack.us/i/deepsandbed.png/)

So water comes from the main tank and is injected under the sand, the process looks really close to a phosban reactor just with allot more flying media.

30g Fuge/ DSB
Seeded from old tank sand
Pistol Shrimp/ Goby pair and a ton of mangroves/ cheato live there
Sand is aragonite mixed with rubble and reef mud
appx 5X turn over per hour through the fuge
Lighted for 12 hours per day

29 Sump/ DSB
Seeded from old tank sand
No fish, TONES of feather dusters and macro inverts
Sand is aragonite and larger gravel pieces
Appx 60X turn over through the sump
Non-lighted

I have a feeling my almost non existent cycle (and my lack of pest algae) in my new 170g is because the transfer of 2 established DSB's from my old systems to the new one. Since adding them I have seen my water quality improve (Reduction of Nitrate, Nitrate and PO4) and a dramatic increase in the ability to successfully keep different species of cnidarians/ fish.

Skimmer King
12-30-2009, 12:47 AM
you arent going to get the same effect with the water going up through the sand. you need to have no oxygen in the bottom for anarobic to work you are just going to have the sand all over the place.

christyf5
12-30-2009, 12:52 AM
I've been DSB free for a few years now and never looked back. I still get envious of those with nice white sandbeds but all mine ever did was collect detritus and create a nutrient sink for algae growth.

Zoaelite
12-30-2009, 12:54 AM
you arent going to get the same effect with the water going up through the sand. you need to have no oxygen in the bottom for anarobic to work you are just going to have the sand all over the place.

Well the sand does fly all over the place but a decrease in anaerobic bacteria would yield an increase in aerobic bacteria (Atleast this is my approach at it). Does anyone have any studies cited on the efficiency of anaerobic compaired to aerobic in respects to nutrient export? I would think that the presense of oxygen would increase efficency (Atleast in Eukaryotes this is true) but could be the opposit for prokaryotes.

I've been DSB free for a few years now and never looked back. I still get envious of those with nice white sandbeds but all mine ever did was collect detritus and create a nutrient sink for algae growth.
Christy have you ever tried a remote DSB? My main tank only has about 1-2 inches of sand but I reap all the rewards of a DSB by having them out of the display.

mark
12-30-2009, 01:31 AM
BB here and liking it. No problems with algea, nitrates etc so thinking a DSB not really required other than for looks.

As for a BB staying bare, gets cover with coraline and corals so not that noticeable after a while.

See here (http://canreef.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=35197/) for a GSP bottomed tank

Marlin65
12-30-2009, 05:29 AM
I run one on my 100 5-6 inch deep slow flow but I have a power head in there to keep strong flow if that makes sense lighted two T5 with 5000k bulbs and I have a few sand snails. I have some really cool feather worms and other stuff in there that is doing really well. Mine is remote so I can shut it down at anytime. So far it is still all white no dead spots. No No3 but then I don't have any in my BB tank either.

christyf5
12-30-2009, 06:08 AM
Christy have you ever tried a remote DSB? My main tank only has about 1-2 inches of sand but I reap all the rewards of a DSB by having them out of the display.

To be honest, I've never really known the "benefits" of a sandbed. Once I started experiencing success without it, I never really found the need for a remote DSB.

tlo
12-30-2009, 08:24 AM
I like my dsb. I have it in my display tank and I have no problem with nitrates. I like the look and it doesnt limit me on my livestock. ie - some wrasses and such that burrow into the sandbed at night.

I do get some algae on the sandbed but it is kept under control with a sanddollar and cucmber.

For those of you who are BB, do you have to vaccumm the detrius off the bottom and how often?

RuGlu6
12-30-2009, 09:50 AM
DSB does work, the problem is that it will crash the tank eventually sooner or later.
BB is way safer especially when you have large amounts of live rock.


Though in smaller tanks (less then 100 gal) it makes sense to have a shallow sand bed an inch or so it will accumulate detritus , however it will also make tank more stable.

Zoaelite
12-31-2009, 09:31 PM
DSB does work, the problem is that it will crash the tank eventually sooner or later.
BB is way safer especially when you have large amounts of live rock.


Though in smaller tanks (less then 100 gal) it makes sense to have a shallow sand bed an inch or so it will accumulate detritus , however it will also make tank more stable.

This is an age old question that we could discuss until we are blue in the face, but to say that ALL DSB will Crash ALL tanks at one time needs some revamping. I have a feeling that people who have a crash at the 2-3 year mark with no apparent cause automatically blame it on "Old tank syndrome" and there deep sand bed because as humans we need to classify our failure. Anyone have any reading on how a DSB works over time, I would enjoy some brief info on this.

hillegom
12-31-2009, 09:42 PM
Question of whether a DSB is good has me curious as well

Powertec
12-31-2009, 09:47 PM
I have a remote DSB for years with no problems, I even just drained the water to a minimum and then moved the tank containing it to my new house and had no problems starting a new tank. It kept my nitrates still at zero the whole time. IMO you just need to keep the sand bed clean, I have the water going over filter floss first and I also use snails to keep it stirred. Do whatever works for you. I worried about it causing a tank crash until i read on RC a TOTM with a DSB for over ten years.

Zoaelite
12-31-2009, 11:45 PM
Some great reading here if anyone is interested:
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-06/rs/feature/index.php

And a good quote:
Here, bacteria and chemistry combine to produce conditions that result in the precipitation of many toxic heavy metals such as sulphide and iron hydroxide minerals. (Pincher, et al., 1999, 2000) Such materials accumulate in the tank with time, but as long as these sediments remain anoxic, those poisons are locked there and can be considered "safe."

Crashes from a DSB would only happen if this concentration over time became deadly enough to wipe the tank with a complete stir up. The only case where I could see this happen is if you had a VERY large reef tank with a DSB display which for some reason had a large area become anoxic and then this complete bottom layer was mixed up again. The limiting factor in this case though is that in a reef tank we shouldn't see a large anoxic area form (due to our large clean up crews & healthy sand beds) and because of those clean up crews the sand bed should already stay mixed.

Now in the case of a tank with liverock and a skimmer as quoted from here:
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2008-04/newbie/index.php
This produces hazardous gasses like hydrogen sulfide and shuts down the ability of beneficial bacteria to effectively convert nitrate to nitrogen. A heavily stocked tank with only a skimmer and live rock is asking for trouble over time.

Interesting... very interesting...
and to finish off the post, a quote from Tom Murphy
Well, I'm getting ahead of myself here. I'll be talking about deep sand beds next month which, at least in my opinion, is the best way for a new reef keeper to set up their first tank.

Zoaelite
01-01-2010, 12:47 AM
Another great read:
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2008-05/newbie/index.php
Second header in has a whack load of info on DSB's.

hillegom
01-01-2010, 02:15 AM
Thanks zoaElite.
Very good information there.

aquajeep
01-04-2010, 06:23 AM
i use a fluidized sand bed filter.same idea but in a tube that hangs on to the side of my refugium. i can tell it helps but not a whole lot.if it was bigger i bet it would be more beneficial.i doubt there is a huge difference between dsb and bare bottom tanks as long as you clean detritus regularly and turn the sand bed up (natural hurricane effect) once in a while.

Binare
01-11-2010, 04:30 AM
I've always used my overflow boxes for dsbs. Works great and fills up an otherwise useless area.

jeno
01-17-2010, 09:20 PM
I use two salt buckets full of sand in my sump as my remote DSB. It never gets stirred and there is no light. This is strictly for the anoerobic benefit.

no_bs
01-18-2010, 07:16 PM
This article is copied and edited from a previous post. And will be an ongoing piece of research.



Ok.

Seeing as how there is more than enough disinformation out there to fill a book, let's get a couple of things straight right off the bat.

Size Matters?

Yes size matters, the smaller the better. But, even more importantly is the diversity of size. The following link, written by Dr. Ron Shimek goes into great detail regarding the how’s and why’s of size for sandbeds.

http://www.rshimek.com/reef/sediment.htm

And for the truly devoted, a link to the list of reference material used to prepare the above document.

http://www.rshimek.com/reef/sediment_ref.htm

We really don’t need to go into why we install a DSB , but to satisfy the curious

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-0...ture/index.htm

The Right Stuff?

We worry a lot about sand bed mineral composition in the aquarium hobby. Generally, however, neither mom nature nor the critters care very much. Natural sediments in coral reef areas may be calcitic in nature, ranging from oolitic sands in areas of calcium carbonate precipitation to foraminiferan shells, coral rubble or coral sand, or they may be wholly or in part composed of lava or river runoff (terragenous sediments, including silicates, organic muds or silts). As a general rule, one finds similar organisms growing in similar-size sediments regardless of the composition. As long as there is not some inherently toxic component to the sediments, the organisms generally don’t seem to care too much about its composition.


Am I Buff Enough?

Does a DSB help buffer your system? No.

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...hreadid=279502

What is really going on when you ask buffer my system? Basically you’re trying to maintain the equilibrium between pH and carbonate alkalinity, all the while keeping dissolved calcium levels at their optimum levels. This of course is a very simplified version of the chemistry that’s going on.

For a list of chemistry articles try:

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...hreadid=102605

I’m not really going to go into to it here. Lets just say that “buffering” your system is better done by user intervention via water changes, 2 part additives, calcium reactors or kalkawasser and lime water drips.


The End?

A DSB is there to process waste from feeding, period. To support bethnic life forms from tiny to microscopic, both aerobic and anaerobic to process waste. Sort of like a reverse food chain. Does it matter what it’s made of? No, as long as it’s not toxic. Miracle mud was actually being dug up from the creators/inventors back yard.
So it could be silica sand, quartz crystals, dirt from your back yard or ground up calcium carbonate, the choice is yours.

no_bs
01-18-2010, 07:24 PM
After doing days of research, i was sold on this method. To control nitrates, that's what the ultimate goal should be for all of us, and so much interesting life that lives there. Aswell the rule of thumb regarding LR (1.5-2lbs/gallon) no less. So the changes are being made. No more maintenance.

jeno
01-19-2010, 04:17 AM
This article is copied and edited from a previous post. And will be an ongoing piece of research.

Thanks for the links :)

hillegom
01-19-2010, 06:12 AM
DSB and vodka;, a good read here
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-11/eb/feature/index.php