Refugium/Deep Sand Bed Experts-Need Advice

mboley1

New member
Been out of the hobby for a while and I am doing my first Refugium/Deep sand bed in the sump for my new 150 gallon tank set-up. Purpose is nutrient export. Sump will have about 1100-1220 gph running through it. Plan on running just a 1 inch substrate in the tank of 2-5mm size. SPS corals, tunze streams reason for courser substrate.

My plan right now is to have a deep sand bed about 5-6" deep, area of 20" x 15" with chaeto algea in the sump

Question is 1) am i on the right track and 2)what type of substraight? Is it as simple as throwing in 80 pounds of CaribSea AragaMud and some Mineral mud and seeding it some live sand from various tanks to get it going?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
 

Travis L. Stevens

New member
This will be rather difficult to set up since you want SPS. For nitrate removal in an SPS system, I would almost say that copious amounts of live rock might actually be better than a Deep Sand Bed as your Primary Biological Filtration. I'm not a BB Guru or a DSB Warrior, either. I prefer DSB, but a Bare Bottom has it's time and place. I think with what you are trying to achieve with that large amount of flow through the refugium/sump, it might be better to either run a DSB in the display and the refugium, or keep your fish stocking on the lighter side and fill the refugium with live rock. Could you do what you proposed and do fine? Most likely.

As far as actually creating a deep sand bed, all you need is some fine sand mixed with a little coarser sand so you can have a variety and pour it in. The live rock will seed the sand with all the bacteria you need. If you would like to kick start your sand bed, ask a fellow reefer for a handful of sand from a pre-existing tank. It should do well. The Miracle Mud, Grunge, etc fad is really unnecessary. Could it help your tank by providing biodiversity? Sure. But one of the main purposes of a DSB is for biological filtration in the anaerobic areas where that cool biodiversity doesn't normally live.
 

daytonians

New member
Having a DSB in the tank will be far more beneficial that a small one in the sump. While one in the sump can't hurt, one in the tank would hold hold hundreds of times more bacteria and so forth. Seed it with worms, nassarius snails, etc. Make sure you have a variety of particle sizes, because different bacteria like different size sand to colonize.

Here's a great article that will really help you.
http://www.ronshimek.com/Deep Sand Beds.htm
 

Angel*Fish

cats and large squashes
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8096925#post8096925 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by daytonians
Having a DSB in the tank will be far more beneficial that a small one in the sump. While one in the sump can't hurt, one in the tank would hold hold hundreds of times more bacteria and so forth. Seed it with worms, nassarius snails, etc. Make sure you have a variety of particle sizes, because different bacteria like different size sand to colonize.

Here's a great article that will really help you.
http://www.ronshimek.com/Deep Sand Beds.htm
I completely agree. If you have a refugium it should also include a DSB. IMO the reason for lack of enthusiasm by most who've tried DSB & come out of the experience with a thumbs-down attitude is lack of information on what makes it work and lack of adherence to the DSB "rules" that must be followed. A DSB is just as successful as you make it. When optimal it's amazing what it can do.

As mentioned the in the above post- to perform optimally it needs to be in the main tank. And you should use an oolitic sugar fine sand like the Carrib-sea product as the primary fill.

I'm not sure what Mineral Mud is, but , if it's similar to Miracle Mud - it should only be used in a refugium as it is slow release algal fertilizer. I used Miracle in my old fuge and I will say that I was albe to grow a wider variety of ornanmental algae then

5247fuge1.jpg
 
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mboley1

New member
thanks to all for the advise. I was planning on a substrate in the tank of only an inch of courser crushed color because of the heavy flow with two Tunze 6100's. Lots of rock, of course, making up reef structure.

As mentioned in original post, deep sand bed would be 20 x 15" about five inches deep in the sump with plants. flow thru this DSB/Refugium would be about 1100-1200 gph.

In combination with a good skimmer I don't anticipate any nitrate problem. This tank is smaller than ones I have done in the past so I planned on just a couple medium sizes tangs, but mostly small fish.

Anybody think my direction or thinking is flawed. I am a beginner when it comes to Refugiums. Had a 3 to 4 inch bed on top of a plenum in the 1990's. It worked great. Aqaurium Frontiers TOTM May 98.
 

Angel*Fish

cats and large squashes
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8110618#post8110618 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by mboley1
Anybody think my direction or thinking is flawed. I am a beginner when it comes to Refugiums.
Well, I guess that was already covered :D -

In my opinion a bare bottom in the main tank would utilize your DSB fuge much better than what you plan. Your system will be fine - just don't expect the DSB fuge to be all that effective for your main tank even with high recirculation.

The stuff that will be settling in your SSB is what will not be handled by the DSB in the fuge. There's just no way to transport all that "downstairs". At least with a BB, you'd have a shot at moving this stuff to the fuge.
 

Trigeek

New member
The only limitation I see with the DSB in your fuge only is a lack of total surface area (depending on the size of your fuge). More denitirification will occur in a sandbed with more surface area.
 

daytonians

New member
I would not put coarse crushed coral in a reef tank. I had it in my tank and it is a detrius trap. Stuff can easily fall between the grains and stay there instead of going to your filters. There will be some bacteria in it, but not enough to keep up with all that is trapped there.

You would be better off with a mixture of grain sizes, the largest being about 2 MM in diameter. The smallest being sugar fine sized. The fine stuff will fill the voids between the bigger grains.

Don't worry about flow. Many people have DSBs and run very high flow with no problems. I'm putting about 25X through my fuge with no problem of blowing the sand around.
 

mboley1

New member
Seems to me that amphipods, copapods,ect and Two Tunze 6100 would keep the 1" deep 2-5 mm Florida Crushed Coral from Caribsea sand bed pretty clear. I know I can't do the smaller sand in the main tank because it is onlt 5' x 2' square and the 6100's will produce a sand storm is my guess.
 

Angel*Fish

cats and large squashes
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8124042#post8124042 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by mboley1
Seems to me that amphipods, copapods,ect and Two Tunze 6100 would keep the 1" deep 2-5 mm Florida Crushed Coral from Caribsea sand bed pretty clear.
Stuff will still "fall" or even get blown into the bed. The point of a DSB is to have the animals & bacteria do the work of cleaning but with the SB you're planning, you will not have much benefit from them.

It sounds like you want a BB but prefer the look of sand -- if that's the case you might consider a method that's popular overseas - they spray some foam stuff on the tank bottom and then I think cover it with sand. It then dries adn hardens but the layer of sand that sticks to it gives the illusion of a SB, but there isn't one - Just a thought :D

IMO and as Daytonians said the SB you plan is just going to be a detritus trap.
 

Alan Strauss

New member
Check out the thread on Remote Deep SAnd Bed in a bucket. This might work for you. It is long thread but makes sense. I am in the process of setting one up now.

Alan
 

mboley1

New member
Thanks Alan. Great thread. It shows I was on the right track. I will have a 20 x 15 x 6" bed in my Sump with 1000-1100 gph flow. Was going to do plants but after reading Thread, I may try without and go with deeper sand. What is your plan/
 

crazyguy34834

New member
I plan on doing what you are but with a 100g tank, will make the DSB 10" deep as a two gallon buckets discussed in that thread are deep
 

pjf

Premium Member
DSB in Main Aquarium, Algae in Refugium

DSB in Main Aquarium, Algae in Refugium

To be effective for nitrogen export, a DSB requires more space than an algal filter. My recommendation is to place the DSB in the larger main aquarium and place macro algae in the smaller sump refugium.

With proper lighting, macro algae, such as chaetomorpha, is more effective in nitrogen export because of its high metabolism. It does not require a large refugium and can thrive with high flow rates.

The high flow rates in a sump refugium may make DSB maintenance difficult. You may also need a larger refugium than is practical.
 

pjf

Premium Member
DSB in Sump > Macro Algae

DSB in Sump > Macro Algae

It's not often that I publicly eat my words but Anthony Calfo does endorse your view that a DSB in a sump is more effective than a macro algae filter. On a thread titled "DSB in a bucket for nitrate control," Calfo states:

“macroalgae in the sump cannot even begin to compare in potential (its inferior) in this application if typical.”

Calfo does warn that the water flow above a DSB has to be high enough to prevent detritus from settling on it.

Another advantage that I see in a sump with a DSB is that there is no need for lighting.
 

Alan Strauss

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=8189371#post8189371 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by mboley1
Thanks Alan. Great thread. It shows I was on the right track. I will have a 20 x 15 x 6" bed in my Sump with 1000-1100 gph flow. Was going to do plants but after reading Thread, I may try without and go with deeper sand. What is your plan/

I have set up the RDSB using a Black food grade plastick tank 10"x14" 60# live sand. I'm feeding it with water from my UV light. Keep it closed up so no light gets in to grow algae. It has been set up since last Saturday. So far it is ruuning without a problem. On sunday afer about 24 hours my nitrates went from 10 to 2. I did not expect any change at all but if this is any indication we all should be running one.:p

Alan
 

Alan Strauss

New member
RDSB add-on

RDSB add-on

I should also mention that the RDSB setup is in addition to a sump with macro algae, mangroves snails etc. I added the RDSB just keep the nitrates in check. It has become a 4th compartment in sump system. I could post pics if you like.

Alan
 
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