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fot80

stirring sand causing phosphate spikes?

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fot80

I'll make this short.  I did a water change after having phosphates crawl up to .06.  My sand was looking disgusting so i stirred it up quite a bit.  My phosphates AFTER the water change is reading .07.  I'm hoping my newly replaced gfo will absorb some of it.  I will do another water change tomorrow as well.  I've left my sand alone before as I didn't want to disturb anything and cause the situation I'm having, but my sand was looking terrible.  Should I just avoid this?  I love the way my tank looks now with the white, fine, clean sand. 

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Clown79

Regular vacuuming of sand is good unless it's a dsb. It prevents phos and nitrate issues. Many vacuum it weekly with waterchanges and stir it through the week.

 

Since you haven't been doing it, by stirring it up really good released all the trapped detritus/nutrients. 

 

Sand traps a lot of waste, its one of the leading causes to nutrient issues.

 

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seabass
2 hours ago, fot80 said:

 I did a water change after having phosphates crawl up to .06.  My sand was looking disgusting so i stirred it up quite a bit.  My phosphates AFTER the water change is reading .07.

I assume you are using a Haana Checker; however, no hobby grade phosphate test is accurate (or consistent) enough to conclude that phosphate was even affected.  You can perform the test back to back on the same water and get bigger deviations than that.

 

Take the results as just a ballpark.  Your tests are showing elevated levels, so replacing the GFO sounds like a good plan.  If you don't have a GFO reactor, I'd try using PhosGuard instead.  I like that you are monitoring phosphate.  You don't want to strip out too much, as it is an important nutrient.

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fot80
2 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Regular vacuuming of sand is good unless it's a dsb. It prevents phos and nitrate issues. Many vacuum it weekly with waterchanges and stir it through the week.

 

Since you haven't been doing it, by stirring it up really good released all the trapped detritus/nutrients. 

 

Sand traps a lot of waste, its one of the leading causes to nutrient issues.

 

mine's pretty deep.  do you recommend just stirring the upper level? 

1 hour ago, seabass said:

I assume you are using a Haana Checker; however, no hobby grade phosphate test is accurate (or consistent) enough to conclude that phosphate was even affected.  You can perform the test back to back on the same water and get bigger deviations than that.

 

Take the results as just a ballpark.  Your tests are showing elevated levels, so replacing the GFO sounds like a good plan.  If you don't have a GFO reactor, I'd try using PhosGuard instead.  I like that you are monitoring phosphate.  You don't want to strip out too much, as it is an important nutrient.

yes. i have the hannah.  I do like it, but obviously it comes with its shortcomings.  I do have a GFO reactor.  I blame my phosphate issues on overfeeding last week and waiting too long to replace the gfo.

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romperstomper

I don't think you should be stirring it all ,if you must ,vac it instead . I really think its best to leave it alone lots of pods live in the sand which provides a home for them and food for your fish ,once you tank matures the sand will settle and look cleaner over time, it will never do this if you keep disturbing it all the time .

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seabass
3 minutes ago, fot80 said:

Mine's pretty deep.  do you recommend just stirring the upper level? 

Sand bed maintenance is a problem for many.  If not short term, then longer term. A true deep sand bed (DSB) contains anaerobic areas (devoid of oxygen).  Stirring these layers up obviously introduces oxygen into this area.  It can also release potentially harmful substances into the water column.

 

People have kept deep sand beds for their nitrate reducing capabilities.  As denitrifying bacteria in the anaerobic zones break down the nitrate into nitrogen gas (completing the nitrogen cycle).  However, there are also some pitfalls associated with keeping deep sand beds.  The most successful incorporate good biodiversity, proper flow, and filtration.

 

I like to keep my sand beds about an inch deep.  That way sand dwelling snails, crabs, and other critters can help keep it oxygenated (and clean).  You should siphon off the detritus off the top of the sand.

 

There are some fish that require deeper sand beds (including, but not limited to certain wrasses).  Seagrass is another reason to keep a deeper sand bed.  Again, I would siphon any detritus off the top of these deeper beds.

 

There are a couple of schools of thought on stirring shallow sand beds.  One is that new sand is mostly devoid of non-bacterial life and you should regularly stir it to prevent buildup of organics and nutrients.  This might be especially effective for people who start with dry rock and sand.  Another strategy is like romperstomper suggests, to remove detritus, but not stir (promoting non-bacterial life like micro inverts).  However, I have always eventually had organic buildup when using this method.

 

I think most people will agree that stirring any mature sand bed, that hasn't been regularly stirred, is a bad idea (DSB or shallow).  This will release organics into the water column which can prove harmful (even causing an ammonia spike).

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fot80
1 hour ago, seabass said:

Sand bed maintenance is a problem for many.  If not short term, then longer term. A true deep sand bed (DSB) contains anaerobic areas (devoid of oxygen).  Stirring these layers up obviously introduces oxygen into this area.  It can also release potentially harmful substances into the water column.

 

People have kept deep sand beds for their nitrate reducing capabilities.  As denitrifying bacteria in the anaerobic zones break down the nitrate into nitrogen gas (completing the nitrogen cycle).  However, there are also some pitfalls associated with keeping deep sand beds.  The most successful incorporate good biodiversity, proper flow, and filtration.

 

I like to keep my sand beds about an inch deep.  That way sand dwelling snails, crabs, and other critters can help keep it oxygenated (and clean).  You should siphon off the detritus off the top of the sand.

 

There are some fish that require deeper sand beds (including, but not limited to certain wrasses).  Seagrass is another reason to keep a deeper sand bed.  Again, I would siphon any detritus off the top of these deeper beds.

 

There are a couple of schools of thought on stirring shallow sand beds.  One is that new sand is mostly devoid of non-bacterial life and you should regularly stir it to prevent buildup of organics and nutrients.  This might be especially effective for people who start with dry rock and sand.  Another strategy is like romperstomper suggests, to remove detritus, but not stir (promoting non-bacterial life like micro inverts).  However, I have always eventually had organic buildup when using this method.

 

I think most people will agree that stirring any mature sand bed, that hasn't been regularly stirred, is a bad idea (DSB or shallow).  This will release organics into the water column which can prove harmful (even causing an ammonia spike).

this is probably why I have 0 nitrates.  I'm going to just vacuum the gunk off the top from now on. 

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brandon429

Why not just rip clean this sandbed 

 

we have a thread of fifteen or more tanks doing it in pics, all skip cycle rebuilds. In an hours work, you have a pristine cloudless sandbed. Partial cleaning is a risk, rip cleaning is not. It's ironic that the non hesitant 100% immediately cleaned method is safer than poking about. Nanos are easy to rip clean using an easy order of ops 

 

i too was amazed that the reading could be accurately discerned to a change at the hundredths increment but the way we judge beds is if they cloud when you reach in and grab sand 

 

post rip cleaning, the flakes fall down clean like snow globe flakes, this clean:

 

 

during that demo, my whole reef (rocks and 11 yr corals) are just sitting in the air on dinner plates for half an hour, they don't even get the courtesy of water holding. I do my rip cleanings in a mean way to show new cleaners the nice way sure is safe. That and we collect lots of threads of it being done across all size tanks.

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seabass
25 minutes ago, brandon429 said:

Why not just rip clean this sandbed

While not good for the non-bacterial fauna, I basically do the same in a 100 gallon tank.  But instead of removing the livestock, I remove the sand.  Well not 100% of the sand, but a good portion with every water change.  It then gets thoroughly rinsed and put back.

 

I'm not sure that the OP's sand bed actually is releasing phosphate due to stirring (it was most likely a test anomaly).  However, fot80 did indicate that the sand bed was looking bad, so this might be a valid option (if not for now, maybe for sometime in the future).

 

this is probably why I have 0 nitrates.

Live rock can sometimes also support denitrifying bacteria.  Water changes will export nitrate, and algae will uptake it.  Could be any one or combination of these.

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Clown79

Some ppl rinse out small portions of their sand each week and replace. I've done it. 

 

I'm not sure If it's safe on a dsb?

 

5 hours ago, fot80 said:

mine's pretty deep.  do you recommend just stirring the upper level? 

yes. i have the hannah.  I do like it, but obviously it comes with its shortcomings.  I do have a GFO reactor.  I blame my phosphate issues on overfeeding last week and waiting too long to replace the gfo.

How many inches is your sand bed because a dsb is 4" or more 

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brandon429

A neat way to see sandbeds in nanos is that if they were denitrifying, we wouldn't be using biopellets, ATS, refugia, chaeto this n that, liquid carbon dosing etc. nitrate comps

 

the touted berlin method would've never faded.

 

One way to easily easily verify this is the most established nano sandbeds is to simply tie airline tubing to a wooden dowel and press it down into the corner of any sandbed claimed to be reductive

 

suck out some mud sample water, brown as as the mississip after spring floods

 

let that sample sit in the air for two days and keep the liquid topped up so the salinity wont spike. test for nitrate in two days rest/aeration time and that w yield either neutral nitrate measures (sandbed is working) or it will be so dark purple your test vial w break into, indicating clouds=bad

 

For sure its ok to clean partially agreed many do it that way. when a sandbed is started off that way and kept that way its a fine system, at least its excluding the sinking of detritus waste.

 

 Its not a likely ammonia event at the top layers, so the impact is a bit of nutrients welled up into the tank which may be good or bad depending on conditions. Rip cleaning clearly gets harder the more gallons we go up, but wow on that outcome. A comp-free sandbed.

 

Deep sand beds in general fail this dredging test regardless of size. The keepers are mainly just keeping isolated zones of waste and creeping lightly in their presence. That's not to say that fractional attempts at dsb don't work out, they sure can. Remote DSB's where detritus is pre-filtered before reaching the beds do work well as intended, mainly we're all just talking about display tank DSB's which are all diapers except to the lucky, and even the lucky cannot assemble five tanks in the same room using DSB's and get equal effect even if all parts match...true NNR in a sandbed is that hard to attain. we just rinse. its true a few worms in the bed are removed and we'll miss them. and the poop they were adding to the bed :)

 

I played both sides of the sandbed coin its not a huge deal either way. I went nine yrs once only rinsing out the top layers like most do. it was OCD getting to me about the bottom ones lol

 

 lots of tanks deal with Po4 measures a bit above the norm and have no probs, see here

https://www.reef2reef.com/ams/tank-parameters-of-some-masters.263/

 

the reason I choose to rip clean is just to have one less nutrient sink. in a pico we don't have much dilution, and if something is pooping or leaking waste I want it to be an entertaining animal of some type. I could easily stop rinsing it again for another nine but my whole system runs cleaner this way, so I use it and like to see others run it too and begin clean runnings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clown79
8 minutes ago, brandon429 said:

A neat way to see sandbeds in nanos is that if they were denitrifying, we wouldn't be using biopellets, ATS, refugia, chaeto this n that, liquid carbon dosing etc. nitrate comps

 

the touted berlin method would've never faded.

 

One way to easily easily verify this is the most established nano sandbeds is to simply tie airline tubing to a wooden dowel and press it down into the corner of any sandbed claimed to be reductive

 

suck out some mud sample water, brown as as the mississip after spring floods

 

let that sample sit in the air for two days and keep the liquid topped up so the salinity wont spike. test for nitrate in two days rest/aeration time and that w yield either neutral nitrate measures (sandbed is working) or it will be so dark purple your test vial w break into, indicating clouds=bad

 

For sure its ok to clean partially agreed many do it that way. when a sandbed is started off that way and kept that way its a fine system, at least its excluding the sinking of detritus waste.

 

 Its not a likely ammonia event at the top layers, so the impact is a bit of nutrients welled up into the tank which may be good or bad depending on conditions. Rip cleaning clearly gets harder the more gallons we go up, but wow on that outcome. A comp-free sandbed.

 

Deep sand beds in general fail this dredging test regardless of size. The keepers are mainly just keeping isolated zones of waste and creeping lightly in their presence. That's not to say that fractional attempts at dsb don't work out, they sure can. Remote DSB's where detritus is pre-filtered before reaching the beds do work well as intended, mainly we're all just talking about display tank DSB's which are all diapers except to the lucky, and even the lucky cannot assemble five tanks in the same room using DSB's and get equal effect even if all parts match...true NNR in a sandbed is that hard to attain. we just rinse. its true a few worms in the bed are removed and we'll miss them. and the poop they were adding to the bed :)

 

I played both sides of the sandbed coin its not a huge deal either way. I went nine yrs once only rinsing out the top layers like most do. it was OCD getting to me about the bottom ones lol

 

 lots of tanks deal with Po4 measures a bit above the norm and have no probs, see here

 

 

the reason I choose to rip clean is just to have one less nutrient sink. in a pico we don't have much dilution, and if something is pooping or leaking waste I want it to be an entertaining animals of some type. I could easily stop rinsing it again for another nine but my whole system runs cleaner this way, so I use it and like to see others run it too and begin clean runnings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ya I can't imagine taking everything out of my 10g or 15g each week to wash my sand, I'd go barebottom or no tanks. 

 

In a pico I would do it for sure.

 

when/ if I upgrade I plan on doing a 50/50 tank. Only enough sand to go around the rocks and gradually to barebottom - give it the island look but not the hassle of a sand bed.

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seabass
14 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

when/ if I upgrade I plan on doing a 50/50 tank. Only enough sand to go around the rocks and gradually to barebottom - give it the island look but not the hassle of a sand bed.

Bare bottom is fine with high flow and mechanical filtration.  However, it still needs maintenance to keep the floor clean (it's just easier to get all the detritus).  I tried bare bottom before, I still prefer sand (even with all its hassles).

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brandon429

I never rinse weekly

 

its twice a year, very very easy. I could do your tank in an hour Clown79

 

what that does for algae and cyano headaches can't be beat.

 

We're just saying that the occasional power rinse is so dang awesome! its the direct remediation to whats claimed in this thread, if the readings require any response at all. personally I just go off whether it clouds or not where the cloudless condition works in all tanks, all the time without variation.

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fot80
5 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Some ppl rinse out small portions of their sand each week and replace. I've done it. 

 

I'm not sure If it's safe on a dsb?

 

How many inches is your sand bed because a dsb is 4" or more 

It's not quite 4."  3" Max.

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