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Sparty

Vaccum sand or not?

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So I was watching a Waterbox video yesterday and they were doing a water change. They claimed you should NEVER vacuum your sand. ???

 

I get that you should not be obsessive,  but I have always vacuumed my gravel or sand in any aquarium, fresh or salt. 

 

Their logic was that you have a cleanup crew for a reason, let them do their job. Seems to me that if you choose to vacuum your sand you would just need a smaller cleanup crew...?

 

Educate me...

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I vacuum my sand every week.

 

It gets disgusting if it's not maintained and leads to nutrient issues.

 

The only sand that shouldn't be touched is a dsb.

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I have a 2" inch sand bed that hasn't been touched in about a year. But I also have a conch snail and a few nassarius snails that dig themselves into the sand all day except when feeding. I assume that keeps the sand clean and moving. 

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22 minutes ago, Sparty said:

So I was watching a Waterbox video yesterday and they were doing a water change. They claimed you should NEVER vacuum your sand. ???

 

I get that you should not be obsessive,  but I have always vacuumed my gravel or sand in any aquarium, fresh or salt. 

 

Their logic was that you have a cleanup crew for a reason, let them do their job. Seems to me that if you choose to vacuum your sand you would just need a smaller cleanup crew...?

 

Educate me...

If you have a deep sand bed that has been established for years, no. 

 

If you are setting up a new tank and have a 1" or less sand bed I highly recommend vacuuming. I generally do this twice a month. 

 

-Dave

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3 minutes ago, biofool12 said:

I have a 2" inch sand bed that hasn't been touched in about a year. But I also have a conch snail and a few nassarius snails that dig themselves into the sand all day except when feeding. I assume that keeps the sand clean and moving. 

Not clean enough

 

I have nassaurius, conch, and ceriths. They are helpers but they certainly don't keep sand clean.

 

 

The theory of not vacuuming is an old one. 

 

If bio filter was based on sand- well then bare bottoms wouldn't exist.

 

Here's a pic of the nasty's sand has- that's even with weekly vacuuming.

224.jpg.3bc2132a2a80bc92b2ec6578ee1160ee.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Not clean enough

 

I have nassaurius, conch, and ceriths. They are helpers but they certainly don't keep sand clean.

 

 

The theory of not vacuuming is an old one. 

 

If bio filter was based on sand- well then bare bottoms wouldn't exist.

 

Here's a pic of the nasty's sand has- that's even with weekly vacuuming.

224.jpg.3bc2132a2a80bc92b2ec6578ee1160ee.jpg

I've never had nutrient issues, to be honest. My phosphate has been steady at around 0.028 - 0.034 (I use the Hanna checker). I'm not saying that you should NOT vacuum your sand bed but I haven't really had any bad effects from it.

 

But, to be completely honest because my sand bed hasn't been touched in so long I will probably never touch it at this point. It might be working for me but doesn't necessarily mean it will work for other peoples tanks.   

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20 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

I vacuum my sand every week.

 

It gets disgusting if it's not maintained and leads to nutrient issues.

 

The only sand that shouldn't be touched is a dsb.

 

13 minutes ago, DaveFason said:

If you have a deep sand bed that has been established for years, no. 

 

If you are setting up a new tank and have a 1" or less sand bed I highly recommend vacuuming. I generally do this twice a month. 

 

-Dave

That's generally my thinking, thanks. 

 

Even with my vacuuming there is still plenty of nastiness left under and around the rock-work for the nassarius to munch on...

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I not only vacuum, but also plan to throw it out every two years.  The longer I'm in this hobby the more convinced I am that sand beds are a ticking time bomb. 

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7 minutes ago, specore said:

I not only vacuum, but also plan to throw it out every two years.  The longer I'm in this hobby the more convinced I am that sand beds are a ticking time bomb. 

I like the look but agree, they aren't great. Very nasty stuff in there. We simply can't replicate the ocean floor because we can't have all the critters it has.

 

I now keep very shallow sandbed, less than an inch.

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21 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

I like the look but agree, they aren't great. Very nasty stuff in there. We simply can't replicate the ocean floor because we can't have all the critters it has.

 

I now keep very shallow sandbed, less than an inch.

I do like the look and don't see myself ever going completely away from sand. That said, I am slowly reducing the thickness of the sand with each water change. Probably end up at about a half an inch or so.

 

(Before this thread I was mostly reducing it due to my $!@#% royal damsel.... digging and swishing sand all over the place. Turn my back for 30 seconds and it looks like a middle east sandstorm in the tank.)

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1 hour ago, Sparty said:

So I was watching a Waterbox video yesterday and they were doing a water change. They claimed you should NEVER vacuum your sand. ???

 

I get that you should not be obsessive,  but I have always vacuumed my gravel or sand in any aquarium, fresh or salt. 

 

Their logic was that you have a cleanup crew for a reason, let them do their job. Seems to me that if you choose to vacuum your sand you would just need a smaller cleanup crew...?

 

Educate me...

Most folks do not take care of their sand beds at all today.

 

If you go back and read some articles by Ron Shimek  they speak to the what's, why's and wherefores.  

 

Basically, if you are unwilling to go with a light stocking plan that fits within the natural bio-budget of your tank, you will ruin/overload your sand bed within a year.

 

This describes almost 100% of reef keepers today, so pretty much everyone is back to gravel vacuuming so they can overstock on fish.

 

I had a 2 inch (bagged live) sand bed in my old system for about 10 years and it was never a problem in any way, shape or form, so it's definitely possible  to keep and maintain a healthy sand bed without intervention .  

 

It's just not popular. 

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23 hours ago, Sparty said:

I do like the look and don't see myself ever going completely away from sand. That said, I am slowly reducing the thickness of the sand with each water change. Probably end up at about a half an inch or so.

 

(Before this thread I was mostly reducing it due to my $!@#% royal damsel.... digging and swishing sand all over the place. Turn my back for 30 seconds and it looks like a middle east sandstorm in the tank.)

I did the same thing with my 10g and 25g, I have about 1/2" of sand...what a difference😊

 

My clown does the same thing. She likes to clear her area of sand. I can push it back and within a few mins, its bare bottom again.

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23 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Most folks do not take care of their sand beds at all today.

 

If you go back and read some articles by Ron Shimek  they speak to the what's, why's and wherefores.  

 

Basically, if you are unwilling to go with a light stocking plan that fits within the natural bio-budget of your tank, you will ruin/overload your sand bed within a year.

 

This describes almost 100% of reef keepers today, so pretty much everyone is back to gravel vacuuming so they can overstock on fish.

 

I had a 2 inch (bagged live) sand bed in my old system for about 10 years and it was never a problem in any way, shape or form, so it's definitely possible  to keep and maintain a healthy sand bed without intervention .  

 

It's just not popular. 

I vacuum my sand bed with 1 fish. I don't consider that overstocking. 

 

 

 

 

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Nothing wrong with it, per se.  :)   Taking care of the sand bed  in the manner I was referring to (ie Skimek) is simply a different matter...

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IME, and having seen too many nano tanks eventually degrade/fail over the years, smaller tanks with shallow sand beds need to remain friable.  Some of the small sand stirring creatures can be deployed and are helpful, but typically in today's well/overstocked tanks, this is not enough in the long run due to the typical detritus clogging over time.  Removing detritus/decomposing food helps maintain water quality by removing nutrients and allows proper advective flow into the substrate which helps keep the resident bacteria productive.

 

 

 

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