Hey Michael I am not against DSB
's at all. The only problem I have with them in general is that most folks are never told about their limitations. They go into them thinking that they are the end ay beat ll one stop fix. They process Nitrogen based detritus like no other, but unfortunately thats it.
you are referring to is that of Rob Toonans. The life span (or how fast they deteriate) all depends on your husbandry (how much you feed, what you feed, how you clean your tank, and so on) Robs tank is nice but it only has 2 fish and some softies. Softies are in themselves are nutrient loving things. Myself personal keep corals that are much less tolerant of dirty water and I keep alot more fish, thus have to feed a ton more.
The way we all keep our tanks is a personal concept from what we have learned of the years in the hobby. Everything I have learned in this hobby is that we try to remove nutrient, detritus and so on from the tank. Since the substraight is the point in the tank that gets the most I have chosen to remove it here to instead of creating some elaborate...well.....sh** cycle. I don't run my tanks bare bottom, I run them with about a inch to a 1 1/2 inch bed of CC. It is basically an areobic zone so it processes ammonia and nitrite. I get the vac out once a month and spend about a half hour just vacuuming out the detritus and boom all gone. No build up, no non-nitrogen based detritus, no organics or so on. Alot of folks are worried that you will have a loss of bug life. This is also a misconception (to a point). No buglife will occur in the anoxic zones of your DSB
, the only exception is one type of worm and bacteria. Thus all the bug life happens in the oxygenated zone on both LR
and Sand. In reality when it comes to pods
and ampipods a larger substraight is perfered by them (fine sand is virtually impossible for these type of bugs to navigate). Some folks again say that the bacteria that grows in the anoxic zone is a great source for food for your corals and so on. Well this is bunk to. They cant live in oxygenated water so they are unavailable to anything outside their living zone. Even faculative bacteria (bacteria that can live in both anaerobic and areobic zones) are unavailable.
So I guess the next logical question would be "well then how do we get rid of nitrates". The simple answer is LR
. their is nothing that a DSB
does that a LR
cannot. the only difference (and its not as much as most people think ) is the amount of available surface area (thus more bacteria). See LR
do the same thing, they have the same types of bacteria (well until you get to the really really deep sand beds) same type of bugs, but their is one big difference. Live rock is suspended (as in it doesnt have a glass bottom like a DSB
has) so the bacteria action (consummation, reproduction, excretion, development of enzynes, microbes and so on) coupled with a little gravity will actually drive the detritus out. A little experiment you can do yourself to check this is to get a small piece of LR
and put it into a bucket, with no light and just a PH and a heater. Make sure you blow any detritus off the rock so it is clean. then toss it in, leave it for a week and take a look. You will see detritus all over the rock and on the bottom of the bucket.
Anyway when the detritus drives out of the rock its now available for my vacuum to remove. I also believe in a lot of flow, and I try to keep the detritus suspended in the water column. this makes it available to corals that use it for food and then eventually available for my skimmer to remove.
In regard to your SSB
Michael if fine but if you leave the detritus and crap in their your going to have a problem down the road at some point in time for sure. The best thing any hobbist/reefer can do when entering this hobby is to realize that they have a closed system, yes we get that warm fuzzy feeling when trying to mimic mother nature
and in some point we can, but when it comes to most we cannot. We can still have very effective long lasting tanks we just have to work with in the concept of closed systems thats all.