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Old 06-15-2004, 02:14 AM   #1
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To DSB or not to DSB

Hello! I am so happy to have found this community!

Soon I will be getting an established 36gal bow front tank. Currently the tank is outfitted with crushed coral substrate, a mechanical HOB filter, 2 power heads and the regular hood light that came with the tank.

I have been reading about the Deep Sand Bed method of filtration which interests me as the tank will be in my room and I would like to eliminate as much noise producing equipment as possible. I would also like to maintain a very clear and clean tank.

My questions:

Do DSB setups tend to be 'dirty' (as in brown and dark) looking when they are functioning at optimal levels? Inquiring about DSBs at one of the LFS the owner indicated that you have to supplement them to keep them alive and it can be expensive, yet I have read here that they are self maintaining. Most of his tanks had clean/clear water but the substrate and rocks all looked like they were covered in brown algae.

I would also like to put an air pump in the garage below my room and run an air line up through the floor in order to eliminate the sound of the pump. Would this put undue strain on the pump?

If I want a clean and pristine tank with white substrate would I be better off staying with crushed coral and a protein skimmer?

Also, if I had some relatives bring back some white powder sand from Florida could I use that in my tank?

Thanks in advance,

-Maximo
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Old 06-15-2004, 03:10 AM   #2
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From what I've read, DSBs can eventually belly up in a few years. The depth of the SB creates Sulfur and if something were to dig it up, they can create sulfur pockets which can be very harmful to fishes. Aside from the sulfur pockets, DSB can also belly up through other means (forget what exactly, but I think it is related to the bacteria that break down ammonia/nitrite).

After reading about people having to replace their sand beds, I decided to go barebottom.
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Old 06-15-2004, 06:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luntiz
From what I've read, DSBs can eventually belly up in a few years. The depth of the SB creates Sulfur and if something were to dig it up, they can create sulfur pockets which can be very harmful to fishes. Aside from the sulfur pockets, DSB can also belly up through other means (forget what exactly, but I think it is related to the bacteria that break down ammonia/nitrite).

After reading about people having to replace their sand beds, I decided to go barebottom.
I was considering this option but am not sure how the finished product will look. Could you post a picture? I noticed the only one in your gallery does have a sand bed.
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Old 06-15-2004, 07:10 AM   #4
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I run a dsb in my current tank and it doesn't look dirty. I get a light algae film on my glass and had the normal diatome bloom when it first started, but no problems since. I brush the front glass about once a week. I have a very light cleaning crew atm (5 snails in a 55gal w/fuge), but reinforcements are in the mail. I anticipate the algae on the glass to cease to be shortly.

It has only been running for about a year, so I can't testify to long term problems, but so far the filtration has been dandy. I have heard of systems with dsb crashing, but have had no experience with it. I do know of many people that have been keeping nothing but multiple dsb systems for years and have never had any problems. A lot of the concern I've read has been about heavy metals "storing" in the dsb and suddenly releasing for no reason killing the tank. However everyone I have spoken to about dsb say this "will" or "might" happen. So far I've not spoken to anyone who said "has" or "did". Most peeps that have had a dsb crashed have had good water and could find nothing toxic when after crash tests were done. So the actual reason is unknown. Peronally I switched to dsb because I like the idea of having completely natural filtration (excluding powerheads). I like knowing that I'm recreating a natural environment to the best of my abilities. It's not for everyone, but I recommend it. If you're intersted in it, check out tropicalresources.net. Not a heavily used site, but dsb is used almost exclusively by those who are there. The moderator has been using dsb for a long time, and only using natural nutrient export. If I remember right she has 1 system that never sees a water change and is absolutely thriving.
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Old 06-15-2004, 07:46 AM   #5
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Most of the stories about DSB crashes are from back when plenums were popular. Like indy I've yet to hear from someone who actually experienced a non-plenum system crashing.

I'm not sure how having a DSB vs CC would reduce any noisy equipment, but it will certainly cut down on maintenance and look cleaner.

Also, what's the air pump from the garage for?
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Old 06-15-2004, 11:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saberry
I was considering this option but am not sure how the finished product will look. Could you post a picture? I noticed the only one in your gallery does have a sand bed.
The pix in my gallery is an old one (tank had a leak). Heres my most recent tank: http://home.earthlink.net/~luntiz/misc/DSCF0061.JPG

I want to eventually grow some corals so that they take over the barebottom, some shrooms should be able to take care of that for me.
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Old 06-16-2004, 11:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atari
Most of the stories about DSB crashes are from back when plenums were popular. Like indy I've yet to hear from someone who actually experienced a non-plenum system crashing.

I'm not sure how having a DSB vs CC would reduce any noisy equipment, but it will certainly cut down on maintenance and look cleaner.

Also, what's the air pump from the garage for?
I am under the impression that with a DSB and LR, there is no need for external filtration thus eliminating pumps which make noise. Have I read correctly?

The air pump is for bubbles! I want to keep the pump in the garage so the noise will not be in my bedroom while I sleep.

Thanks,

-Maximo
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Old 06-16-2004, 11:19 PM   #8
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You should be fine with a DSB as long as you have some sand stirrers and good water flow (10x to 20x tank volume). I've heard that you can manually stir it once in a while as long as you only disturb the top 1/2" to 3/4".
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Old 06-16-2004, 11:20 PM   #9
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In most cases the noise from pumps are minimal. I have a DSB and I have no need for extra filtration than what I have naturally. The 100pds of LR takes care of most of the filtration needs. I would suggest that you go with a DSB. No offense to anyone, but in my opinion, it is much nicer looking, and easier to keep clean. Go with sand, not CC. HTH!
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Old 06-17-2004, 03:29 AM   #10
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And remember, heavy algae on anything is usually a sign of high nitrates and phosphates. High nitrates... is not pristine water. LFS tanks always "look" pristine. But they scrub the glass daily and have HUGE filters to keep it looking that way. And one of the common problems with mechanical filtration is they become nitrate factories, which leads to the algae. And if its a HUGE mechanical filter then they have a HUGE nitrate factory... you see where this is going. Looks can be deceiving

Also, skip the air pump. Lots of bubbles lends to excess salt creep, this I know from experience. Once you have nice fish and other life in your tank, the bubbles become more of a nuiscence than they look pretty. And air bubbles can kill any sponge you end up having in your tank. If you really want them, get a good deep water air pump. The walmart specials will have a short lifespan trying to push air that far.
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