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Old 04-23-2008, 01:45 PM   #1
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How do you guys get rid of detritus on your sand?

I have a 55 gallon reef tank with corals and a few small fish. I perform 10% weekly water changes and use a turkey baster to blow the detritus out of the corals and live rock. I then use a siphon to remove as much detritus as possible and will also gently siphon as much detritus from the sand without disturbing the sand bed.

My problem is usually after everything settles, I can see large amounts of detritus left on the sand (particularly in those hard to reach places). Within the span of a few days the detritus usually starts to build and eventually algae begins to develop on the sand bed. I have a couple of scarlet hermit crabs, about 15 nassarius snails, and a really lazy tiger tail sea cucumber, but they don't seem to do the job. I've tried purchasing additional cleaners, but they usually die off from lack of food (I don't feed the fish too often).

Does anyone have any thoughts on how I can improve the cleanliness of my tank and get rid of the detritus on my sandbed? Maybe I should add a small powerhead to the area where detritus and algae is building so that stuff doesn't settle? Any advice is appreciated...
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:48 PM   #2
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Do you run a filter? Try adding a ph (if you have a filter) so that it directs the flow to the filter's intake. I would also add margarita and cerinth snails.
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:06 PM   #3
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Add a ph to help keep some in suspension so it has a chance to get to the filter. You also need a much larger clean up crew. I would add a bunch more snails (cerith, nassarius Dwarf Planaxis, etc.).

Check out ReefCleaners and others for a good selection.
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Old 04-23-2008, 05:22 PM   #4
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I have an under the tank wet/dry filter and the return pump is directed towards the top of the tank so that the water isn't stagnant at the top. I also have a separate PH on one side of the tank, but I have to place it well above the sand bed or else it disrupts the bed and blows sand everywhere. I also forgot to mention that I do have a few turbo snails, but I didn't think I needed to mention them since they strictly clean the algae on the glass.

Will the cerith or margarita snails actually eat the detritus? I'm not sure if there is a difference between the Tongan Nassarius snails that I have in my tank vs the Nassarius Dwarf Planaxis that cmor1701d mentioned, but my nassarius snails don't really do anything with the detritus. Mine stay buried in the sand unless there is food or a corpse to eat. I just wish I could find something that removes/eats the detritus. My old tiger tail sea cucumber (SC) used to do a great job of moving around the tank and pooping clean sand, but my new SC just sits in one spot and doesn't eat much...
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:03 PM   #5
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A good clean up crew will take care of it.
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Old 04-24-2008, 11:31 AM   #6
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A 55g tank should have at least 50 snails in it. Rule of thumb is one cleaner per gallon of water. I usually add 10-20 snails every 6 weeks to keep up with the ones that don't make it. Margarita, cerith, Nassarius and Astrea snails are great for the job. The Nassarius will work your sandbed for you. I personally do not like Turbo snails they get too large and tend to knock things over.

By doing a combination of the things suggested you should get the issue taken care of.
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:15 PM   #7
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Thanks for your input Ziggy953! Judging from everyone's responses it sounds like I need a much bigger cleaning crew including some Margarita & cerith. I have a bunch of nassarius, but like I said, they only move when there is food or a rotting corpse. They really don't do anything for my detritus issues since the detritus is on top of the sand bed.
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:45 AM   #8
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You would be surprised how active nassarius are at night.
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:21 AM   #9
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I would suggest more snails and a few reef safe crabs. Water circulation will also help.
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