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Old 08-07-2003, 12:25 PM   #1
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Looking for advice on Dentrivores



I am in the process of planning the set-up of a brand new 135G FOWLR tank (I formerly had a 55G freshwater) and I have seen a lot of articles and such like about the use of these critters. How critical is the use of them and if I am using LS and LR, would I still need them? If I do what should I get that would be low/no maintenance? I have seen that the hermit crabs need new shells every so often. Wat is the real poop here? (no pun intended)
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Old 08-07-2003, 12:46 PM   #2
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clean up crews, as they're often called, are still an important part of a tank. A lot of starish make good team members, such as brittle stars (avoid green serpent stars) a good selection of snails are also helpful, fighting conchs, astrea snails etc. And a few crabs are helpful as well, emerald crabs are good algae eaters that help specifically with bubble alge, hermits are also good all around algae eaters but they do need the occasional new shell (and will take them from snails if they dont find abandoned ones)

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Old 08-07-2003, 01:22 PM   #3
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Thanks Billy Z. Was wondering how necessary they are to maintain a healthy and happy tank. Do I need them?
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Old 08-07-2003, 02:35 PM   #4
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btw, Welcome to Aquarium Advice!

I've never set up a FOWLR myself, so I'll let someone else chime in on a direct answer... but I will say they can't hurt... and I think the added wow factor when looking at the tank is nice too
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Old 08-07-2003, 02:44 PM   #5
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I would recommend them, I have 4 snails and 4 hermits in my 30 gal and they are way over worked as it is! I need to at least double that ammount. They have done a great job at keeping the glass and even the hoses to my fluval clean, as well as tidying up the growth on my LR. They are fun to watch as Billyz said.
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Old 08-07-2003, 02:49 PM   #6
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sorry about the dbl post...clicked submit twice!
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Old 08-07-2003, 02:53 PM   #7
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Old 08-07-2003, 03:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for the information folks. How do you control the population growth of the snails? are there any specific types I should stay away from. I read for example that the turbo snails grow pretty large and can knock over corals, and that some of the crabs can end up eating more than the waste and algae. Billy Z thank you for the welcome to the forum. I have found a lot of valuable information here. Big help learning all this stuff from you "pros" before I step into the LFS. What I have planned is:

I have a 135 G flat back Hex Tenecor tank on order. This comes with a wet/dry filter, retrofitted with a Red Sea Venturi Protein skimmer, and I have ordered a 220W VHO light hood with fan for the tank. I also have two 1 1/2" holes for powerheads pre-drilled in left and right sides of tank. I already have 2-250 W Ebo submersible heaters which I plan to locate in the sump, a digital in/out thermometer and Seatest hygrometer (for SG and salinity). I already purchased 100 lbs. of live sand and just won an auction bid for 120 LBS. of base rock from Hirocks in Hawaii. I have still to acquire a QT ( I have seen a nice kit at Petco for $80), test kit and the other chemistry. I am building a chart of compatibility as I want to build a community tank with peaceful/slightly aggressive fish, paying attention to where in the tank the various denizens swim. I plan to cap my base rock set-up with some live rock from the LFS as all my research said that they will eventually populate the rest of the rock. I figure I will be able to aquascape the tank dry with the base rock, first laying down a DSB seeded with my LS. I have also ordered a RO unit for both home and the tank as the advice seems to lean towards a happier tank without municipal traces elements. I already have a 200G bucket of Instant Ocean ready to go.

At this point, I do not plan on putting any coral in the tank so this will be just a FOWLR tank. Is there anything I am overlooking or should further consider?

Thanks again for all of your advise
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Old 08-07-2003, 03:42 PM   #9
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first I want to say congrats on thurough research. I wish I had found this forum before I started... but we wont get inot that right now

You plan sounds good, the only thing that struck me was... "I already purchased 100 lbs. of live sand ..." I get the feeling this is bagged dry sand from a LFS that says it's "Live Sand"?

For seeding your tank's DSB, you want true "wet" live sand taken from an established tank. Don't worry! your purchase isn't a waste, you can certainly use it, but I would suggest supplimenting your sand with at the 10-20 pounds of active wet live sand from an established tank. most LFS will sell you scoops of LS from their tanks.

Keep us up to date on your progress... and... we love pictures... take lots of pictures!!
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Old 08-07-2003, 03:48 PM   #10
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Actually I got the LS from www.aquariumcenter.com. Take a look and tell me what you think. I would like your opinion on that and if anyone else has used this product before. It is bio-active reef sand with a "proprietary method" of sealing in the live organisms. They guarantee it to work, so we'll see. I will try to get you pictures when as I set it up. Tank is supposed to come in first week of September but with cycling and all, will not be adding livestock probably before end of October I figure. Thanks again
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Old 08-07-2003, 04:07 PM   #11
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yea thats what I thought you were talking about. I don't know of any research that either supports or refutes their "preserved in their natural live state " claim. the sand may in fact help introduce the bacteria into your tank to speed up your cycle, I can't say either way.

However, a stable DSB requires more than just bacteria. There are thousands of flaura and fauna that live in the sand, copopods, worms, you name it. part of the "cycle" in a DSB are tiny critters clean up the bacteria, allowing new bacteria to replace it, keeping the cycle going.

There is no way these popds or worms can survive the "bagging" process. The only real way to get them are from either the ocean (not recommended) or from other established SW tanks. There are online retailers that sell .... shoot.. i forget what they call them... basically a DSB seeding pack... which is basically scoops of sand from an established DSB.


In regards to pictures... start a thread in the DIY fourm and document the entire process... from dry tank placement all the way to adding fish! It's a great way to get good help as we'll all be up to speed on what you've done so far, and it also makes for a good reference for other new-comers.
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Old 08-07-2003, 04:12 PM   #12
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You are right on with it jsut having the bacteria and not the other critters in it. That supports the research I did on it. Guess I did not know the other sutff was necessary too. would these not develop over time with the use of the LR and the "clean-up crew?"
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Old 08-07-2003, 04:18 PM   #13
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it is quite likely you'll get some from good LR, but, IMO, not quite enough of a diversity as there are many things that only live in the sand beds... again, you want to do your best to get wide diversity, you won't need a lot of the wet live sand, just a few pounds. Once the DSB is established the critters will thrive and reproduce quickly... but you have to get them in there to begin with
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Old 08-07-2003, 04:20 PM   #14
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Great, thanks for the advice. I will research this too. I you have any suggestions as to who sells this online, please let me know. Thanks again for all the advice
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Old 08-07-2003, 04:43 PM   #15
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ahhh... Live Sand Activators! here's a couple (in no particular order)

http://www.coraldynamics.com/Livesand.html

http://www.inlandaquatics.com/prod/tr_invert.html (down in starter kits)

and you might want to check out this discussion here where some have reviewed these purchases from retailers.
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Old 08-07-2003, 04:46 PM   #16
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Thanks again BZ
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Old 08-07-2003, 04:56 PM   #17
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glad I could help
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Old 08-07-2003, 06:01 PM   #18
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for a 135 gallon tank, you will need a large amount of detrivores. They are an important, integral part of your setup. The liverock will become overrun with general nastiness without them. They also keep your sandbed healthy.
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Old 08-08-2003, 10:24 AM   #19
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Thanks Hara. Pursuant to BZ's advice, I checked out the two sites he referenced. www.coraldynamics.com seems to have have a good live sand activator package. I also found some nice critter packages at www.reefjanitors.com. I really appreciate the help I am getting with this. What started out as a "seems like a good idea" has turned out to be much more involved, expensive and educational than I first thought. I want to be sure though, expense and all that the fish will have the best chance for survival when I do get them - I see that as my obligation to them. The minute I walk out of the store with them, they are my responsibility and I want to do everything I can to be sure I am providing a home they can be reasonably happy in and comfortable. Just wanted you all to know that is why I really appreciate all the advice. One thing I have already learnt (without even having the tank here)... this is nothing like keeping a FW tank
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Old 08-09-2003, 05:13 PM   #20
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Best advice I have seen is to get some LS from several sources. I got a detrivore kit from both ISPF and Inland Aquatics. I also got a few pounds from another tank (local). That would probably be the best source for diversity. Try to find a few local 'friends' who are willing to give a cup or two from their tanks to seed your new tank.
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