Keeping sandbed clean

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Aquarium Advice Freak
Nov 3, 2011
Any suggestions? I have a lot of snails/hermits etc that have been doing a decent job on the aquarium glass, but my sandbed looks absolutely putrid. Even vacuuming it up in my water changes, while improving it, isn't really keeping it "clean". Lots of what looks like chunks of coralline in there (pink specks, as well as large chunks - I'm guessing those came off during my power failure/temperature drop/tank destruction).

I've had a sleeper goby before and, while he kept the sandbed clean, I have concerns about having enough junk in there for him to eat. My sandbed is relatively shallow (around 1"), and while I can add more I'd really like to get this crap cleaned up first. I see other folks with white sand beds that are sparkling white clean - how are y'all doing it, chemically or am I just not doing enough vacuuming/water changing?
If you keep the glass clean yourself your clean-up crew will focus more on the sand and rocks themselves. Make sure you also aren’t introducing any phosphates into the system and you keep the nitrates as low as possible, cyano and algae will definitely show up to feed on that stuff.
Will give that a whirl - if I were, say, to add some live sand/unlive sand to the bed, how long would I want to let that stuff propegate prior to adding anything that's going to rely on the critters within it to eat?

i.e. sleeper or virtually any other sifting goby?

I suspect that a majority of the crud on my sand would be eliminated with better water flow, which is why I have two powerheads on the way (600gph jobbies for a 72 tank).

I'm also being a tad cautious right now - the only fish in the tank currently is a copper banded butterfly to try to get an aiptasia outbreak under control, at which point his delicate *** is going back to the LFS.
Peppermint shrimp might have been a better, and cheaper, choice for aiptasia duty. Anyway, better flow will definitely do a lot to help you clean things up. I’ve got a Hydor Koralia 425 gph pump in my 16 gal tank. I keep it at the top to keep good flow across the top for oxygen exchange. I like to keep at least a 20:1 ratio (gph to gallons) in order to keep things from stagnating. The high flow also keeps the pH more stable.
Yea I tried the pepps - for some reason they're not showing any interest whatsoever in the aiptasia, even after a couple of weeks...even after basically handcuffing the little bastich's to the rock WITH the aiptasia on it ;)

The CBB is pricey which is why its on loan to be returned to the LFS next week some time after he's hopefully taken a bite out of crime :)
LOL. I guess the only thing you can really count on being true is that you never know how individual fish (or shrimps) are going to behave. :lol:
Remove the sand bed i had the same problem finally said i done with it an took it out.. Already getting coraline on bottom glass lookin good.. I put in a spray bar behind the rocks pushes all the detritus to the front just suck it out with weekly water changes..


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Yep, though I'm adding them slowly...started with just 2...added 4 more today, along with a buncha astrea and margarita snails. My son really loves them, so I'll probably keep adding them a couple at a time until I hit an equilibrium of some kind.
I just bought a bunch more nassarius snails today. I really like them and they do a pretty good job of turning over the sand, in my opinion.
Well let me ask you this: how many snails would you say is an appropriate number for a 72 gallon tank? Right now I'd say I have somewhere around 12 - 15 snails, 10 hermits - only 1 fish and 1 decorative shrimp so not a lot of feeding going on for the little guys to pick on...but once I'm stocked, I figured I'd get up to around 25 snails...sound close?
You could always get a diamond watchman goby. I had one and he did so much digging that the sand never had a chance to get very dirty. You have to make sure you don’t have any corals near the bottom of your reef, though, because he’ll make sand mounds wherever it pleases him. And you have to make sure your live rock is securely planted on the bottom and not resting on the sand, because he will dig holes that make rock on top of sand slide around. Kind of a pain actually, but pretty fun to watch.
Yea I had a golden headed goby for awhile - my only concern is that I might not have enough critters left in my substrate to support one.
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