The Reef Tank banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't want to start an argument but I have a deep sand bed both in my display and my sump. I dose so I have not done a water change in close to a year. Most of the guys I know running bb are running reactors. I am not . I am running a skimmer. so what are the major arguments for and against one or the other. I have seen some beautiful tanks on this site and I know you guys know more than I. Please enlighten me.
Thanks.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
26,774 Posts
I will soon be joining the Orlando peeps :D

The main thing to think about is detritus. the old nasty bits of leftover food, and poo.

In a DSB the detritus settles, then gets broken down, and then some gets absorbed by the sand and critters in the sand and the rest is released into the water.

the rate at which this happens and how much nutrients are released back into the water are governed by many many many variables.


in a BB system the detritus is easily moved to where you want it, be it in a sump section, a cone settling system, or something else.

In a BB system there is no real nutrient buffer, so if you feed a lot one week then none the next you will get nutrient spikes, in a DSB not as much.

I run a BB system, mine works like this...

High flow in the display, then down the overflow, through the 55w UV, then into a filter sock in the sump, the sump has very high water movement (powerheads), then from sock to skimmer, from there half the water is fed back into the skimmer then the other half returns to the display.

I had to use socks since my sump does not have a good settling area and I was having issues getting out the detritus. now I change my filter socks 2-3 times daily, and always 10min after feeding.

I feed my tank a lot of food, I mean a lot, its only 65g but I feed about 3-4 ice cubes, 1 table spoon of pellets, and half a 12" square nori daily, sometimes more.

I also have a de-nitrator reactor that I dose several times a day with my own NoPox type mix. I used to just add the carbon source to the tank, but I was getting a little cyano, so now I have it in the reactor.

I'm running more "highend" SPS now then I have in the past and to get the colors people expect I am having to run my NO3 around 5, and my PO4 around 0.05 or else they gain/loose the colors people are expecting.

If I was just running a system with "normal" corals that didn't have to have certain colors like I have done in the past I would not need to feed as much, and if I had a better settling area I would not need to run a reactor or filter socks.


I tend to think of BB as running a manual transmission in a car vs a DSB as an automatic transmission. If your wanting total control go with a BB, if you just want to cruse go with a DSB.

But with any you still need proper maintenance, a DSP is not a maintenance pass.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Your case is very different from my own. i'm not running high end corals and I don't feed nearly as much as you are describing. my clean up crew deals with most of my detritus and I am running socks but not very fine 400 micron.
My problem more often than not is my system seems to clean. At least as far as the numbers go. The corals I'm keeping are growing decently.
I was thinking about most of this because I've seen some unbelievable tanks and most are bb.
I guess I'm still on the fence.
Anyway thanks for the answer.
Tim
 

· Administrator
Joined
·
20,817 Posts
Hey Tim! I run a VERY SHALLOW sand bed, a smidge more than a 'dusting'. It keeps our sand munchers happy and healthy, as well as a place for the little no see'ems to exist that the sand munchers munch on. When I clean the tank, and siphon the sand bed, I pretty much suck up a 1/3 to a 1/2 at a time and replace it with new. Then alternate the next time always leaving 'live substrate' there for the live stock. I use to keep a traditional shallow sandbed, but I lost control over our nutrients, and in cleaning our act up, decided this is far easier to keep under control.....sorta the best of both worlds. All the best,
Hack
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
26,774 Posts
Your case is very different from my own. i'm not running high end corals and I don't feed nearly as much as you are describing. my clean up crew deals with most of my detritus and I am running socks but not very fine 400 micron.
My problem more often than not is my system seems to clean. At least as far as the numbers go. The corals I'm keeping are growing decently.
I was thinking about most of this because I've seen some unbelievable tanks and most are bb.
I guess I'm still on the fence.
Anyway thanks for the answer.
Tim
When I started I was running sand then Geoff and a few others talked me into removing my sand for a short while, but that was maybe 7 years go and I never added sand back. I can run almost any levels I want to very easily with a BB system.
 

· Premium Member
Joined
·
34,741 Posts
the main difference between the two is how you want to deal with your maintenance. BB is just a little bit of maintenance all of the time. DSB is massive amount of maintenance at once when the DSB becomes full.

in general a DSB will last in years as deep as it is in inches.

with a BB you can feed as much as you want. you are in direct control of the imports and exports. with a DSB, you need to be concerned about nutrient build up in the DSB. the more you feed the faster it will fill up. you are not in control of the exports. the DSB is the largest nutrient sink and it is in control, not the aquarist.

a BB you can fine tune the trophic state of the system across all desired trophic zones and can be controlled theoretically indefinitely. DSB's become more eutrophic over time as they fill up. as this occurs the more the system needs corrective measures to maintain the desired trophic zone.

both are tools. to make the most of the tools it is good to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each.

up in the Must reads section of the Think Tank are a lot of good threads explaining in detail all of this.

G~
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top