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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a tank from a guy who had the system running for a while he and everything was healthy in the tank, Ive had the system running for about 6 months and have noticed a build up of what looks like dark brown sand in my sump. There was some there when I bought the tank and the guy said its good and that there are a lot of good organisms that live in it and clean the water and that he never cleaned it out and never had a problem, I have to weekly water changes for the past 6 months and my nitrates won't go down. My TDS meter says 0PPM for my RODI water so I was think that the "brown sand" is detritus build up and that it needs to go. Am I right on thinking this way or am I miss lead. Do you clean your sump and if so how often and how thorough. Thanks in advance for your help
 

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what you have there is what we call detritus. as to how beneficial it is depends on who you talk to and what they believe in. it is "food" for other organisms, but in itself is waste organic material. comprised of animal poo, dead/living microorganism, and dead bacterium. all the things that someone will look for in a good plant fertilizer. :( as this detritus decomposes it releases nitrates and phosphates.

so, i am one that believes that we should be cleaning up after our pets and not hiding the poo in a substrate to become a problem later. i say siphon it out whenever you do water changes.

if you would like to know more about phosphates and detritus, i would start reading through the Reefkeeping Made Easy thread. link located in my signature.

G~
 

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I try to clean out my sump every once in awhile. I have an unbaffled sump. I do it about once or twice a year.
 

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Once or twice a year isn't nearly enough. Maintaining proper flow that keeps detritus suspended so it makes its way to the sump is crucial. The easiest way to keep the sump clean is to do your weekly water changes via the sump. Siphon up the crap and change out 10-15% in one go.

Once a month is a good schedule to scrub down the whole sump when you pull out the skimmer for a good cleaning.
 

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Once or twice a year isn't nearly enough. Maintaining proper flow that keeps detritus suspended so it makes its way to the sump is crucial. The easiest way to keep the sump clean is to do your weekly water changes via the sump. Siphon up the crap and change out 10-15% in one go.

Once a month is a good schedule to scrub down the whole sump when you pull out the skimmer for a good cleaning.
That's how I do it. Prolly closer to 2 months though for me and 25-30% WC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So once a month is the general consensus here. Thank you guys for your help. I have been cleaning my DT every week including siphoning the sand and about a 25% water change and my nitrates just wont go down. I think this may have been the problem the whole time. Hey atleast my sand is clean
 

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how often you clean the sump depends on the environment you are trying to emulate. the more often you clean the sump, the lower the total nutrients in the system. if you are wanting to keep softies and other higher nutrient wanting organisms, then yes, maybe once a month would work. if you are wanting to keep SPS, then once a week is probably going to be needed.

there is not going to be one answer for this.

G~
 

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Reef Junkie
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+1 to Geoff and double ++ to Reef. The little shop vacs that go on a bucket are awesome for this though their name escapes me right now :)
 

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I never put sumps under the tanks anymore. If it is behind the DT and off the ground a regular old siphon can be used to siphon detritus out of the sump. I stopped crawling under tanks to get to sumps years ago. It also means you can buy a lower rated return pump as head pressure is way less.

Of course bottom drilled reef ready tanks will be a problem here. You have to buy a standard tank and drill a hole your self in the back of the tank and glue in your own baffle/overflow. It wont fit flush against a wall either.
 
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