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Two Methods Of Remove Detritus Without Doing A Water Change

By Fish of Hex on

Travis: What's up guys. Welcome back to FishOfHex, my name is Travis. In today's video, I'm going to be showing you two methods that I use here in a 300-gallon reef to remove detritus in between my water changes. Now, if you've been following the channel for a while you know that I perform a 30% water change every month or every other month depending on my schedule or what I have going on here regarding builds, projects, and orders. Now, without a doubt, the ugliest thing in this tank is the detritus which is just everywhere upfront and that is by choice and by fault.

Now, again, if you've been following this build process from the beginning you know that I have powerheads set up in an area or location in the tank specifically to remove the detritus. Not only are the powerheads one of my two methods but they are positioned in a way that will help move the detritus upfront which makes it really easy to clean which you guys will see here in the video.

Now understand both of these methods are for a bare bottom tank but don't worry if you have sand you could still use both of these or take advantage of their effects on your system and the detritus. Just be careful when it comes to using them as you don't want to blow too much sand around and you definitely don't want to siphon out sand during this process. With all of that said, let's go ahead and get started.

Okay. Our first method is going to be manual removal via siphoning using a hose. Now, all you need for this is a hose that reach the bottom of your main display and then go all the way down to the filter sock section of your sump or another part of the sump so you can put a filter sock in there or some other mechanical filtration. Doesn't necessarily have to be a filter sock, just that's what I choose to use here.

Now, because my hose is not long enough, that's what she said, I went ahead and attached a smaller one inside the bigger one. That way I can reach and then someday I'll just go to Home Depot and buy a bigger hose but not doing it today. Now, what I like to do is take advantage of the little slot or O ring or whatever the heck you want to call it inside the four-inch filter socks that I pick up from Bulk Reef Supply and I just go ahead and stick the hose in there which holds it in place, wrap it around one of the stan legs and then I'm ready to start siphoning.

Now, the first thing you want to do is make sure that your skimmer is off. I tried doing this with a skimmer on, it just pisses it off even with the filter sock catching most of the stuff, it still really pisses it off. Just make sure you go ahead and turn off your skimmer first and then it wouldn't hurt to go ahead and turn off powerheads because the whole purpose of this is to get as much detritus as you can out of the tank and if you're moving stuff around like corals and like here you can see that I'm moving around the play coral, it's going to kick up some of the detritus and just spreading it all over the tank when it could just simply settle back down and make it easier to siphon out.

Now, as you guys can see I'm just going in here moving corals around, moving some shells out of the way and just focusing on cleaning that detritus. Now when I eventually do my water change, I'll come in here and pull out these dead snail shells just to make it look a little bit better but I tend to keep a few in there just to make sure the hermit crabs have somewhere else to go. Then I go around and start killing off the rest of my turbo snails.

Now, what's really good about this method and it's different than a water change is you don't have to worry about temperature fluctuations. When you're performing a water change the main return pump is off and you have to go in there, you have to hurry up and get stuff done so there isn't any major fluctuations. You also have to make sure that the water that you're putting in there is around the same temperature again, to prevent those fluctuations.

Now with this method it's really cool, you could take as long as you want, get in there, move stuff around. You guys we'll see you later on that I'll get in there with a stick and start breaking out some of this detritus and the point is you can take your time, clean the tank and make it look the way you want it to. Not only is it visually going to be better once this detritus is removed, you also don't have to worry about this stuff getting picked up with our second method and then ending up in the filter socks, dirtying more filter socks over a period of time when I could simply come in here and fill up one filter sock halfway with just detritus saving more cleaning and less changing of filter socks in the future.

Now if those two reasons were not enough for you to do this, the third and final reason would be nutrient control. I find that removing detritus helps with my nitrates and phosphates. It isn't a ton of detritus in this tank but I have seen client tanks and other customer tanks that just have a ton of this stuff built up in the corners of the tank by the overflow underneath rock structures where they're not getting enough flow and that detritus has an opportunity to catch food, maybe a snail will die in there, a hermit crab, or something, then it will break down and release nitrates and phosphates into your tank.

If you're getting in here at least once a week or once every other week for a few minutes just siphon out what you can, don't go out of your way, you go a long ways to keeping your nutrients under control. For those of you who are currently dealing with algae and elevated nutrients may be consider going in there and cleaning out detritus just like this and see how it affects your tank.

All right, before we move on to my second method I want to show you guys real quick a tip to help remove these stubborn detritus that wedges itself between the glass and underneath the rock structure. Now, this is going to work so you don't have to move your rocks out of the way. You can if you want. For me personally, it's not something I'm able to do because the corals are already touching the glass and each other and moving the rock structures at this point is not even possible.

What I like to use is a dowel that I use at my [unintelligible 00:05:06] for people to point into the tank at what coral they want. I think I got it from eBay for a couple of bucks I don't remember but anything like that, that's flexible. I like to get it in here underneath rock structure. It does again flex a little bit moving it back and forth to mix up that detritus getting it out in the open so I can siphon it out with the hose.

Now, once you're satisfied with the amount of detritus that you have removed just simply go ahead and change out the filter socks or the mechanical filtration or whatever you use to collect that detritus. If you are using filter socks, I recommend that you dump out that detritus or rinse it out ahead of time before adding it to all the other filter socks that you currently clean at a given time.

The reason why I say that is because all that chunk and all that crap that's out of the ordinary in what a normal filter sock is going to collect and you're just going to end up spilling it all over your washer and just making it a bigger mess than it has to be. That's about it for this first method. Let's move on to my second one which I use every single day, multiple times per day to help keep the detritus out of my water column.

Now when it comes to the second method, I like to take advantage of the powerheads and the amount of flow that they can produce within the reef tank. Currently, they're at about 50% to 60% pulsing at different times throughout the day and you guys have seen that in my Jebao to Apex programming and the 300-gallon playlist. When it comes to the powerheads, we have the two PP 20s on the top left and top right of the tank which provide a ton of flow when they're at 100% and then we have the WP 60s at the mid left bottom left and then the bottom right.

I did have another one at the mid-right but it died and I just haven't got around to buying another one. Each powerhead within this system is capable of 5,000 gallons per hour. Even though the PP 20s at the top left and top right they are rated at the same gallons per hour as the other WP 60s, I feel that they do pull out a little bit more flow. It could be a design or whatever difference but I do definitely like those powerheads over the WP 60s and if I ever have to buy more for this tank I'm going to pass on those WP 60s and go straight to the PP 20s.

To make this work, we are going to be using an OSC timer within an outlet. Here is the outlet that I made called the surge wave. We have it to be set for off fall back is off of course and we have an OSC timer of 480 minutes. It will kick this outlet on to be on for 10 minutes and then it will turn off. This outlet itself basically is what controls our wave profile which is a surge wave. We can move over here real quick to our profiles. I call it actually flow time. I changed it since I updated my Apex.

You guys saw that I had to buy the new Apex because we had some issues with the old one and I updated it to flow time. It's no longer a surge wave is called flow time.

What's going to happen is when that outlet is triggered every 480 minutes, it's going to trigger this flow time profile which you guys will see within the powerheads and that means that the powerhead is going to stay on for 45 seconds and then it going to be off for 10 seconds and when it is on it's going to be on at 100% and when it's off for those 10 seconds, it's going to be at 0%. That is the profile itself.

Let's move down to one of the powerheads here. Let's see if I can find them in my list of things. We have a marked here basically top left, top right, yaddy, yaddy, yadda. Let's go to look over here at the PP 20 on the top left. As you can see, we have our generic programming with our dusk day programming and our night programming. Then what's more important is down here we have, if outlet surge wave is on, which is what the name of that outlet is, it will be triggering flow time which is the profile.

If that outlet kicks on every 480 minutes, it will then trigger the flow time way profile which kicks it on at a 100% for 45 seconds and all for 10 seconds. You can go back and rewind this. Again, I do have more programming on this in a PP-- I think PP 8 or WP 40 programming video in the 300-gallon playlist. You guys can check that out there. All right. That's it for the programming. Now, let's move back to the tank.

All right. I went ahead and manually turned on our [unintelligible 00:09:16] mode within the Apex and I'm going to show you guys about 10 minutes worth of footage fast-forwarded to give you a general idea of what it looks like when they kick on. Now granted yesterday I went ahead and manually siphoned out a ton of that detritus that you guys previously saw on the video. There's not going to be nearly as much floating around as if I was to wait a week or two weeks in between that manual siphoning and the amount of cloudiness that this tank gets in that time.

Trust me, this method definitely works and it's something that I've been using since the 125 and you guys saw that tank was successful and I just took what I learned from that tank and what was working for me and moved it over here to the 300-gallon reef. Now, before I let you go I might as well answer the question, do you need to implement either one of these methods to have a successful tank? The answer is no, you don't have to do either one of these and still be successful.

Now, my whole overall thought process on this is it's the little things that you do consistently over time not only just with the hobby but in your life, it's the little things that will benefit you if you do them consistently over a period of time at the end of your life or at the end of the day or week or month that you're going to be better off than you were if you didn't do any of that stuff at all.

For me, going ahead and spending 15 minutes every week or every two weeks to siphon out detritus helps with my long-term nutrient control, it also helps a tank look better for videos, in turn, allowing more people to like my videos, subscribe to the channel and allow me to continually create content for you guys. That's kind of my overall thought process and it doesn't hurt to get a few subs here and as well.

I know personally I'm never going to be a million sub guy, it's just not going to happen in our niche but I definitely enjoy what I have so far. The support I get in the few of you that do comment, I really do appreciate it. With that said, I hope you guys enjoyed the video. If you have any questions let me know and if you liked it, give it a thumbs up. Don't forget to subscribe and I'll see you guys later for another video. Peace.

About Fish of Hex

Travis’ main reef display tank featuring many small-polyp stony coral (SPS) is a 300-gallon custom glass aquarium setting on a welded iron stand, both from Custom Aquariums.

"Here you will find everything you need to know to be successful in the saltwater aquarium hobby. I have several video series such as "Beginner Guide to Saltwater Aquariums", "300 Gallon Build" and "How to & Diy". I will teach you how to avoid common mistakes and prevent tank disasters. With thirteen years of experience in the hobby, I plan on sharing all of it with my subscribers. I take great pride in helping others and seeing their tanks grow into amazing works of art makes the time I put into making these videos worth it. Follow me and you will have an amazing reef tank in no time!"

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