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Discussion Starter #1
Today it is snowing and I have to stay home to wait for someone so I decided to clean and re aquascape the tank. No matter how nice you aquascape, in a couple of years the rocks tend to fall and fill in places that you would like to be kept clear. Out of my 4 diatom filters I managed to switch parts and get two of them working.
I removed about a third of the corals and rock and am stirring up the gravel on that half of the tank. I don't like to do this with the bluestripped pipefish in there because I always lose them when I do this. Maybe they can't breathe with all the detritus floating around. The tank looks like Half and Half right now but I am trying to do a little at a time just for those pipefish. It is a lot easier and much quicker if I could just stir everything at once.
I run a Reverse UG filter so I can and have to clean and re juvinate the system every few years. This is not a major cleaning, those I do every 25 years weather it needs it or not.
I do this piece meal and it is almost as good. When it is all back together it will be clean and the corals and fish will be "happy" Now, not so much.
This maintenance is needed to insure complete water circulation through the gravel and I also powerwash the pores in the rocks. My homemade rocks are hollow and they fill with sediment

 

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Paul have you ever had a problem with Nitrites after moving that much sand at once? The reason I asked that is a few Months ago I help a friend redo his tank and we moved a few rocks that have been in place for about 4 years. Nitrites went up and he lost a few fish. And the smell was of rotten eggs. I have two engineer goby in my reef tank so my sand get turned over a lot, but everybody can't do that. After I started writing this I remembered you use a under gravel filter so I guess you wouldn't have that problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Correct, you can't do that with DSB or any sand bed. My Reverse UG filter allows me to maintain the system every few years so it lasts forever.
Today I stirred the entire gravel bed down to the UG filter plate. I moved all the rocks and diatomed out the detritus.
I never had any nitrate spikes.
The tank is clean now an will settle down soon and look more natural.
You can't tell from the pictures but all of that rock is supported on pillars to keep most of it off the gravel. I want to be able to see under and behind the rock structure because I have a lot of gobi's and they tend to hide a lot. Eventually the structure starts to fall slightly and some of the rocks fill in the open spaces so I like to re aquascape occasionally. Some of the rocks are suspended from strings above the tank and are not touching the bottom at all.



 

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how can it look like a hudson bay if it's clean?

4 filters to make two. Interesting. I saw yesterday they do actually still sell the vortex filters. But perhaps you have the larger model that is no longer available.

Good job. looks great.
 

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What do you make your pillars out of? I like your idea of hanging your rock. I use Acrylic rods drilled through the rock. There are 3 of them in this picture see if you can spot them

In the mean time back to the OP...I think I'm missing something what do you mean reverse UG filter? Is this what keeps it from clogging? I tried to run a under gravel filter on a fresh water tank a few years back, that lasted about a Month. After I had to clean it once I riped it out. Having one on a salt water tank is really old school. So to clean it out do you just reverse the flow?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
how can it look like a hudson bay if it's clean?
No worries, I still have about 8 bottles and chains in there, it will get it's old patina back shortly.

...I think I'm missing something what do you mean reverse UG filter? Is this what keeps it from clogging?
I designed this system 30 years ago, ther UG filter is run in reverse very slowly with a filter in the intake. It lasts 25 years before it needs a good cleaning which I have done twice since then. It will last forever, never clog, reduce nitrates, as I have none, and is very forgiving. It will not crash and can go almost forever with no power, well 5 days was the longest it went like that.
I can stir it up to maintain without worrying about anything. Yours lasted a month because you ran it like the directions say out of the box. Thats like we all ran them, thats why no one uses them anymore except me.

What do you make your pillars out of?
Much of my rock is hollow and I build it out of cement. You can see a piece of it in that garbage can, that opiece is 3' long. It is PVC pipw which I heat and bend, Then I cover it with plastic window screen and put about 5 coats of cement on it
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Portland cement is a type, I use "Sakrete Mortor Mix" which is a brand name. You can get it in very small bags in some hardware stores. Home depot only sells it in large bags.
 
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