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  1. #1
    Senior Member percula99's Avatar
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    Sand sifting starfish and nitrates

    A while back I was experiencing elevated nitrate levels (12-25 mg/l). One thing I tried was to rid my tank of the three sand sifting starfish I had. The thought was to eliminate a predator in the sand bed that was eating all the beneficial fauna that would help reduce the nitrate levels. It has been at least a year now, and I must admit, there has been absolutely no decrease in the nitrates. I do however have a much dirtier sand bed (it is no longer white as it was with the star fish). I am thinking of putting more starfish back in the tank. What say yee?

    This past weekend I also bought a used Berlin Classic skimmer to replace the woefully inadequate skimmer I bought from Marinescape (one of theirs). I am hoping this will help as well.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ALRHA's Avatar
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    i used to have one but took it out as i prefer to have critters multiplying and feeding my tank.
    adding a whole bunch of snails (cerith / nassarius) should help clean up your sand without preying on your fauna.
    Albert
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  3. #3
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    Why don't you try either a fighting conch or a Strawberry conch. These guys are big enough so that when they bury, they trun over a lot of the sand and as they crawl along, they also turn over the sand, yet small enough to not cause any problems or damage.
    The other various common snails don't do anything for the sandbed as they stay on the rocks or glass. Only the Cerith's will move the sand but just what is right at the glass. Nassarius are good for scavenging but too small to turn over the sand any. There aren't "many" good things for stirring the actual sand enough to make a difference except the conchs or your sandsifting stars, but these stars are at a compromise as you well know.

  4. #4
    Senior Member percula99's Avatar
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    I had thought of the Strawberry conches. They would make a nice alternative to the sand sifting starfish. I may just go with three or four of them for now. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Senior Member tang_man_montreal's Avatar
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    Perc,

    You'd probably be better off anyways with a Conch over a star since the star will devour the benthic life in your livesand.
    I am Homer of BORG... Prepare to be..OOOO!! DONUT!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member ALRHA's Avatar
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    are the conch's herbivores? or omnivores?
    Albert
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  7. #7
    Senior Member i2ik's Avatar
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    I was thinking about having a conch and i already have a big sans sifting star... do i have to get rid of the star? Those 2 invertebrate was going to be my only crew for the sand instead of having nassarius snail and cerith snails all over... gee's what do i have to do?!
    Richard

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  8. #8
    Senior Member jklink's Avatar
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    I have a sand-sifting star but find that I still have lots of life left in the sand. What do the folks with 120+ gallon tanks use? You can't tell me that you litter your tanks narc. snails!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Alrha, Strawberry Conch are herbivores...I agree with Toutouche on their benefits to a sand bed, I keep two of them and love watching them plod along constantly vacuuming the top of the sandbed. Between them and the ceriths, my sandbed gets a good mixing.
    Keep passing the open windows!

  10. #10
    Member sidewayz's Avatar
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    Ok everybody is using the term sandbed. Are these critters only good in a sugar fine sandbed (e.i. southdown,or play sand) or will they be happy and do the job in a crushed coral sandbed like mine?

    Ivan
    "The Other" Ivan

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