Cleaning the marine tank sump. This is a live sump—live rock, sand, everything a tank has, except fish…
Or it’s supposed to be without fish. Three fish escaped via the drain upstairs, made it through complex piping, being very cigarette shaped and tiny—and I was able to get 2 of them out and upstairs again. One is doing pretty well. I’m afraid the smaller one may have dived through the plumbing again to rejoin the buddy in an area I couldn’t reach.
I washed sand (it comes filled with chalk dust) and siphoned muck, which you might optimistically call mud if you didn’t know it was fish poo half an inch thick in spots. The sandbed has been through heck and whatever, and hasn’t been handling it well, and I kept on postponing doing something, even if I know how bad the 54g tank got during breakdown — before we converted it to freshwater and connected the living sump to the new 105g. I should have done this long since, but I went in and hauled out (by hand, in cramped space) 3.5 gallons of very mucky sand, replacing it with new, and leaving enough muck behind to ‘seed’ the new sand with bacteria. In point of fact, because I have a functioning healthy sandbed in the 105 g it will ‘carry’ the system AND seed the new sand, but I couldn’t get the last of the muck out. I have been up and personal with bristle worms, sponges, and gotten stung (the worms) and gotten grit under my nails…I feel as if I need a bath in Clorox.
But…once we can see the fish again (the water is a little opaque with chalk dust) it will all be fine. That should make everything happier. Normally you leave these things alone, but this sump had an iffy start back in 2007 when we set up after the move and the sump I’d ordered didn’t come in and my microlife all cooked in the buckets waiting for it…I’d tried letting the system clean itself up naturally, but some times you just have to intervene and shovel…ahem…muck.