Mr. Saltwater Tank TV Friday AM Quick Tip #51: The Basement Needs Cleaning

You can put these guys downstairs too.


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Comments for this article (30)

  • Will says:

    Hey Mark,
    Should it be said, the type of snails in the fuge should not be the type that bury themselves if you have a deep sea bed (DSB) in order not to disturb the sand?
    Thanks, keep up the good work!

  • Beau says:

    Simple tip that I really never thought of… Thanks and it’s time to move some buddies down to the basement

  • corocora says:

    What is typically the reason for snail die-off? Landing on their backs, not enough food, bad water….what? Or is this just naturally to be expected? My 12 Gal. tank is clean and algae free with only a conch, 3 nassarius, 2 hermits and 4 Astreas. This after about 6 margaritas recently went to snail heaven. Should I replace them, or let the algae presence, or lack of, dictate how big the crew should be?

  • Grant Caldwell says:


    Can you put a CUC in a Berlin style sump or only refuge? In my sump I have LR instead of bio balls, if it matters?

    Also, can you put CUC in the return?


  • myfirstnano says:

    Hey Mark,

    I just wanted to say I enjoy all your tips as I am new and just started my first nano tank and any tips and tricks are appreciated, so my point is thanks for making your videos, I don’t know why they get so many dislikes? I like the help!


  • Tommy says:

    I have about 100 narius snails in my 55 gallon tank and they keep everything spotless! I love them for that but i have no sand bed in my sump, should i still put them down there? will the have enough food or die off or climb out?

  • Mad Hatter Reef says:

    For My aquariums I keep 1 hermit crab or snail per gallon of aquarium. Tends to work for me.

  • Tony says:

    My sump/fuge is the jailhouse for aggressive hermits. Also I have 2 long spined urchins in the sump portion. They eat every stray flake of food, plus keep the glass spotless!

  • that’s funny Tony as I do the same thing with emerald crabs that go rouge – down to the sump they go.

  • Tommy…the nasarius snails burrow into the sand so if you have no sand in your fuge, don’t put any in there!

  • Grant…even if you have only LR or LR rubble in your fuge, you can still put hermits in there. They’ll eat whatever comes their way. I would recommend rotating them out with crabs in your main tank to make sure they get enough food.

  • corocora…snails die for all kinds of reasons including the ones you mentioned. Certain types of snails can right themselves if they fall on their backs, but a lot can’t so unless you turn them over, they’ll die.

    If your tank has no algae, then I’d hold off on the snails until you see algae popping up. They’ll need something to eat.

  • Grant Caldwell says:

    Mark, hermits only or snails too? Can anything go in the over-flow?

  • Brady says:

    This is a great tip, however I would not put them in your sump when you have a external pump runnning. They will eventually find their way to that pump, get sucked up, and break your impeller or clog your pipe.

  • Martin Johnson says:

    Came across your website via YouTube and having kept a marine tank for the past 7 years I must say you advice is just about the best and most practical I have seen anywhere. There’s always more to lean and I have found seveal of your tips very useful.
    Thanks again,

  • Martin Johnson says:

    Er, I meant learn not lean and several not seveal – must read before I post!

  • james brown says:


    I have a 230 gal tank. how thick should the sand base be. and when i do a water change should i clean the gravel. ?

  • The Berrier's Reef says:

    Hey Mark, kinda an off topic question but have u ever had your aqua lifter pump syphon and pour tons of ro/di water into your tank, or are they pretty reliable?

  • Grant Caldwell says:

    James, from my understanding you want about a pound of sand per gallon, like you would have a pound per gallon of live rock. This equates to roughly two inches deep or one inch above the bottom trim of your tank.

    For example, I have 80lbs of live sand in my 60 gal and its about a 1.25 inches above the bottom trim. For what’s called a “deep sand bed” you want roughly 5-6 inches total. You can research “deep sand bed” to see if that’s what you want.

    I’m sure there are other opinions on this topic, so if there are I’m sure they’re soon to follow. I hope this helps.

  • Wes says:

    Aqua Lifter pumps use a diaphram so they can’t siphon back. I use one on my overflow box (tank not drilled) to keep bubbles out of the top so that it never looses siphon. Below whisper quiet. Great little pump.

  • Berrier’s reef. I used to use an Aqua Lifter pump until it started syphoning into my tank. Granted it was a slow drip, it would still syphon. Therefore I dropped the Aqua lifter and went to the bulk reef supply 50mL/min pump.

  • Wes…please see my reply to Berrier’s question.

  • The Berrier's Reef says:

    Thank you soo much Mark, thats what i suspected, i was about to start using kalk, but i thought it was syphoning because of all the extra water i came home to somedays, if i were to stick with this pump… kalk overdose, and everything is dead. You could have just saved my entire tank. thank you.

  • The Berrier's Reef says:

    Woah, thats too expensive for me right now. Any other good pumps that won’t syphon water into your tank?

  • What you described happened to me except I work from home and I saw my pH creeping up when the ATO wasn’t running and my halides weren’t on. Luckily I fixed the issue before a major disaster happened.

  • The Berrier's Reef says:

    Good, that would be bad if it did happen to your tank. I did some research and found the tunze osmolator pump is reliable and wont syphon, what do u think? Also, thanks for taking the time out of your day to reply to our questions, it truly means a lot. 🙂

  • Good read, thanks a lot 🙂

  • Wes says:

    I stand corrected. I still find it hard to believe that it would given the design. I wonder if the diaphram in your pump had a crack or pin hole and that allowed it to siphon. Things that make you go hhhmmmm!

  • ch says:

    Watched most of your programmes on youtube .Super helpful information thanks !Great to see someone so into their hobby !.
    Getting more into my brackish tanks now but alot of info can be used from here in my new tank .Im doing a dsb on my new Brackish Tank with scats monos which could go full marine when adult if i choose? .
    Do i have to have lights on the sump if only a dsb? No plants?

    chris Essex (uk)

  • Grant says:

    No. Lights are for algae.

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