One thing I've noticed with aqua soil is that when you do a lot of planting, it settles back down on top of stuff and coats it and makes it dirty. It was bugging me so I made a siphon brush. I don't know if somebody makes this or not, it just dawned on me to make one this morning.
I apologize for the crappy iPhone pics, it's the only camera I have right now.
To make it, I took a bic pen, gutted it, and stuck it into a small siphon hose (the one that came with my gravel cleaning siphon). Next I stole a plug of bristles off a small dustpan hand sweeper brush. I held them in place around the pen with a little rubber o-ring, basically making a circular brush with a hole in the middle, and the hole leads up the siphon tube. Then I used hot glue to attach it all permanently with the o-ring holding it all.
This was all free (had it all sitting around the house), and only took about 15 minutes to make. How'd it work? Fantastic! As you brush, it sucks all the dirt right up the siphon hose, so there is no cloudiness in the water when you do it. There isn't enough pressure to suck up actual soil or disturb anything else, although it can suck up really small plants. I cleaned the driftwood and all the rocks in my tank in a matter of a couple of minutes, and now everything looks clean again. I was even able to brush off a few plants.
Here it is the piece of driftwood before — it's all nasty and dirty:
Sorry for all the air bubbles on this after pic, I did a water change when I was done. All clean though! You can see I was able to somewhat clean off the hydrocotyle and downoi in front of the driftwood as well.