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Old 05-06-2013, 08:00 PM   #1
newb
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To vacuum or not to vacuum?


Now that I've introduced plants, I was wondering if I should stop vacuuming gravel, and also how often should I replace filter cartridges? I don't want to remove the needed nutrients nor cause a nitrate spike. Thanks!
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:24 PM   #2
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Default Vacuuming Planted Tanks

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Now that I've introduced plants, I was wondering if I should stop vacuuming gravel, and also how often should I replace filter cartridges? I don't want to remove the needed nutrients nor cause a nitrate spike. Thanks!
Hello new...

I never vacuum the substrate. The dead plant and fish material that falls to the bottom eventually dissolves in the tank water and nourishes the plants. If you remove that material by vacuuming, you're removing the nutrients the plants need.

I change half the water in my tanks every week, so I don't need to service the filter or replace the media more than a couple of times a month. If you flush a lot of pure, treated tap water through the tank, the water stays pure and the filter equipment doesn't really get dirty, because it's just filtering pure water.

B
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:29 PM   #3
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but shouldn't we at least vacuum up the dead stuff lying on top of the substrate? doesn't it contribute to that milky white heterotroph bacterial bloom (which I seem to be going under)?
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: To vacuum or not to vacuum?

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Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello new...

I never vacuum the substrate. The dead plant and fish material that falls to the bottom eventually dissolves in the tank water and nourishes the plants. If you remove that material by vacuuming, you're removing the nutrients the plants need.

I change half the water in my tanks every week, so I don't need to service the filter or replace the media more than a couple of times a month. If you flush a lot of pure, treated tap water through the tank, the water stays pure and the filter equipment doesn't really get dirty, because it's just filtering pure water.

B
@newb

For some people this method works, not really everyones cup of tea though, if your dosing fertz a bit of a mute point.





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Originally Posted by Jahn View Post
but shouldn't we at least vacuum up the dead stuff lying on top of the substrate? doesn't it contribute to that milky white heterotroph bacterial bloom (which I seem to be going under)?
Generally I will just vacuum off the free stirring detritus you see thats just sitting on top swirling around etc.

The only thing I ever figured out that helps that bloom is water changes and time

Personally I would go ahead and vacuum off the dead materials. Just don't push the vac down into the substrate

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Old 05-06-2013, 08:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NWA-Planted View Post
@newb

Generally I will just vacuum off the free stirring detritus you see thats just sitting on top swirling around etc.

The only thing I ever figured out that helps that bloom is water changes and time

Personally I would go ahead and vacuum off the dead materials. Just don't push the vac down into the substrate

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This is what I do as well. If there is fish poo there, it goes as well. My tank is low tech for now so I dose here and there. But whatever lingers around at the bottom it gets sucked out. I have panada cories and I don't want them having to deal with debris all over the place. They are by far by favorite fish and I would do anything I can to keep the comfortable.

Typically you only skim the substrate to vacuum it. I stir up the debris with my suction tube to get the debris in the water column and out it goes.

As stated, it depends on your cup of tea. Alot of people don't vacuum. With my bottom feeders I do.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:55 AM   #6
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You could use a small tube like an airline tube and siphon the surface sludge that builds up in some areas, like the side panels of the tank. That is about it though, I would never fully vacuum a planted tank substrate bed.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:17 AM   #7
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Have to agree I never vacuum neither , and what I see on most of the ADA set up tanks no way to do it anyway.

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Old 05-08-2013, 03:19 PM   #8
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I'm new at planted tanks so take this for what it's worth, but because my plants to cover large portions of my gravel I get my gravel vac deep into the gravel when it's pretty far from the plants and gently suck the poop off the top when I'm near the plants.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:34 PM   #9
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Default To vacuum or not to vacuum?

I have never vacuumed my tank a d it's been running for over a year. That is one if the reasons I started a planted tank. Another thing you can do is get a good clean up crew, I have amano shrimp, RCS, Cory cats, Bn pleco, clown pleco, khuli loaches, vampire and bamboo shrimp. I wanted a easy to take of tank and these guys do make it so much easier.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:23 PM   #10
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i never vacuum my tank, but do sometime over the moss
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:01 AM   #11
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I vacuum plants, moss, and over driftwood. Maybe right over the substrate if there's some stuff.
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:52 AM   #12
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I just siphoned most of my tank, avoiding plants. I have a gravel substrate, too big and too much. There was so much detritus down there that went up the vac. I hadn't been siphoning for a long time. I got some advice that too much dissolved organic compounds might be causing the Cyanobacteria bloom I've been wrestling with. The stuff just doesn't go away. I have been doing 50% water changes weekly. I have also been seeing bubbles coming up from the substrate. I plan to get rid of those.

Thanks.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:38 AM   #13
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I don't vacuum the gravel in my planted tanks, just remove some rotting veg that's making things look ugly. In my large cichlid tanks I do, except for Prince's tank. He was a giant tilapia. He was his own vacuum, and he would often fight the gravel tube, so I stopped lol.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:12 AM   #14
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My bumblebee and salvini are the same way. The bumblebee spends all day vacuuming the sand and spitting it everywhere. I vacuum my shrimp tanks (heavily planted) but only every few months. The plants seem to enjoy being left alone, and its too easy to suck up shrimplets.
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:26 AM   #15
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How often do you guys rinse off your filter media if you're not vacuuming the detritus? I find that at feeding time the fish stir up the detritus and it floats all over the tank in the current, eventually getting sucked up by the canister filter.


Btw: plecos poo waaaaay too much.
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