Burr740 could you describe a little more what you mean when you talk about the tank uber clean. I am seeing positive effects in my tank adopting this practice, and wonder what all it means to you?
For instance, I also have BDBS substrate, and I'd be interested to know more about your vacuuming routine. Lightly vac, deeply vac? And anything else you think might be helpful.
Thanks for anything you can share.
Keep things very clean is all that means.
- Filters obviously. Mine will run a good 4 months before flow starts to decrease. But I try to clean them every two months.
- The substrate surface. Mine stays pretty clean by itself and I rarely do anything. But anytime there's a build up of crud somewhere I use a bucket and siphon hose to spot vacuum it up.
Now, unlike your rainbows, all my fish are small and I really dont feed that much. So fish poop isnt really a factor, at least I never see any. Not sure how that would be with a fish load like yours, or how I'd deal with it. In my case, having good flow through the tank and strong filters seems to do the heavy lifting.
As for deep vacuuming, plants in my tanks get moved all the time, so there's a pretty good "turnover" happening from pulling roots out. I really never do any deep vacuums until the tank gets a little older, after a year or two. Then I may do small areas at a time, like if I pull a group of stems out to trim and top, or move or whatever, I'll do a deep vac on that one area.
- Pruning and plant trimming, often overlooked as part of the cleaning process. Dead or dying leaves, get those out asap. They wont repair, they'll just sit there and leech organics back into the water.
Any stems with ratty bottoms, replant the nice tops and toss the bottoms.
Just keep all the crappy stuff out. That's it in a nutshell.