I think my substrate needs a deep clean - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-03-2017, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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I think my substrate needs a deep clean

I don't usually do this, but it seems that all the malaysian trumpet snails in my 10g betta tank have died for some reason, plus my nerite just disappeared too. There is continual mulm buildup I can't get a handle on, and my gravel vac job around corners doesn't seem to do enough. I think there is stuff deep under the driftwood and hardsape pieces I ought to clean out. Especially since yesterday, I pulled out some stems that were melting (since the tank had a two week vacation with no ferts) and now there is a bunch of gray fuzz/hairy stuff on the wood and rhizomes, a fungus or algae? I find it alarming how quickly that showed up. Odd thing is lots of the other plants are doing better, nitrates are low less than 10ppm and my betta seems to feel fine, he even built a bubble nest this past week.

My plan is to put the betta in a bucket with his sponge filter, cave and floaters while I remove the driftwood and deeply gravel vac one side of the tank. Do a few wc to assure there's no ammonia spike and put the fish back in later in the day. Repeat with other side of the tank a few days later. Is it better if I do a third of the substrate at a time, or if I wait say, a week between deep-cleaning each side, instead of a few days? I don't want a huge ammonia spike putting my fish at risk...
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-03-2017, 04:35 PM
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That's a good plan.

1/3 or 1/2 at a time, followed immediately by a 70-80% water change, about a week apart is what I'd do.

Actually Id probably do it all at once on a 10 gallon with livestock removed. Then do a couple big water changes. Should be fine.

Just be aware that water column ferts will be totally reset to zero. If the tank is low tech it shouldnt matter too much. But if it's higher light with co2 it'd be a good idea to maybe double dose the first time afterwards (say you're following an EI routine) That way there wont be an extended period with very low nutrients

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-03-2017, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Appreciate the reply. I think I'll do half at a time a week apart, starting on the side with the driftwood that seems to be problematic. And Restock afterwards with new trumpet snails from my other tank. I think the snails dying off is why too much mulm sits around . . . .

Yes, it's low tech thanks for the pointer on ferts
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