Very timely post for me. I just set up a second tank and will transfer half of my existing plants to the new tank next week. My substrate is a mix of Flourite Black, Black sand and Dark and the tank has been set up 14 months. I have never deep vacuumed the substrate but do vacuum off the surface mulm in the places it collects every couple weeks. I do use root tabs. I have good flow so to the naked eye the substrate looks clean in 90% of the tank.
From reading above I need to do a good vacuuming after I pull these plants along with a large water change. Would everyone agree? My question is how deep should I go? I'm not clear on that. I have a substrate depth of 2" to 4" front to back. Tank is high tech, if that matters.
Any input is appreciated. thanks
Sounds like you’ve got a good handle on it. Did your current practices work well on your existing tank?
But yea in a higher tech/light situation if you clear out a area do clean up excess you pull up, fork around with planting tongs in maybe top .5-.75” of substrate, lightly vacuum excess. Even fork around bit around plants you are leaving, I even have a turkey baster with small curved piece of 3/8 hose on end I’ll use to lightly “leaf blow” between plants or suck it out if spacing between plants allows it.
Just don’t bare rape your entire bed all at once if standing system is doing good, use your eyes and your feel for tank to tell you what is right. And yes higher tech tanks need less organics than low-med tech tanks, your playing Mother Nature, rigidly controlling the parameters.
Totally different tank than that little 7gal low tech mulm bomb I posted above which is doing fantastic with two simple to grow plants, one (Rotala) a creeping substrate maven that loves that overblown mulm layer and red root floaters which actually partially shade the Rotala and slow it down a bit. Floaters get most its co2 from air.
The pink pearl ramshorn snails that came in with mulm seed are thriving, huge thick pearly pink shells and watermelon pink flesh, their munching down on that red root floater, haven’t touch Rotundifolia and are giving me great gobs of snail poop to add to organic base that this tank is thriving off of.
If your new system isn’t set up I’d highly recommend doing a mulm seed like I did on that little tank. I’ll give all props for doing this to my friend who is a biologist/aquaculturist of highest magnitude.
As he explained it to me, think of shores of rainforest, ponds etc where organic debris accumulate. The organic matter along shorelines is some supercharged/ninja stuff in a high aerobic environment as far as bacteria and fungus colony goes. Collect some mulm in a brine shrimp net or coffee filter to strain it out, set on paper towel to pull water away.
Then if your still setting up tank just put good portion of it in a 16oz coke bottle and a strew it about gravel bed and then let let gravel bed set there for around 36hrs damp, partially cover top with plastic, treat it like you were dry starting moss etc. if you do see mold go ahead slowly fill tank.
If your tank is already filled just grab little nickel or quarter sized pieces of that strained mulm and set them out in a Tupperware dish, lid with couple vent holes in it, same time frame about 36hrs, don’t let them go completely dry or start to mold. Then take one of those damp gelatinous damp mulm coins, set one about every 8” of gravel surface area and sprinkle a little gravel on top to hold it down. They’ll swell back up and settle in about 5hrs, boom, gravel bed super seeded. You’ll easily be 2wks ahead on your cycling.
It’s really one of most amazing things I’ve ever seen in 35+ yrs of doing aquarium. Even with huge amounts of mulm I put in that little tank, ammonia never showed, nitrite did a little 2day slight spike and then straight to constant 10ppm nitrate and those 2 simple plants took off like a rocket, all I did was half strength dose of thrive and put it on a 12hr ramped light cycle, 4hrs at 45% at morn, 4hrs at 85% for midday and 4hrs at 35% for afternoon cycles. It’s a cheap ass $30 Nicrew rgb led with a $17 even cheaper multistage ramp timer and a Aquaclear20 for filter. It’s performing way beyond my expectations in this price range.
I guess my my whole point here is you seem in touch with your tank and it’s needs. A lot of aquarist can’t correlate a simple thing like over here plants look semi-healthy, algae not overblown on right end of tank compared to left end where plants struggle and algae rears it’s ugly head profusely to a simple water circulation/substrate nutrient saturation problem. Quit reading your damn test kits and look at your damn tank and it’s flora and fauna. They will tell you what’s needing improvement.
Massive “Shock and Awe” water changes at 50%, I’ve never changed more than 25% of my water in any tank I’ve ever owned in 35+yrs except in dire emergencies, and those were never one of my tanks,...salt, reef, freshwater or planted. Always someone else f’ up.
5-6 hr light cycles, WTH, Mother Nature has never supplied any plant growing on the face of this earth in tropic or sub-tropic latitudes, which are the areas most of the plants used in our aquarium trade come from, with anything less than a 9hr light cycle. Kansas City, my latitude here in KS, shortest day of year 9+hrs.
With these new multi stage ramp up/adjustable intensity led fixtures if you can’t supply your plants with a light cycle that can replicate lighting that these plants have spent 100,000’s if not millions of years adapting to as norm, by all means continue on with your 5-6hr artic circle light cycle at 125% intensity, your a idiot.
In my day of 90’s-2000’s you had to to use multiple timers and staging of t8, t5 and power compacts to do a natural daylight cycle. These days it’s grab a remote or load up a web app, ramp up cycle to full intensity, boom, done. Obviously from what I’ve observed here in this forum most people are too lazy and/or think it doesn’t matter, sorry your wrong, you can’t undo millions of years of evolution and preferences a plant or fish prefers at the click of a button. Mimic what Mother Nature has been providing them as closely as you can.
Want a real eye opener, it’s almost 3.5hrs after sunrise before real deep penetration of light into water layer begins, before that time most of light is reflected off water surface and back up into atmosphere, it’s actually dim light before that point. This is what natural daylight transmitted through water looks like dawn to noon, reverse it for noon to sunset cycle. This is lighting/ramp up cycle your plants are evolved to do, pearling only happens in the most optimal water conditions between about 11-1pm. If your worrying that your plants aren’t pearling for 5-6hrs straight you really don’t understand natural lighting cycles.
Don’t even get me started on the Dump And Run Blitzkrieg dosing routines and circulation in tanks of most people I see in this forum having problems with. The #1 problem with those tanks are the the people who are running them.
From posters in this thread @ced281
gets it, he/she gets that it’s about providing a stable natural environment for your organism to thrive in, not rapid environment swings to optimal levels, even if environment your starting at maybe be a bit sub-optimal, slowly heading towards a better setup is better than a rapid correction in either direction. Slow and steady always wins this race.