Damaging my Substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Damaging my Substrate?

Hello friends,

Since my 9 discus in my 95 gallon planted tank have grown to over 6" each and with my cory cleaning crew and a few golden rams, there is a lot of bio going into the substrate (100% Eco-Complete). I normally don't clean the substrate only the surface because of disturbing the balance of the substrate (ammonia spkies) and plants but I feel I need to do a deep clean soon. Will this kill my fish?

95 Gallon Discus/Planted Tank
30 Gallon Planted Tank
50 Gallon Reef

Thank you!

DiscusLoverJeff
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:56 PM
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Do you mean gravel vac'in the top of the substrate? If you have a lot of stem plants they'll already be "cleaning" the deeper sections of the substrate by removing dead spots, so you really just need to clean the top if you want to. I don't see an issue by doing that.

Fish Shrimp tanks are like cups of coffee, one is never enough.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Since I have thinned out my plants to about half of what I had due to reconfiguring my design, I did a few weeks of deep cleaning the substrate. the next thing I knew my cories and a few neon tetras had died. I did not think to check the ammonia level. The substrate was really dirty due to the feeding of the discus. I was just curious if I was damaging the biological system going on in the substrate?

95 Gallon Discus/Planted Tank
30 Gallon Planted Tank
50 Gallon Reef

Thank you!

DiscusLoverJeff
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 05:22 PM
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You probably released some type of bacteria that was in the substrate with deep cleaning. Did the tank water get murky near the area you were vac'in?

Fish Shrimp tanks are like cups of coffee, one is never enough.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, lots of "dirt" came up, but I felt that was bad thats why I deep cleaned the entire tank.

Although my water quality is good (ph 6.4, tds 100/120, kh 1 or 2, gh 5, nitrate/nitrite 0, ammonia 0, temp 85), I feel that with the size of the fish and all the feeding that discus need, my substrate must be loaded with waste.

95 Gallon Discus/Planted Tank
30 Gallon Planted Tank
50 Gallon Reef

Thank you!

DiscusLoverJeff
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 08:19 PM
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I would suggest if you decided to clean like that only do small parches 1 or 2Xs a week. Alloww you system to catch up to the cleaning.I think I'd skip feeding those days too.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-04-2012, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiscusLoverJeff View Post
Yes, lots of "dirt" came up, but I felt that was bad thats why I deep cleaned the entire tank.

Although my water quality is good (ph 6.4, tds 100/120, kh 1 or 2, gh 5, nitrate/nitrite 0, ammonia 0, temp 85), I feel that with the size of the fish and all the feeding that discus need, my substrate must be loaded with waste.
Deep cleaning removes all the good stuff you put there plus all the good stuff -aka mulm- that has accumulated since then to grow plants. Leave the deep substrate alone. When you do vacuum to remove mulm just do a very slight depth vacuuming for appearance.

Think of a natural body of water like a pond for example. All of the plants that die and all of the other critters that eat the plants and each other all create waste that's reduced by bacteria to the elements used for further growth by plants. After awhile you'll create a nutrient rich substrate naturally.
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