Substrate Maintainence. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2007, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate Maintainence.

So I use to be a non-planted tank gravel guy. Every few weeks I'd vaccum the gravel as part of my regular maintainence. Now that I've had my tank set up for a while and Eco-Complete as my substrate, how do I maintain it??? Do I need to vaccum it occasionally? Is it okay to disrupt the substrate?? Also, how does one avoid toxic air pocket build-up??? Can anyone please shine some light on this subject for me?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-13-2007, 05:33 PM
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I don't think eco can build the anerobic gas pockets like sand does.

I use my python for all my tanks and gravel vac the ones with gravel but with my sand or planted tanks I tank the gravel tube off and just vacuum right over the substrate/foreground to "lift" all the poop/debris. You could use a wooden skewer to poke the substrate if you are really worried about it but I just leave mine as is.

I also believe that the roots will keep it from building anerobic pockets if even possible with eco. With my sand tanks I just stir it around by hand while vacuuming.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2007, 07:04 AM
 
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hey eklikewhoa, how deep is your sand bed in your sand tanks? i recently cleaned up my turtle's "sand pit" and stank like f*k'n crazy. i don't know if it was the live blackworms living in it or anaerobic gas (if even possible in a half inch deep sand bed), but it was one of those smells that make you think twice about what you're doing.

but in regards to the eco maintenance, i was wondering the same thing actually since i don't see anyone with a planted tank stirring up their substrate.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2007, 02:55 PM
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The sand bed was about 2" and at first I would poke at it to keep it aerated but that got old fast and I let it go for about half a year and when I decided to change substrate I witnessed the same thing!

I recently stirred up some flora base that was in my nano set up the same time as the sand tank and there was no smell at all! I pulled all the plants out to rescape and other a bit of cloudiness there was no anerobic pockets that came about.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-14-2007, 08:02 PM
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I have flora base mixed with Eco complete. I'm about to ditch the mess after two years. It's about three inches deep.

I too was having to stir it a bit to keep it from going anaerobic. As for vacuum just keep the dead plant matter out and in the process you'll pick up some mulm. But don't go jamming it into Eco cause you'll be taking out alot of the fine particles.

I just want a fresh start. This was my first High Tech setup. All my other planted attempts were gravel based, never worked real well. Except for Crypts.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-22-2007, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by eklikewhoa View Post
I also believe that the roots will keep it from building anerobic pockets if even possible with eco. With my sand tanks I just stir it around by hand while vacuuming.
Is this true. I have tons of MTS and lots of plants. WIll that prevent the pockets??

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2007, 01:40 AM
 
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i was wondering his too...i have a planted tank with eco-complete, and was thinking of lightly gravel vacuuming just the top around the plants to get rid of the surface crud from the fish. would this be a good idea, and not to disturb whats down in the substrate further?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2007, 06:50 AM
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A good general rule is to up root and replant a 1/4-1/3 section of the tank each time over 3-4 weeks to get it all(do not vacuum the entire substrate all at once, this is too disruptive) and deep vacuum the entire substrate once a year.

You will see improved clarity, better plant health and fish health, and higher O2 levels. Folks that uproot their plants and then replant the tops only often have little detritus build up, the pruning removes the dirt.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2007, 11:30 AM
 
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cool...also, when i do this, would it hurt to trim back some of the roots so its easier to replant(like terrestrial plants), for example my red melon sword. i know it has to have massive roots by now, it did when i planted it, shouldn't hurt to trim back, right?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2007, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
A good general rule is to up root and replant a 1/4-1/3 section of the tank each time over 3-4 weeks to get it all(do not vacuum the entire substrate all at once, this is too disruptive) and deep vacuum the entire substrate once a year.
Could you expand on this more please.

Also my plants in my sand tank now have all the roots under the sand but the edit: RUNNERS (brain woke up)(sorry its too early and my brain isnt working yet) part that connects them all together is above the sand all through out the tank. Do i need to cover the connection(dang I know what its called too and cant remember ) Thanks for the help

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Last edited by kunerd; 03-23-2007 at 01:50 PM. Reason: typo
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2007, 05:05 PM
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Uproot plants, deep vacuum area, replant.
Do so in 1/4 to 1/3 sections each week till you have done the entire substrate.
Do so once a year or there abouts.

Where's the confusion?
Roots, leaves, trim it all back as needed.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-23-2007, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
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deep vacuum the entire substrate once a year.
Sorry deleted what i was asking. THe deep vacum whats that

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-24-2007, 01:46 AM
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Cool beans.

Do it yearly or so.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-27-2007, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
A good general rule is to up root and replant a 1/4-1/3 section of the tank each time over 3-4 weeks to get it all(do not vacuum the entire substrate all at once, this is too disruptive) and deep vacuum the entire substrate once a year.

You will see improved clarity, better plant health and fish health, and higher O2 levels. Folks that uproot their plants and then replant the tops only often have little detritus build up, the pruning removes the dirt.

Regards,
Tom Barr
I wasn't quite sure what you meant either. Since it says "and" deep vacuum. Is this 2 seperate actions done at different times of the year?

Quote:
Folks that uproot their plants and then replant the tops only often have little detritus build up, the pruning removes the dirt.
Are you saying this is the method you are suggesting? Not sure what tops only is.

The pruning removes the dirt in the sense that the plants use the mulm to grow and we are removing that waste product through our trimmings?
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