Cleaning substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2008, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Cleaning substrate?

Ok this is kind of a silly question, but once a tank is heavily planted, how does one clean the substrate/gravel? I gravel vac my tank weekly and was wondering how I would go about getting all the "crud" off the bottom of the tank floor without disturbing the root systems!?

ANY advice would be golden!? Thanks, and sorry again if this is a random silly question :P


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2008, 11:38 PM
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What I find is that after several months, maybe 6 months to a year or so, the my plants seems to really take off if I pull up say the front half of the tank and really do a real good vacuum job and then replant. This gives me a chance to get rid of all the old decaying roots and other debris, trim the roots a little and clean out the toxins that has built up over time down deep. After 6 to 12 months then do the rear half of the tank.
Just monitor your ammonia etc for a week or two.
I do not get concerned about stirring things up a bit because after the water change, everything seems to settle down real good.
Don't over clean your filter, just a quick rinse of the sponges in removed tank water.
This is also a good time to do a real good trim of old leaves and leave stems that have been cut earlier, splitting bunched plants, etc.
Also, this is the only time that I do vacuum because I have to many plants. I just use a turkey baster about twice a week to blow debris up to allow the filter to suck it up or me to remove with a net.

I hope is helps

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 04:48 AM
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Yep - turkey baster. I cut the tip off mine, so the blast is not quite so ... um ... what's a good word ... directional? sharp?

I find that I tear up my 'scape every so often and re-do it - that's always a good time for a more thorough cleaning of the substrate as Joetee suggests.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 04:56 AM
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Why even bother? There is all the good stuff in the gravel that the plants will feed off of. I say leave it.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 01:49 PM
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Agreed, leave the good stuff for the plants. I would think you are losing more good than bad by disturbing the substrate that much. I just do a light skim with the gravel vac to pick up the dead leaves and most of the fish poo. My tank is heavily planted so it's a little tricky but I can deal with it.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a bunch for the good info guys! My problem with the tank is that my substrate is covered with algae by the end of the week, so when i gravel vac, it cleans it all off. So how do i deal with the algae for months on end before I do a cleaning??

tank specs:
46 bowfronted
78F in temp
water param's are low
feed NLS every 2-3 days
lights are on for over 10 hours/day (I know this is horrible, but my family keeps turning them back on when I turn them off early at night etc!)


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 10:55 PM
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nerite snails?



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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2008, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I've thought of those...they're hard to get around here so i'd have to order them, and that always makes me nervous. Any good canadian sites to order from that you know of??


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2008, 04:18 AM
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nerite snails?
I would think MTS would be better as they dig.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-11-2008, 04:40 AM
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Yeah I've thought of those...they're hard to get around here so i'd have to order them, and that always makes me nervous. Any good canadian sites to order from that you know of??
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 06:01 AM
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I use MTS
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 05:15 PM
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What are MTS snails? Could you please give more info on them... Thanks
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 05:17 PM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/se...earchquery=MTS

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