I need tips on vacuuming sandy substrate. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2008, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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I need tips on vacuuming sandy substrate.

I'm new to plants, and aquariums in general. How do you guys vacuum sandy substrate without disturbing your plants?

I've been lightly hovering my vacuum over the sandy parts (50/50 mix of sand and fluorite), trying not to uproot anything by stirring everything up. But its not working out well. We've been battling pea soup water for 2-3 weeks now, and thought it would be best to take our the plants for a bit, and do a violent (for lack of a better word) substrate vacuuming. Wow, what a difference. The water in the bucket was black/gray, and not florescent green now! Yuck!

So, how can I do a better job vacuuming, without upsetting my plants, or getting the siphon clogged up every 3 minutes? Am I being too cautious? (I also have a few fish, if that makes a difference)
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2008, 11:51 PM
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Im not sue how big of volume area you need to vacume or how much junk but in the tight places a turkey baster works. Not the fastest way or method but you can controll how much you suck. lol sorry the last line sounded kinda funny after i read it. If you happen to learn a better faster way let me know! Goodluck.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2008, 03:28 AM
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Dont know if this is what your looking for, but a valve on the vacuum hose to control flow rate might help...... or any type of restriction for that matter.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2008, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plastic Plant Botanist View Post
Dont know if this is what your looking for, but a valve on the vacuum hose to control flow rate might help...... or any type of restriction for that matter.
I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. I just have a nagging suspicion that I'm doing it wrong, and that there is a better way.

But thanks for all the suggestions.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2008, 06:29 AM
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First off, when I vacuum my substrate I want to let the end of the vacuum suck up the subsrtate and gently loosen up the bottom layers and push the tube further. Instead of shoving the tube straight into the substrate. I also hold the end of the tube in the bucket so I can stop vacuuming and lift the tube out of the substrate and let all the cleaned substrate fall back down and quickly vacuum out the gunk. I hope I wrote this out the best I can. If you are confused, I will try and write in a clear concise matter. Sorry.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2008, 09:32 AM
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I use a long length of small diameter airline tubing. I just hold it slightly above the sand.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-15-2008, 11:37 PM
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Use a smaller gravel vac. I use a medium sized gravel vac in my sand tanks (say size two out of four sizes) and it does a great job. If I use my larger sized one, I find that I start to remove sand into the bucket and knock freshly placed plants loose.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-16-2008, 05:23 AM
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Sometimes what I do, is instead of inserting the gravel vac into the sand, I just make circular or back-and-forth motions with the vacuum to stir up anything sitting on the surface.
I use Aquasoil and do it this way, but I've done this with 100% sand as well (my old cichlid tank) and it worked fine. You may lose a tiny bit of sand each time, but you should be able to take it from the bucket or sink and put most of it back in the tank...plus, sand is cheap.

However, I really don't vacuum that often. Only when there's noticable debris (once every couple months or so). Other than that, if you keep a well balanced tank and have enough of the proper bottom feeders (and don't overfeed), there shouldn't really be much, or any, to vacuum.


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