Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
Usually when a tank is fairly new, there isn't a big fish or bio-load in the first place (cycling and all that), and this is a good time for your plants to get well rooted and established.
This being said, I do feel there is a difference between a fish tank that has plants, and a planted tank that has fish.
In all my planted tanks, I hardly ever vacuum the substrate. I feel it can disturb and possibly harm some of the plants/roots, especially if they are a more sensitive plant in texture and character.
If you have a higher plant load than fish load, and keep an eye on parameters, I find that over time, the tank becomes a natural ecosystem.
For me, all I do is trim the plants and replant the tops if I can/need/want too, and wipe off the algae from the glass if there is any, or if the otto's aren't doing a good enough job. After that, I do either a water change or a top off.
To constantly vacuum your tank I would find a little excessive. If you are noticing that there is more mulm on the surface than what your tank can break down naturally, before a water change, stir it up a bit so the filter catches it and then siphon out the water like you normally would.
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"You think you have tomorrow, but when tomorrow comes it's not tomorrow; it's now- and that's all you have" - Marc Johnson
Ehei-Pimpfen 276 yo!