Vacuuming gravel - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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Vacuuming gravel


I have a newly planted tank (28 gal) with 9 fishes. Today while I was at work, my 4-yr old son was playing around and put too much flake food into the tank. My wife scooped out as much as she could, but some of it settled onto the gravel.

Do I need to vacuum the gravel or will the food be converted to fertilizer for the plants? The reason Iím asking is because the tank is new, and my plants are not firmly rooted yet. Sometimes I still see floaters. Vacuuming the gravel will surely uproot a lot of my carpet plants. The gravel is very loose, and I had hell of a time getting plants to stay down during the first 2 weeks. The tank is now a month old.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 09:12 AM
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Yes, vacuum out as much as possible. All that "stuff" may lead to an ammonia spike causing algae. If your tank was a bit more mature, the filter might be able to handle it. Since it's a newer tank, all this excess stuff might not be able to be converted into usable nitrates in time before algae gets a hold.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 03:27 PM
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Be as gentle as possible and don't worry about 'deep vacuuming' - just skim the surface. If a little is left it should be okay. If you got some shrimps in there you wouldn't have to worry about a little extra, since the shrimps would eat it (obviously that doesn't help now, but it would help in the future).

Joy to the fishes!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 04:38 PM
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A lot will depend on several things you have not told us. Was the tank cycled before fish were added so that there is a healthy bunch of the bacteria already active? How many and what size fish will be a major factor also. If the bacteria was not truly ready you may have been about due to have a major problem with ammonia and now the excess food will be worse. Only testing will really tell you what is happening there. Test kits will pay for themselves. I would suggest getting as much of the food out as you can. Try stirring it with a sweeping motion to get it up as you vac. I find an algae scraping tool with a flat end makes a pretty useful sweep to make gentle underwater waves.
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