OK to not vacuum substrate?? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Darien, CT
Posts: 85
OK to not vacuum substrate??

Hi. I have two ten gallon tanks with eco-complete. Years ago when I had goldfish and gravel, I was told that it was important to keep the gravel vacuumed so that there wouldn't be a build-up of toxic gasses that could be released. I don't have to tell you that between the plants and the eco-complete, the substrate vacuuming isn't working too well. From searching here, it seems that I don't actually have to vacuum the substrate. If I don't, is there any danger when I decide to move a plant, for example, of toxic gasses being released?

I have also gathered that one way to be sure the substrate gets mixed up is to get MTS. They seem to get out of control, however, and I have some nerites that I am rather fond of, so I wouldn't want to introduce assassin snails to deal with an over population of MTS

So, nothing to worry about if I don't vacuum the substrate? Suggestions for ways to deal with it if would be a problem?

Thank you,
Leah
Leah is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 08:45 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
BBradbury's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Greeley, CO
Posts: 1,945
Vacuuming Planted Tanks

Hello Leah...

If you have planted tanks, you don't want to vacuum up the nutrients and potentially damage plant roots. However, small, planted tanks will require frequent water changes to keep the water pure enough for fish and the plants, but don't push the syphon into the substrate too far.

I leave a small area open in one corner of each of my tanks just large enough to accomodate the vacuum and then remove about half the old water and replace it with new, treated water of roughly the same temperature.

B

"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
BBradbury is offline  
post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 09:00 PM
Algae Grower
 
Misfit's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Apache Junction, AZ
Posts: 29
In my 72 gallon I have six or so assassin snails and ten nerites. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but my assassins have never shown any interest in the nerites. I've seen them bump into each other on the glass, and just keep going by. I assume there are plenty of smaller pond snails and MTS for the assassins to eat, so that may be why. Just figured I'd throw it out there since they seem to be the best way to rid your tank of pest snails (IMO).
Misfit is offline  
 
post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 09:12 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Kathyy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (35/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 4,203
I find my tank has a lower load of algae if I vacuum the substrate. That doesn't mean I stick the siphon down into the substrate and disturb plants. I hold it just over the surface and wait, a lot of fish poop and bits of leaves and snail shells float up. I can squish some plants like hairgrass and Rotala a little but that breaks some plants like Staurogyne and uproots some, like Marsilea. This gets out some organic matter but certainly not all.

The toxic gas is hydrogen sulfide and forms if the substrate goes anaerobic due to depth of substrate [critical depth depends on the grain size] and organic matter. Healthy plant roots are supposed to oxygenate the substrate. I see loads of bubbles in my substrate, both at the glass and coming up during the lighting period. They seem to be oxygen bubbles and certainly don't smell like swamp gas or rotten eggs.

My tank was set up for 10 years and when I moved the dirty substrate to another tank there was no smell and only dark brown rich looking fresh earth smelling mulm in the substrate. In that 10 years I did go completely through the substrate at least once but probably not more then 3-5 times.
Kathyy is offline  
post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Darien, CT
Posts: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello Leah...

If you have planted tanks, you don't want to vacuum up the nutrients and potentially damage plant roots. However, small, planted tanks will require frequent water changes to keep the water pure enough for fish and the plants, but don't push the syphon into the substrate too far.

I leave a small area open in one corner of each of my tanks just large enough to accomodate the vacuum and then remove about half the old water and replace it with new, treated water of roughly the same temperature.

B
Thank you for the information. What size tanks do you have? I remove 50% of the 2.5g tank once a week, but only about 30% of the 10g ones. Ammonia and nitrite always test 0. Nitrates do as well, actually, as they are fairly heavily planted. All the same would it be safer to take 50% out of the 10g tanks as well?

Thanks,
Leah
Leah is offline  
post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Darien, CT
Posts: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misfit View Post
In my 72 gallon I have six or so assassin snails and ten nerites. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but my assassins have never shown any interest in the nerites. I've seen them bump into each other on the glass, and just keep going by. I assume there are plenty of smaller pond snails and MTS for the assassins to eat, so that may be why. Just figured I'd throw it out there since they seem to be the best way to rid your tank of pest snails (IMO).
Good to know. At the moment, I don't have any MTS and not enough pond snails to worry about, I know that could change!

Thanks
Leah is offline  
post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Darien, CT
Posts: 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
I find my tank has a lower load of algae if I vacuum the substrate. That doesn't mean I stick the siphon down into the substrate and disturb plants. I hold it just over the surface and wait, a lot of fish poop and bits of leaves and snail shells float up. I can squish some plants like hairgrass and Rotala a little but that breaks some plants like Staurogyne and uproots some, like Marsilea. This gets out some organic matter but certainly not all.

The toxic gas is hydrogen sulfide and forms if the substrate goes anaerobic due to depth of substrate [critical depth depends on the grain size] and organic matter. Healthy plant roots are supposed to oxygenate the substrate. I see loads of bubbles in my substrate, both at the glass and coming up during the lighting period. They seem to be oxygen bubbles and certainly don't smell like swamp gas or rotten eggs.

My tank was set up for 10 years and when I moved the dirty substrate to another tank there was no smell and only dark brown rich looking fresh earth smelling mulm in the substrate. In that 10 years I did go completely through the substrate at least once but probably not more then 3-5 times.
Ah, thank you for the information. The nerites would probably appreciate a bit MORE algae, so I'll experiment and see how much I need to do to get a good balance.

Leah
Leah is offline  
post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2011, 11:46 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: DC area
Posts: 3,056
Nerites will eat fish food too so no worry about having enough algae for them.
wendyjo is offline  
post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-08-2011, 12:35 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: NJ
Posts: 1,458
Swirl

I swirl my siphon in tiny circles across substrate surface, mini tornado style, and don't let it hit planted substrate.

Ditto on the nerite snails, I have tiger nerites
AirstoND is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome