Cleaning? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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This will be the first of many posts from me, I apologize in advance and will get to my question after a brief "here is where I am coming from"...

So I am making the leap from a basic tank setup of say a handful of fish and a few plants(platic, real), big gravel size to a honest to goodness planted tank like you all have created here.

It's a 75g tank, I have read and read and read about substrate, water conditions, plants and so on and I think I have most of the concepts down with the exception of CO2 which I will work on and probably post about later.

So it looks like I am going the Eco-Complete route for substrate and I have a plan for the plants and I estimate that I will have between 15-30 fish(neons, killifish... along those lines, nothing big).

Since I have raised mostly goldfish for 90% of the time over the past 20 years and they are filthy buggers I have a Magnum 350 filter I will use and I also have another side filter I can add as well. I have always used my Cobra\Aqueon hose system to suction the gravel and do water changes which leads to my question(finally!).

How do you clean a planted tank? To me it seems like using the Aqueon will pull up the substrate and make a mess and then what about all the nooks and crannies a planted tank will have?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 05:33 PM
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Most folks with planted tanks only skim the substrate surface to pick up the topmost debris--many don't do even that much.

Decaying matter in a planted tank is what breaks down to feed the plants--you WANT mulm to build up in your substrate, just as you'd want organics to build up in your garden soil outside. Only if they become a detriment do you need to worry about clearing the excess. Filters and cannisters are typically cleaned far less often as well.

You've probably run across mentions of "clean up crews" and though they take a great many different forms, it's basically having in your stock the critters that will enhance the cleanliness and natural progression of decay in your tanks. My tanks lean heavily toward snails (MTS, pond/bladder, ramshorn and nerites), shrimp (ghost, cherry, amano), cories (because I love the silly things and they're tops at hunting thru the underbrush for food the tetras miss) and BN plecos.

If you've got "dead" spots in your tank that build up debris the ideal is to adjust your water flow (or hardscape or plantings) to get movement thru the area.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, great! Thanks Knot. I do have a good sized pleco who I will be using and plan on adding some Cories as well but shrimps and snails might be a interesting add as well, I will have to look into them.

There is a guy in YouTube that mentioned that the waste the fish generate was a good thing for the plants which makes sense, I think I am just used to the amount created by the goldfish thus the concern.

Thanks, I appreciate the information.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 06:28 PM
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If you are worried about it and feel the need to vacuum, I would suggest a small syphon into a 5 gal bucket. This will allow you to get around things and be a bit more precise on what you are aiming for. It also wont create a huge suction to disturb much. I personally do not vacuum to clean just do my normal wc.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 06:41 PM
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I know this wasn't the topic of your post, but a few notes on the planned fish for your tank. 1st, depending on the type of Killi, they might not mix too well with neons. I've seen killis first hand chasing down neons as a meal. Also, what type of pleco do you have? Common plecos aren't the best option in a planted tank since they get so big and can possibly eat your plants as well.
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