how do you guys keep your planted tank clean - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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how do you guys keep your planted tank clean

i have a moderately planted tank. when i first added co2 i slowed down the filter so to avoid losing co2. foward that a few weeks and there was stuff floating all over the tank. now, there is bunch of little things floating still. about a month later. i did increase the filter to full power and it seems that the filter is picking stuff up but it still looks dirty. its a hob tetra wisper 60. it always kept my 30g long tank clean. i cant clean the gravel, or at least i think, becasue of the roots of the plants.i know the gravel is filthy bc any time i clean or replant something or move the gravel a bit or even when a fish tries to eat something and digs a little you see all the filth floating up. how do i clean this. how do you guys clean your tanks. some pictures, not sure if you can see all the stuff floating around.
thank you guys for your help.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 05:16 AM
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I just do water changes... Kinda do a little swirl right above the gravel to lift some dirt particles to suck it up too. I will normally do that when I trim.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
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doesnt seem that my waterchanges are helping much. did one large 40-50% water change and followed by 4(twice a week) water changes (around 20-25%, 5gal) still looks the same
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 09:23 AM
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I do not see any reason for alarm. Your tank does not not look dirty. I personally like dirty tanks and clean mine very little. Just the front glass and the filter media after showing signs of limited flow. But I am into the El Natural tanks, which requires an entire different approach to tank setup and maintenance. Not for everybody.

If you want your tank to be sparkling pristine clean, you are going to have to step things up and not allow organic matter to dissolve in your tank like you are doing in the first photo by letting that leaf decompose on the filter input.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 02:50 PM
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What I see is a shortage of mechanical filtering combined with what I might call an "attitude problem". Not meant to be a putdown on the attitude! When I changed from fish only to planted, I had the same question for a while. How to clean the darn gravel? As time went on and I read more about the things people use for substrate, like dirt, I decided it might be my " attitude". Fish only folks are nervous as we are told we have to get every bit of debris out that we can or it will turn into nitrate. At some point it began to hit me that the plants need nitrate so why am I fighting to suck things out and adding nitrate back. We each have our level we tolerate on different points. I find I am willing to leave far more debis on the floor and not add nitrate. I don't need to clean, just carefully adjust my attitude on what is good/ not good.

I do like the water clear so I would add more mechanical filtering and not stir the bottom.
Stirring the bottom is part of the fish only training that is not correct. Folks with dirt bottoms do not stir to remove the dirt and it works fine.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 02:58 PM
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 03:09 PM
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My plants have grown in enough I cant clean the gravel or stir it up any more , I was having the same issue as you and it turned out to be filtration the polishing pad was getting dirty changed it 2 times in 1 month

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 03:24 PM
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i have a small family elves. i freed them from santa's slave shop and they happily spend their days picking particles off the substrate of my fish tanks.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic Delight View Post
i have a small family elves. i freed them from santa's slave shop and they happily spend their days picking particles off the substrate of my fish tanks.

So that was you in the news?! Now we have to pay more for Santa to deliver because they were left short handed at the shop. What do you feed them? 😄


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 04:00 PM
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I clean my gravel anyway! It doesn't seem to hurt the plants. I keep Discus and so I overfeed a bit, the mulm is great for the plants but every 2 months or so I make sure to siphon the gravel just so it doesn't get ridiculous.

My other tank where I just keep little fish I haven't cleaned the bottom in 2 years.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 04:50 PM
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I do water change twice a week 25% and 50% also but I prefer to look at the tank from few feet away, look closely and you'll see all the dead leaves and stuff on the gravel, plus algae. I guess it's normal in a planted tank.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 07:25 PM
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Some "mulm" is beneficial in a planted tank. Especially when you have an inert gravel substrate, it becomes the main source of root nutrients.

And it's also normal to get a cloud of it when you uproot a plant.

You have too much when:

1) It starts piling up to the point where it's hard to see the substrate in some areas.
2) You have an unbroken layer of it just beneath the substrate, as viewed from the front of the tank, which prevents water flow to the substrate beneath it.
3) After uprooting a plant or two, you have to stop rescaping because you can no longer see.

Then you can and should gravel vac. Plus take measures to prevent it from happening again.

Raise the water level so it doesn't have so far to fall from the HOB. Then you can turn up the flow. You may be surprised how little CO2 you lose.

I find corydoras catfish useful in some tanks. They spend a good portion of each day stirring up surface mulm, so the filter can remove it.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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thank you all for the imput. i guess i assumed that a filter rated for 60g would be enough on a 30g tank. i like to leave some stuff to decompose in the tank to have more nitrates for the plants because at one point the nitrate level went down to almost 0ppm.i even overfeed on purpose for this reason, although i dont think nitrate should be a problem now since i added more fish since then and a colony of rcs. it is not that it is extremely bad, i just figured that it might bother the fish, and also figured it might be stopping some light from getting to the plants. but i guess i am overreacting a bit.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 10:53 AM
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Give the colony of RCSs time. They will reduce the amount of surface mulm in no time. Like you, I used to do gravel vacs before going planted and the 20L buckets would be black. I poured them onto potted plants for nutrients. Anyhow, when it was sparsely to moderately planted and before having RCSs, I used a piece of 8mm airhose to gently syphon surface mulm, being careful not to suck up gravel etc. Now that it is fairly heavily planted and I have baby RCSs everywhere, I no longer syphon the surface. the RCSs and Caridina Typus (Australian Amano shrimp) keep the surface clean. One other thing you

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 10:03 AM
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I use a Diatom filter every other week, it has a good gpm so you can use the output without the strainer to blow stuff around until it makes it into the filter
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