to vacuum or not to vacuum - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-16-2004, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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if you have a heavily planted tank, what would happen if you didnt vacuum the substrate but just performed regular water changes? would the bacteria break down all of the bi-products of the waste? dont the plants use the waste too? i have four adult angels, 4 red eye tetras, three clown loaches and two cory cats in a 29g. oh i also have a buch of malayan needle-point snails that burrow into the substrate(2 inches of gravel with one inch of sand on top.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-16-2004, 07:56 PM
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I don't "vacuum" like you would a nonplanted tank. I just kind of run the hose over the sand far enough above to pick up any plant matter but not the sand. The only time the substrate gets disturbed is from the snails and me uprooting plants.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-16-2004, 11:35 PM
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What about all the fish poop and whatnot?

My tank is pretty heavily planted and i also have a healthy population of fish. They poop like crazy!

It's near impossible to vacuum every inch of the tank Mine gets especially thick in the back...but thankfully the surface is no visible from the front.

How do you guys clean the gravel in heavily planted tanks? Will the plants, once they get well established, help break down those wastes?

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2004, 01:44 AM
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fish poop is plant fertilizer. As long as your nitrates and phosphates are within the generally accepted parameters for a planted tank leave it.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2004, 02:42 PM
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When it gets to be to much you will see algae growing on the gravel. When that starts to happen I pull all the plants in the area up and vacuum the area and then replant. The roots of the plants pull most of the crud into the gravel. Oxygen bubbles that come out of the roots pull water from the water column into the substrate.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2004, 02:46 PM
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I've never needed to do the extensive cleaning that IUknown mentioned, but I could see how it could become necessary if the fish waste accumulated enough to become an eyesore. Healthy plants will take up the nutrients released be the decomposition of fish waste faster than it can foul the water. Note the emphasis on "healthy". If your plants aren't growing due to some problem, then the accumulated fish waste will foul the water and harm the inhabitants.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2004, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IUnknown
When it gets to be to much you will see algae growing on the gravel. When that starts to happen I pull all the plants in the area up and vacuum the area and then replant. The roots of the plants pull most of the crud into the gravel. Oxygen bubbles that come out of the roots pull water from the water column into the substrate.

Whoa....that must be theraputic. That'd drive me crazy if I had to do that. I have to access my tank via a ladder. I just imagine that taking forever. How often do you do that anyway?

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You don't need to vacuum your tank substrate. That waste creates what is called a mulm. which is great for plants.

You have to be careful of stagnant water though. If there are sections of your substrate that don't show any signs of water movement, then that waste could be a problem and the nasty BGA will appear.

Anwyay, no need to vacuum. Unless you've got white substrate!!

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2004, 05:36 PM
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I use a turkey baster to gently blast the mulm into the water column when it becomes unsightly. Other then that, I just leave the sub alone. occasionally I will poke deep into the substrate with a chopstick to assure there is no dead spots (ie anaerobic areas)
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2004, 11:01 PM
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The only thing I would be concerned about is if you have cories (who are pretty vulnerable to higher than normal nitrates, being that they live on the gravel surface). Keep a CLOSE watch on your nitrate levels. If they go above whatever the safest level is, start vacuuming!
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 02:19 PM
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If they go above whatever the safest level is, start vacuuming!
I'd just do a water change but dat's me.

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 02:56 PM
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Sorry, yeah not that often. Just once in the last year. Plants haven't been growing that great recently so that was another reason I needed to.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 05:18 PM
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hey greg....you got an update on your website?? i frequent it as i love to look over your journal, but would love updates =D

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 05:57 PM
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Who's Greg? I want to see pictures!!

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 06:06 PM
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Journal Database under IUnknown..lol

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2004, 06:10 PM
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accrylics are good looking

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