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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
During a recent total overhaul of my tank due to algae problems, i found a ton of mulm.

How do you clean a planted tank if you have plants covering most of the substrate? I know how to gravel-vac, but how do you plant-vac if you cant even see anything with all the plants?

This is a crucial question for my algae problems.

thanks!

Planteater
 

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sometimes i'll take my koralia nano power head, detach it and stick it in the plants to blow the mulm and debris out of the plants and off the substrate, immediately followed by a large water change.
 

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Not the easiest thing to do.
After trimming, wiping down the glass etc I 'fluff' the bushy plants by hand then chase the mum with tygon tubing doing the WC..
 

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If the gravel vac won't fit in between plants, I take the fat part off and just use the hose part, holding it above the gravel. I keep my thumb near the tip to plug it up if the shrimp or guppies get to close. Even when I use the gravel vac, I don't stick it into the gravel. Mulm in the gravel is plant food in my opinion.
 

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I have this problem also, since I don't have a lot of flow in my tank right now due to some equipment failures, and I'm waiting for replacements. I also keep my flow fairly low normally because lots of current annoys my angelfish and they'll just hide in a corner until I turn it off.

I use tubing to suck up what I can get to, holding it a bit above the substrate, since my substrate has a lot of sand and tiny gravel bits in it. I also use a dowel rod or something similar to reach into plant-filled areas or places I can't reach and very gently stir up the trash on the bottom so I can suck it up with the gravel vacuum. But my usual rule is that if I can't see the trash, I leave it alone. It's plant food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks! those are good ideas. i have a small koralia and never thought to use it like leaf blower.

do any of you use those battery powered suction thingies? I bought a cheap one once and it would have been better to light my money on fire, at least it would be entertaining. but i never tried a high end one like eheim's. it would be easier than hooking up the syphon and i would be more likely to do little dustings before things get bad. but that's only if it works.

any experience?
 

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I get the flow started in the gravel vac then kind of push it down amongst the plants, fairly roughly sometimes, and wiggle it around to stir things up. I bounce it up and down and side to side. All the stuff stirred up then just goes right into the vac.
 
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