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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a well-planted 10g (with AquaClear 30 on minimum). I just moved a piece of wood in the back and planted a few plants back there. The water got full of particles, cutting down on visibility, but cleared up within a half-hour.

Suggestions, please, on how to stop detritus from collecting under the gravel, or how to get it out?

Question: Should I increase the flow in the AquaClear to prevent stuff from settling or should I add a powerhead on low at the other end?

One thing I can think of as I'm writing is cutting back on feeding - I only have 7 Pristella Tetras, but I think I can use this suggestion. I have been overfeeding for the last week or two - the food looked right in my hand...

Please give me your ideas.
 

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I lightly siphon the top layer of gravel. And I do mean lightly! It usually turns the top 1/2 inch and no more. This helps cut down on debris trapped in my carpeting plants, without uprooting them.
 

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I agree. I use python vacuum and do it gently around plants. This will help keep detrius from building up but allow plants to use what they want for nutrients.


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You are not supposed to vacuum a planted tank. A fish tank with plants yes you may. :D
This is what I thought - I was under the impression that the waste broke down to feed the plants, like compost. I suppose if there were huge build-ups from messy fish like plecos, or simply too many fish and not enough circulation to filter excess it might be different?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for replying.

I'm concerned that the detritus might cause other problems, like algae blooms. I'm using two 10 watt CFL bulbs on my 10g. I had a big struggle with a couple of kinds of algae and now I'm down to a photoperiod of 7 and can't get back to the 10 hours I used to be at. I guess that's why I'm asking.
 

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For me, an easier and more precise way to vacuum up specific spots, including pleco poop in one tank, is to use just the tube itself. Take off the plastic vacuum piece, but remember that the suction is now much stronger.
 

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Lightly vacuuming is sufficient. Detritus will settle in or be filtered out if filtration is adequate. Malaysian trumpet snails can be used to keep the gravel stirred and they allow some detritus to be released to be sucked up by the filter. Snails arent for everyone but I use them in all my tanks.

Try not to overfeed!! Number one rule of healthy fish keeping IMO, well that and other things like plants, filtration, plants, water temp, plants, and tankmate compatibilty. Oh and did I say plants? Excess food left to rot=horrible water quality. Get some snails or cory cats to eat any excess food if you have a hard time feeding the proper amount, or get them anyway because they are cool :)

Generally I light vac around the plants, heavily vac if it is a bare spot, and use rescapes as an oppurtunity to thoroughly vac the whole tank
 

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I just turkey baste everything before a water change. I trim and pluck decaying leaves religiously and feed very sparingly as well. If I do vacuum, it with air line hose siphon, not really strong enough to disturb anything.
 

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In my 120 I use a small vacuum hose. Lucky for me in this tank one corner seems to collect all the debris so I only need to vacuum this spot. In my 20g that is heavily planted I don't do any vacuuming. I make sure all floating stuff is removed daily from both tanks
 

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Thanks for replying.

I'm concerned that the detritus might cause other problems, like algae blooms. I'm using two 10 watt CFL bulbs on my 10g. I had a big struggle with a couple of kinds of algae and now I'm down to a photoperiod of 7 and can't get back to the 10 hours I used to be at. I guess that's why I'm asking.
Well, this is a different question.

The amount of light will dictate the amount of photosynthesis that needs to happen in a tank. Whether is algae or plants is determined by the skills of the aquarist to keep the plants under a favorable environment.

IME algae doesn't prevalent because of excess of nutrients. It thrives when the amount of photosynthesis determined by the light can't be done by plants because of lack of plants or lack of carbon to process nutrients. This seems to be even worse with temperature fluctuations in tropical tanks (80F) but not even an issue in colder tanks (under 72F), may that be because of water proprieties to hold dissolved gasses such as o2 and co2 better when colder.

If algae would thrive because of extra nutrients then all hobbyists that use the EI dosing method would have algae, yet this method is the most popular and effective amongst us.

I would assume that the input of waste/nutrients is not the issue for algae, rather is an aesthetic issue.

However, I you are not considering to master the use of co2 then I advice you to keep your light intensity low, not even medium.

Compare light with an accelerator, you drive slow then have more time to maneuver and avoid crashing, and vice versa.
 
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