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I'm new to planted tanks, after a 2 decade break from tanks, so much has changed. I love the planted tanks & all the accessories that make having one do-able. But if the whole bottom is planted then you no longer vacuum I'm guessing? You would suck up all your plants, right?


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After starting fish only and then working into planted, I have adjusted my thinking way back on what is required to keep the tank working. But that does vary with what and who is in the tank. For breeding tanks, I stopped vacing when I realized the filters convert the ammonia and I have plenty of filter to handle a bit of extra debris. Water changes remove the extra nitrate that results from the extra debris. In tanks that I want to look nice, I remove the part that offends my eye and worry far less about getting all the little scraps out from in/around and under things like wood and rocks. At one time when fish only, I would have stuck the tube down to the bottom, moved décor and totally gone berserk to get every scrap out. I finally asked WHY I was doing all that work to get dirt out when I was putting dirt in to feed the plants. ????
 

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It's good to skim the surface wherever you can to remove any decaying mulm, around the bases of plants, low flow areas where it collects, etc. But as far as doing a deep substrate vac like a fish only tank with gravel...no, dont need to do that.
This. I do the same and I've found that when i've gotten lazy and skipped it is when the "blue-green slime algae" (Cyanobacteria) starts to creep in.

Tommy
 

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I have a heavily planted tank and vacum the tank every two weeks while siphoning the water out for a water change. I use a wide mouth attachment and thread it among the big plants. The small amazon spider plants, I just put the vacum over them. They are well rooted and generally stay in place. Keeps the organic material down and thus the NO3.
 

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But if the whole bottom is planted then you no longer vacuum I'm guessing?
It depends on what you mean by "vacuuming".

That deep "stabbing" vacuuming technique that we used in non-planted tanks is no longer applicable to planted areas: it will uproot plants, damage the roots and mix substrate layers.

As for gentle "surface only" vacuuming - yes, it is still perfectly applicable to planted tanks.
 

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I deep vacuum my planted tank, I've found it can revive sluggish growing plants. I believe it gives roots much needed space and reduces anaerobic areas within substrate. I dig right in as far as I can go without completely damaging a few plants, and let the suction pull up as much silt as possible. I even suctioned through a mat of crypts and s repens. They bounced back even better than previous.


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