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Hi I currently have a 25 gallon that I have had running for 6 months now and my plants have grown like crazy...I have trimmed them down several times but they are growing so wild it makes it really hard for me to clean the substrate, I am at the point where i would like to take the fish out and the plants out and clean the tank and place everyone back in but i honestly am not sure how to go about this ..not sure if i should just take out all the plants and leave the fish in while i clean or what...i would love any suggestions!
 

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There is no need to "wash" the substrate. As long as the tank is not totally overstocked, and you do regular water changes, just enjoy your tank. You can vacuum the gravel a bit if there is too much accumulation of detritus (=fish poop etc), but many of us planted tankers don't even do that.
 

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there's so much of it in one corner of my tank that it looks like a pile of dirt now hahaha. It pretty much is dirt after it all decomposes!

It's normal and I think it makes my tank look more natural. I've set the flow to clear the front viewing area though. There's no need to vacuum it up really.
 

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Cleaning a Well Planted Tank

Hello Lil...

Actually, a well planted tank is extremely easy to clean. Once a week, you change 50 percent of the water and rinse the filter media in some of the old water, trim the plants that need it and you're done. No extensive vacuuming is necessary.

Algae can be an issue with a tank that's still maturing, but there are tools for scraping it from the front of the tank, which is all that needs to be done.

Once your tank matures, could take a year or more, the algae issue, if there still is one, will be minimal. Eventually, the plants will use up the nutrients available and the algae will die back.

I have a couple of low light, low tech 30 Gs and both are well planted. I've had them running for a couple of years. Changing out half the water, rinsing the filter media and/or replacing it, trimming the plants a bit and putting everything back together takes about 45 minutes per tank. You'll get better and faster, just takes a little practice.

B
 

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Just keep changing the water and don't worry to much about the gravel vac. The worst thing to do is to disturbe the "good" bacteria in the substrate and created a mini-cycle. Avoid the urge to break down the tank and scrubing it. Water changing is always the planted tank's best friend.
 

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Just keep changing the water and don't worry to much about the gravel vac. The worst thing to do is to disturbe the "good" bacteria in the substrate and created a mini-cycle. Avoid the urge to break down the tank and scrubing it. Water changing is always the planted tank's best friend.
+1 on this, can't stress it enough. What is the substrate?
 

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Thanks everyone! I guess I shall leave it as it is.. my substrate is eco complete
At six months, your plants should be established enough to be able to siphon enough debris from them. Simply stick the tube over the plant and watch the debris fly up the tube. I've not had any of the plants in my 75g uproot while doing this (it's been running almost 2 years). However, some plants like gunk, my Blyxa Japonica does, so I steer clear of them while doing a wc.
 

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What are your water parameters? If your tank is cycled and your nitrates are reasonable, don't worry about the substrate.

If your nitrates are sky high or the degree of waste and decomposition is resulting in ammonia or nitrites, you'll need to take a look at what's going on, and remove as much of waste as you can without disturbing the plants.

Julia
 
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