i have the eco complete planted tank black substrate and i was wondering if it is ok or necissary to vacuum this substrate since it has smaller particles. will vacuuming this substrate take out the good nutrients along with the bad or is it ok?
I vacuum what I can but most of the time my tanks don't really have room for anything to be vacuumed. For this reason I try to keep a high flow in the tank and heavy filtration. I don't mind things getting down into the substrate, but decaying plant matter tends to back leech NH4 that isn't all converted by nitrifying bacteria at a satisfactory enough rate to keep algae in check. This is my personal experience with it though, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are exceptions.
Do some water testing, if you have an excess of nitrates then yea, vacuum some from the substrate. Additionally, if you have a low plant load in combination with a high fish load, you probably have a lot of excess nutrients. Test your water first, and test it over time to see how nitrates accumulate and go from there.
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