View Full Version : one more question about vacuuming gravel

04-04-2011, 04:32 PM
I had posted last week about vacuuming with plants in the tank - thanks everyone for your input! This is my issue - I would like to vacuum the areas which have no live plants (the front of my tank & part of the back have fake ones), however, I'm afraid that all the stuff that comes up as a result will give me an ammonia spike - should I just concentrate on a few inches or should I really just leave the gravel alone - I have 2 anacharis, 4 wisteria, 2 swords & 1 java fern (with little plantelets planted in the gravel). Sorry if I'm being a bother about this.

04-04-2011, 05:46 PM
You could go ahead and vacuum if you think its necessary. Try to be careful around the plant roots.

04-04-2011, 06:15 PM
My 5 gallon is heavily planted at the back and I vacuum the gravel up front and so far have not had any problems with ammonia spikes.

04-04-2011, 06:20 PM
If you feel you must vacuum, just go slow and steady when pulling up from the gravel. The gravel falling out pulls some of the dirt out with it, so the slower you go letting it fall, the easier it is to catch everything.

You'd be surprised how far some roots go, though. In my 5 gallon tank, my gravel is pretty shallow; I had pulled out one plant in there and the roots spread throughout the entire tank pretty much.

04-04-2011, 06:22 PM
i have a pretty heavily planted 55gal (in 1 week span the nitrates only climb to 5ppm). every now and then ill vaccum the gravel where i dont have plants. do be careful vaccuming around plant roots though.

never had a problem with any kind of mini cycle due to vaccuming/not vaccuming my planted tanks

04-05-2011, 04:30 PM
The reason I'm concerned about an ammonia spike is because the last time I did a gravel vac, I did it after knowing I had put too much food in there - pulling it all out of the gravel caused my ammonia to hit 2.0ppm and I freaked out - I was told this was probably because I had dredged up rotting food. I have since gotten better with the food, but I guess I'll just concentrate on a smaller area of the tank this time and stay away from the plants. Thanks for relating all of your experiences - going slowly & more thoroughly will probably help.