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Thread: Cleaning tank/substrate
12-12-2012, 05:40 PM #1
I have a semi planted tank with Dwarf hairgrass, microsword, anubias and java ferns.
How do I clean/vaccuum substrate without distrubing everything and having to replant?
People with huge planted tanks....do they ever clean substrate? If not do they deal with water fouling consequences?
What do most folks do who have a lot of plants on the bottom?
On a side note - I have seen several threads about "no substitution for tank scrubbing" when it comes to algae. However, I have an algae eater, a rainbow shark, a few shrimp and some snails, and that crew keeps my tank cleaner than I ever could trying to scrub it. Just saying :)55 Gallon Freshwater Tank (semi-planted) 48"x21"x13"
Video of 55GAL Tank - DEC 2012
12-12-2012, 05:47 PM #2
IMO I don't fret about vacuuming around life plants. I see what would have been vacuumed up in those areas as plant fertilizer.
Depending on your plant growth - I really don't see any other way to go about it. I keep the very front of my tank plant-less and complete a really good vacuum once a month for this area.25 Gal - Tropical
Custom made Wet/Dry/Sump Filter System, AquaClear 20 Powerhead, RenaCal Excel 300 Heater, artificial plants
Fish - 8 Blackskirt Tetras, Red Wag Platy, German Blue Ram, Bulldog Pleco, Assassin snail.
"Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success." King Solomon.
Pictures of my 10 Gal Sump Filtration project
12-12-2012, 05:53 PM #3
While my tank isn't exactly heavily planted, there's enough in there and I just go around my plants and try not to uproot them. But I have also heard that many people with heavily planted tanks leave the substrate alone because the "mulm" feeds the plants.46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT
Remember: Our job is to take care of the water our fish live in
12-12-2012, 06:41 PM #4
12-12-2012, 06:44 PM #5
I vacuum mine around the plants, picking up just what can be easily reached and allowing the rest to remain as fertilizer. As long as you do regular water changes, you'll be fine without vacuuming a planted tank. :)
12-12-2012, 06:47 PM #6
+1 to the above. My 75gal is pretty heavily planted and my 10gal has a decent amount. My tanks get water changes once a week and I vacuum about 1/4-1/2" above the substrate to get any loose particles. The nasties that get stuck in the substrate turn into fertilizer, so there's nothing to worry about there.
Be careful around stem plants, like Cabomba. ;] It's not necessary to get in real close, but if you see something unsightly, it's probably best to pick it out manually.
12-12-2012, 06:50 PM #7
I have heaviky planted tanks and i do not vaccum gravel. I do regular weekly water changes and never had bad water. You should be okay as long as you keep up your weekly wc.Roll the Dice!
12-12-2012, 06:54 PM #8
I've had my current planted tank up and running for a little over 2 years now. I will always vac about 1/4 to 1/2 of the substrate with each large weekly water change (around 75%). I get as close to the plants as possible, but there are a few spots that are difficult to clean at best. My plants do great and my nitrates stay around 5ppm. Seams to work very well for my set-upIf you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]
12-12-2012, 08:13 PM #9
I've had planted tanks ever since I started ranging from moderately to absolute jungles.
I've never fretted much about vacuuming everywhere. In the bare areas I suck up what I can. About once a month I use a thin piece of airhose to suck up what gets trapped between plants. Priority there is not to do any plant damage.
I don't think it's a bad approach, I've always managed to keep nitrates below 20ppm. What could be of influence though is that I've also had shrimp and MTS for a long time and that's a good cleanup crew.
12-13-2012, 12:08 AM #10
Thats really good info, Thanks!
I only have a few plants in my tank and when I vaccuum, there is a ton of "mess" that is down in the gravel, but not visible at the surface. Everytime I vaccum i seem to disturb the plants and end up having to reposition them in the gravel.
I havent had any poor water conditions so I will be more careful and let the sediment feed the plants and not worry about it.55 Gallon Freshwater Tank (semi-planted) 48"x21"x13"
Video of 55GAL Tank - DEC 2012