Changed Vacuum Routine

Discussion in 'aquarist' started by Aquarist, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    I've changed my vacuuming routine for my 265g (7' long) tank. Previously I would vacuum 1/2 the tank and 10 days later I would vacuum the other half once per month.

    (Please note: My tank is very well established with filter media as old as 15 years. Too, I have a lot of filter media for beneficial bacteria purposes).

    For the past 3 months I have vacuumed the entire tank at one time with no ill effects to my cycle. My readings after vacuuming the entire tank at one time remain 0,0, 20. I vacuum once per month. (Oct., Nov., Dec.)

    When I vacuum the tank, this is all that I do. I do not rinse the filter media I have and use for beneficial bacteria purposes at the same time although I do change my filter floss and pads and activated carbon if necessary. These pads and the floss I do not depend on for beneficial bacteria purposes.

    I also do water changes on this tank every 7 days.

    It's easier on me to vacuum once a month compared to twice a month doing 1/2 of the tank at a time. Since it doesn't create any havoc with my cycle, I will continue to vacuum the entire tank at one time.

    Ken :;rudolph

    Man's work is NEVER done!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  2. AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    Ken, thanks for this thread. I truly believe that it depends on how long the fish tank has been established, what kind of cleaning or changing you do on each scheduled time that you perform these tasks.

    For me, I used to do the same thing - Clean 1/2 of the substrate one week, then the other 1/2 the next week and so on. About 3-4 weeks ago I decided to do as you're doing (cleaning it all each time). So far, it hasn't changed any numbers or outcome on the cycle. Like you, it's just easier for me to do it that way.

    For some, that might not be the best way and it could cause a mini cycle if the tank hasn't been established long enough or if it doesn't have enough media to carry enough bb for it to not affect the process (Whew! Long sentence, and probably not proper but the point is there).
  3. YeoyWell Known MemberMember

    I'd imagine that with mature, full-grown fish like the kinds you have you would need very well established media!

    The bioload of my tank right now is so small, it doesn't matter what I do. I am removing almost all of the substrate (for appearance and ease of cleaning) but I am still doing it over a few weeks to be cautious.
  4. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    Sounds like you found a great way to simplify your maintenance routine! Can't beat that. :) My wife says she wishes I would vacuum our house as much as my fish tanks. ;)
  5. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    I can't vacuum my tanks and the house too, so we have a housekeeper! :) I bet your wife would appreciate one too Matt B. Where is she? Let me tell her. rofl :)

  6. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    Please do! The other day she asked me to clean the outlet covers!?!? You clean those? I can't wrap my mind around that so I think a housekeeper would be great, also, once finished with the house, I would have plenty of filter/glass cleaning for him/her! ;)
  7. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    lol...I only want the housekeeper to vacuum and mop in my fish room (along with the rest of the house of course). I'll do the rest in there. :) I've asked her to be careful and not hit my tank glass with vacuum/s hoses and so on. Mop, vacuum, and get out! lol

    I hate when things get broken but it happens. Nice having the extra help for sure.

  8. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    That is nice, right now I'm my own post pwc clean up crew, I really wouldn't let anyone touch anything to do with my fish either, I'm far too convinced I have everything perfect and wouldn't want it messed up. ;)
  9. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

  10. tunastrackWell Known MemberMember

    You guys can send that clean up crew over my way when they are done at your
  11. LyleBWell Known MemberMember

    Just a couple of quick questions.

    1) Do you find that you need to do larger water changes when you vacuum in order to have time to clean all the substrait at once?

    2) In light of the above, do you find you clean the gravel as well (as thoroughly) as you used to?

    I always thought the main reason to break gravel vacuuming into two sessions was because of the amount of water you would need to siphon at one sitting. Personally, I don't think you really disturb the bacteria all that much by vacuuming, in fact, it seems the agitation would benefit the numbers of bacteria.

    Your thoughts?
  12. AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    Most of the beneficial bacteria is in the filter and filter media. Some can reside in the substrate, but not enough to really make a substantial difference in the formality of the scenario.

    When I vacuum the whole substrate, there doesn't seem to be any more water taken as I use one of the siphon "pythons". It's quick and practical. In my opinion, it's a matter of preference and what time it can save, as long as it's the performance of whichever you choose it's doing the job in a beneficial way.

    When I used to vacuum part of the substrate, it was actually making the substrate (I use the black diamond sandblasting sand) look a bit different in color (as one side looked nice and one side looked not as nice). Hopefully that makes sense.
  13. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Tuna...teehee :)

    Hello LyleB,

    I change 55g's every 7 days in my 265g. Vacuum or not, it's still 55g's changed for fresh. I can usually vacuum the entire tank and only remove 30 to 35g's. The rest I siphon out. I have a 55g drum that I use to prefilter my water for water changes.

    I have a second drum that lives right outside of the fish room and this is where old tank water gets siphoned/pumped to. Then the old water is used on outdoor and indoor plants.

    Yes, I clean the substrate (being large river rock) just as well doing it all at the same time compared to doing 1/2 the tank this week and the other have 10 days later. I can look up and under my tank (via the tank cabinet) and when I'm done, it's free of detritus. Nice and clean :).

    As long as the tank is well established with a lot beneficial bacteria, then vacuuming the entire tank shouldn't be a problem. If it's a new tank only a couple of months old, I would continue to vacuum 1/2 the tank now and the other 1/2 10 days to 2 weeks later just to be on the safe side. I would give a tank 6 months to a year to really be well established (my opinion).

    I have a lot of filter media for beneficial bacteria.

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  14. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    Ken- I like that you can look from underneath and see no detritus! :;th It reminds me of when I was a little guy I'd crawl under my dad's 250g and look up at all the rocks an whatnot.
  15. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    There can be a great deal of bacteria in the substrate. But one thing is for certain - that you are not going to suck the bacteria off the gravel with a vacuum. The filtration system for the tank includes the substrate. It is possible for the bacteria colony in the substrate to rival that in the filter, especially in a system with weak filtration.

    Provided the source water is the same chemistry as the tank water, you can do 100% changes if you want.

    Running out of water while vacuuming is really only a small tank problem, IME.
  16. fishyluvWell Known MemberMember

    What about a 20 gal that has sand that has been set up for 5 wks or so. How often would you vacumme and how much each time? It has only 2 GBR'S in it. I also added some established media from my 30 and it was an instant cycle.:)
  17. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    I've never used sand substrate. It's my understanding that it's a possibility for gas bubbles to form under the sand that could be harmful to your fish if the substrate (sand) isn't sifted from time to time.

    Here is a link on cleaning sand substrate that you may find helpful:
    Give the video a minute to load and then hit PLAY.

  18. freak78Well Known MemberMember

    My 55 gallon has almost been set up for 2 month's now so I only vacuum every other week. When the tank is about 5 or 6 month's old then I will do it once a week with my 15 gallon water changes.