Cleaning planted tank? Should I move plants?

zeddy
  • #1
when I clean my planted community tank should I move my plants to vacuum under them or work around them. also I am looking for plants with any color other than green that are very tough and durable, because I don't do plastic or silk plants.
 
Tom
  • #2
Just work your way around the plants. For the colored plants, you would need a really strong light to keep them alive and healthy.
Tom
 
zeddy
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
what kind of lite would I need, it would have to be in the form of a 4 ft fluorescent tube. I know nothing about plants, but somehow I maneged sofar
 
Tom
  • #4
what kind of lite would I need, it would have to be in the form of a 4 ft fluorescent tube. I know nothing about plants, but somehow I maneged sofar
I do not know, could you try and find out on plantgeek? I also have very little knowledge about plants, I just know enough to get by.
Tom
 
zeddy
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
ok thanks for your help
 
Tom
  • #6
No problem. That is what we are here for.
Tom
 
hamstermann
  • #7
You'd need, depending on the plant species, 2-3 watts per gallon and a color spectrum between 5500 and 10000K. And depending how many fish you have in there and what kind, you may not have to worry about vacuuming very much because fish waste turns into plant food. Don't get me wrong, still vacuum. Just don't worry about getting every corner or getting all (or even most) of your tank at one time.
 
zeddy
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
thank you hammsterman for that tidbit because from what you said it sounds like I have been over cleaning my tank. although your answer about the spectrum and wattage I don't understand what exactly that means, if you could put it in simpler terms it would be helpfull
 
hamstermann
  • #9
No Problem.
Color spectrum refers to light wavelength that each bulb puts out. 10,000 Kelvin is a more blue bulb and 5500 is more red (I think. I may have gotten the colors mixed up, but the range I gave you in my last post is correct.) Most fluorescent lights (and particularly those made for aquariums or growing plants) have the color spectrum on their label or packaging somewhere. just look for the number with the k after it and make sure it's between 5500 and 10000.

As far as watts per gallon, this is figured out by the wattage on your bulb (or bulbs) divided by the gallons in your tank. For instance, on my 55 gallon tank, I have a 28 watt bulb and two 32 watt bulbs. 32+32+28=92 watts. 92 watts divided by 55 gallons = 1.672 watts per gallon.

If I want to grow plants that need low to moderate lighting, this is fine. If I want to grow bright light plants, I need to get 73 more watts over my tank to get up to 3 watts per gallon. (92 watts now +73 more watts = 165 watts. 165/55 = 3 watts per gallon. )

The general Rule of thumb is:
Low light plants: 1 WPG (watt per gallon)
Moderate light plants: 2 watts per gallon
Bright Light Plants 3+ watts per gallon.

Does that make a bit more sense?
 
zeddy
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
yes that's a lot easer to understand
 
MrWaxhead
  • #11
Then to make it more confusing not all lights are equal for the wpg recipe. That was loosely based on t12 bulbs. So Hamstermann probably has substantial more wpg than he thinks.

A 28w bulb on a 4 foot tank sounds to me like a t5 bulb. t12 40w is about 3200 lumen, a t5 28w has about 2900 lumen. T5 lighting should be rated at about 1.37 to a t12.
So 28watts / 55gallons is .51wpg but x 1.37 due to lumen / watt Efficiency is actually .70 wpg of lighting

A 32w bulb on a 4 foot tank sounds like t8 lighting. t12 40w is about 3200 lumen, a t8 32w has about 2800 lumen. T8 lighting is rated at about 1.35 to a t12.

So 32wattx2 / 55 is 1.16 wpg but x 1.35 due to lumen / watt Efficiency is actually 1.57 wpg of lighting

So his 1.67 wpg is actually more like 2.27 wpg

And K is really more the temp and colour the bulb burns at, ie 3200k is on the red side, 6500k is on the white side, 10000k and above is more on the blue side.
6500k is a pretty common temp for plant growing but that is not the crucial factor on how well they grow, as the spectrum of the bulb plays a huge roll in that end of things, being that visible light is a continuous band of colors ranging from violet to red (wavelengths of 380 nanometers to 700 nanometers) and not all 6500k bulbs will have even remotely the same spike in spectrum so they could be spiking in a wavelength that is not as important to plant growth. So the phosphors that determine a lights wavelengths have a huge impact on how effective the light is at growing plants. Photosynthesis occurs most efficiently with peaks in the red and and a lesser extent blue parts of the spectrum and most bulbs primarily peak in two wavelengths so finding a bulb that peaks in the red wavelength and somewhat blue wavelength not Kelvin is most beneficial. Using a Full-Spectrum (Tri-Phosphor) Lamp meaning it peaks in three ranges of the spectrum really covers your bases. So K really only is visual element as to how your eye sees the colour of light, the spectrum wavelength is the important factor. A 3200k bulb that peaks in the right wavelength WILL outgrow a 6500k bulb that peaks in the wrong ones. I personally like the mix of 3 6500k and one 3200k bulb as my eyes see that as very bright and natural in my tank, and punches my plants and fishes colours well.

The Kelvin rating will really make most of its difference to your eyes in how you see the tank fish and plants lower K 3200 to 4300 will make things punch red, mid k 6500 range will make things look natural white, and 10000k plus starts to make things look on the blue end (6500k seems to be the common point where most people aI'm now days though) . CRI really only describes how closely a light source renders colors compared to sunlight as observed by a human eye with 100 being pefect so its really only a visual element as to how you see your tank as well.
 
MrWaxhead
  • #12
Oh and I didn't really mean to take your post off topic, I more following up on a later question.
I also don't know where you are located, but if your in canada I can send you some red trimmings of bout 6 to 10 twelve inch stems of Ludwigia mullertiI (red ludwigia). They actually are pretty hardy and will grow fine in lower light and no c02 they just don't stay super red in those settings. Most plants won't stay red in lower light but the red lugwigia is pretty hardy, I have had it in low light tanks and basically the lower half is green but it will red out as it reaches the surface.

It the smaller leaved red plant in the middle of my tank in this pic.

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And as far as gravel vacuuming I don't at all ever, I let all the waste get filtered up by the plants, it breaks down and gets absorbed pretty fast.
 
hamstermann
  • #13
What a gorgeous tank! I'd like some, but unfortunately I'm not in Canada. I'm in Salt Lake City, UT.

What do you know about Red Temple? I bought that plant for my wife and she loved it, but the leaves are falling off it and what is still there has gone more brown than red.
 
MrWaxhead
  • #14
I don't know much about red temple, I have grown it before in on of my 29 gallon tanks (my very first planted actually, was basically a chaos tank, there was no scaping what so ever it was just sheer plant carnage, but there are still plants from that tank in my current 50g, all the java moss and fern and riccia came from that tank), It was in high light and fertile soil and had c02 and it grew like stink, if I remember right it was bright red on the bottoms of the leaves and green on the tops. I eventually switched that tank to a low light no c02 tank and the stuff died quite fast, the leaves started to drop and it got very spindly and lots its red very fast, so It definitely liked light c02. Oddly the riccia died in that tank too just plain melted within days of lowering the lighting and ending c02. But 6 months later when I started my 50 gallon up, I took some of the moss from that tank and I guess there was a few small dead hunks that were dormant, and once it got c02 and high light it exploded with growth again.

You can see it in the far left of my tank on and infront of the java moss.

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But 4 weeks earlier it had just started to come back to life in this photo on top of the moss.

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I find pretty much anything like riccia, ground covers and red plants really thrive in high light and c02. Some will limp by without but not thrive, others just plain well die.
 

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zeddy
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
that is such a nice tank
 
griffin
  • #16
that is a nice tank, I especially like how the neons look in that tank
 
freshwaterguy
  • #17
that really is a very nice tank I cannot wait until my tank is as densely planted as that - currently I only have Java Fern tied to bogwood in my recently cycled first 20 gallon aquarium looks OK already I think

the advice here about not doing gravel cleaning or too much is useful. I am now looking for more live plants for my own aquarium and would like some hornwart and in particular Java Moss which I am finding hard to come by here in the UK I am looking for low light plants as my wattage is 1.33 WPG

Live Plants make such a difference to the aquarium and are highly recommended! I am very pleased with my Java Fern and look forward to adding more Live Plants then I can throw out the remaining fake plants Yuk!

My RIO 125 with Java Fern currently looks like the below! a little plain I know but is getting there. Personally with aquarium sand I wish I had gone for gravel now but sand does offer a nice contrast to tank.


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zeddy
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
that's to bad you can't find java moss regularly. here on the left coast of canada its very common to see at the lfs. to bad it would cost so much to ship it or you could order some from my lfs.
 
Butterfly
  • #19
I don't vacuum real close to the plants just kind of out and around in the open areas.
Mr. Waxhead do you have a red tiger lotus in front there? they have such pretty leaves.
carol
 
MrWaxhead
  • #20
Its a red dwarf lily, it is actually the only thing I have ever bought from ack, I can't believe I am admitting this on a forum WALMART hehe. It was a bulb I dropped it in let it fall to the floor, moved it to where I wanted it and let it do the rest, it pushed real fast once it started.
 
MrWaxhead
  • #21
Oh and as far as substrate cleaning, I do nothing, I am letting my mulm build up for a healthier enviroment, I don't touch my substrate at all. I let my snails and roots churn the substrate, and if I do a major change that involves uprooting and moving plants, I immediately do a large water change right after as the balance gets upset and you risk a little ammonia burst followed by ack algae. That is also the only time I do large water changes, other then that, I only do 10% a week, 5 gallons from my 50, which goes into my garden or house plants.

Messing with substrate is usually a trigger for algae, as it messes with the mulm and bacteria balance in your substrate, and triggers ammonia which is a surefire food for algae. I don't worry about anaerobic bacteria pockets, as my roots are always on the move in my substrate, and more crucial then that is the snails, they are forever burrowing around and mixing thing up in a far cleaner way they I ever could with my clumsy hands and vac tube.
 
MrWaxhead
  • #22
And yes zeddy I always see LFS with good clumps of java moss here in BC. It sure doesn't take much to get you going either hehe. I started with a small bag of it, and now have more then I can use in all of my tanks hehe. I have a 29 gallon with pieces of wood caked in it awaiting there new home. I am saving it all for my next project, I am going to build a 8x2x2 240g tank on my cnc at work. I am slowly getting all the things I need for it as my wife would flip if I dropped to much money in one sitting on my fish hehe.
 
Butterfly
  • #23
Oh and as far as substrate cleaning, I do nothing, I am letting my mulm build up for a healthier enviroment, I don't touch my substrate at all. I let my snails and roots churn the substrate, and if I do a major change that involves uprooting and moving plants, I immediately do a large water change right after as the balance gets upset and you risk a little ammonia burst followed by ack algae. That is also the only time I do large water changes, other then that, I only do 10% a week, 5 gallons from my 50, which goes into my garden or house plants.

Messing with substrate is usually a trigger for algae, as it messes with the mulm and bacteria balance in your substrate, and triggers ammonia which is a surefire food for algae. I don't worry about anaerobic bacteria pockets, as my roots are always on the move in my substrate, and more crucial then that is the snails, they are forever burrowing around and mixing thing up in a far cleaner way they I ever could with my clumsy hands and vac tube.
This usually works for a very heavily planted and long established tank. But those that aren't heavily planted and long established still need to be vacuumed and water changes done
My tanks are fairly heavily planted and I still vac, doesn't seem to bother the plants but it does make a difference in my water quality.
carol
 
MrWaxhead
  • #24
Very true, and its all personal preference in the end as to how much needs to be done as long as the needs of the fish are being taken care of (in they end they need to be healthy).

I just find in my case after trying many methods of cleaning, many of my tanks do better water quality wise if I tend to leave them alone more.

But your right in general, non to moderate planted tanks, will get to earthy or worse toxic if they can't soak up enough fish matter.

P.S I forgot to mention to freshwaterguy, the addition of the java fern and wood is very nice touch in your tank
 
Butterfly
  • #25
P.S I forgot to mention to freshwaterguy, the addition of the java fern and wood is very nice touch in your tank
Very nice touch indeed
Carol
 
MrWaxhead
  • #26
Here is a blast from the past hehe.
My very first very sad attempt at a planted tank (I basically went nuts and filled it with everything and anything hehe). Funny thing is though, almost every plant in all my tanks came from that tank hehe. You can see the tiny stem of red lugwigia to the right of the glosso carpet in the right of the tank. That is now the huge clump in my center of my 50 gallon in my sig.

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275.jpg

That tank now is basically a plant nursery for the following two plants in the left of this . That will go in my 240g once its built and running.

276.jpg

That tank is the first one I gave up trying to vacuum on, as there was no substrate left to see by the end hehe. There was also no thought or planning to the scape just a chaos of plants. But it was great fun and I learned a lot about many of my plants needs and wants. It was high light and DIY c02 from coke bottles into filter intake for c02 diffusion hehe. Not a real quiet tank nor was it good for the impellers hehe.
 
Eirelav_mcgoo
  • #27
My tank is, I'd say lightly planted. It's a low tech setup, I don't want to get into co2 and crazy lights. The fish I have require low light or dI'm tanks anyways.
For those who have planted setups with sand substrate, and caves for fish who need them, how do you go about collecting all the poop without disturbing fish, plants and hides? I just moved a log cave to find a large city garbage pile amount of accumulated poop and rotting food. I assume this is the reason for my ammonia spike. I have a HOB filter with a wavemaker to try and circulate everything. The other three caves sit far above the substrate so the wavemaker is able to carry the debris along.

A side note, the tank is soil bottom with a sand cap. I don't like moving the caves because of some long pieces that sit into the substrate. When moved it pulls soil into the water column.
 
Fish-keeper
  • #28
My tank is, I'd say lightly planted. It's a low tech setup, I don't want to get into co2 and crazy lights. The fish I have require low light or dI'm tanks anyways.
For those who have planted setups with sand substrate, and caves for fish who need them, how do you go about collecting all the poop without disturbing fish, plants and hides? I just moved a log cave to find a large city garbage pile amount of accumulated poop and rotting food. I assume this is the reason for my ammonia spike. I have a HOB filter with a wavemaker to try and circulate everything. The other three caves sit far above the substrate so the wavemaker is able to carry the debris along.

A side note, the tank is soil bottom with a sand cap. I don't like moving the caves because of some long pieces that sit into the substrate. When moved it pulls soil into the water column.

I would recommend using a gravel Sython as this will clean the sand substrate that you use also if your having issues with the cleanliness of the tank I would recommend doing regular water changes.

Also might I ask what filter you use? What hob filter is it?
 
Eirelav_mcgoo
  • #29
Well a gravel siphon would suck up all the sand so that's not a good option.

And cleanliness is not necessarily an issue. We do regular 40% weekly water changes because we have quite a heavy bioload. It's been daily 25% water changes because we've had a minI cycle the last 5 days. It was looking good then a slight spike in ammonia, when from 0 to a very obvious 0.25.
 
JoeCamaro
  • #30
I have 2 vacuums, a small one to get closer to the sand and pull the waste amd a big one to remove more water faster.
The small one allows me to go into thigh spaces amd remove most of the waste without disturbing things too much.
 
Fish-keeper
  • #31
Well a gravel siphon would suck up all the sand so that's not a good option.

And cleanliness is not necessarily an issue. We do regular 40% weekly water changes because we have quite a heavy bioload. It's been daily 25% water changes because we've had a minI cycle the last 5 days. It was looking good then a slight spike in ammonia, when from 0 to a very obvious 0.25.

If your lightly squeeze the sython tube,the dirt with come up,however the sand and substrate will stay. Alternatively you could slightly agitate the sand with you hand causing the dirt to go up and Into the filter.
 
Eirelav_mcgoo
  • #32
We're using the aqueon quietflow power 75. It's a little weak for our set up but I have a sunsun 304b on order. It takes a couple weeks for delivery.
 
Fish-keeper
  • #33
We're using the aqueon quietflow power 75. It's a little weak for our set up but I have a sunsun 304b on order. It takes a couple weeks for delivery.

May I ask what wavemaker you use?
 
Eirelav_mcgoo
  • #34
I use a siphon without the gravel attachment. I swirl it around above the sand and that kicks up the debris without disturbing the sand. I'm talking about under hard to reach areas. Like logs and hides. Places where even the smallest siphon would not get to without ducking up all the substrate.
 
Fish-keeper
  • #35
I use a siphon without the gravel attachment. I swirl it around above the sand and that kicks up the debris without disturbing the sand. I'm talking about under hard to reach areas. Like logs and hides. Places where even the smallest siphon would not get to without ducking up all the substrate.

Well if you do not want to remove your ornaments then you could try slightly wiggling the ornament.
 
purslanegarden
  • #36
Seeing as it is lightly planted, there might be a few times a year where you do a more thorough cleaning. That could include moving ornaments and some rooted plants around, or even taking them out entirely during the cleaning process.
 
Eirelav_mcgoo
  • #37
I may tear it down next summer to removed the substrate and replace with just sand. Our plants are doing exceptionally well in the soil bottom but our pictus cats like to dig it up and throw soil in the water column. I thought a 3" sand cap would be deep enough but I'm amazed at how much sand 4 cat fish can move in a couple hours.

I'll maintain my cleaning regime and take some of these valuable tips with me during my next clean. Thanks all.
 

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