Cleaning Substrate In A Planted Aquarium

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by Heather L, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Heather LValued MemberMember

    Question (and I feel kind of stupid for needing to ask this);

    I have planted my tank and expect it to continue to grow well and become heavily planted. I also have driftwood and rocks.

    I've read that anaerobic air pockets can build up if I don't stir up my substrate, and get under all rocks and such when I vacuum.

    It's getting harder to do good, deep vacuums as the tank fills in.

    What to do? MTS snails?

    Please advise
  2. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    How deep is your substrate? What kind of substrate do you have?

    If it's under 2-2.5", you shouldn't need to worry about it. The roots of the plants will also help aerate it. If you wanted to add MTS just to be safe, it wouldn't be a bad idea!
  3. Heather LValued MemberMember

    Thank you. I have Eco Complete substrate 2 inches thick, but I removed some from 2/3rds of my 55 gallon, covered that part with black sand, then replanted it to make the substrate more Corydoras friendly. I put smooth stones between the 2 areas in an attempt to keep the larger substrate from moving into the sand.
  4. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    If it's under 2" across the whole tank, you should be fine!
  5. Heather LValued MemberMember

    So I measured, my substrate is actually 3-3/12 inches?

    Now what?
  6. Florian PelletWell Known MemberMember

    I've read somewhere that you can periodically poke holes in your substrate with a chopstick to aerate it. It shouldn't disturb your plants, even if it's dense hemianthus Cuba.
  7. dcutl002Well Known MemberMember

    I never vacuum my substrate especially since I have read "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium", by Diana Walstad. Diana describes the importance of fish mulm (fish poo) as fertilizer. I have at least one Amazon Sword in each of my tanks and they love the stuff.
  8. Redshark1Fishlore VIPMember

    I do not vaccuum my heavily planted tanks, set up for 8 years without this being necessary.

    It may be worth experimenting and only taking action where necessary.

    Its nice when you get success by sitting on your posterior, right?
  9. Heather LValued MemberMember

    Thank you! Great idea
  10. BodescaNew MemberMember

    I will need to try this too! Learned something new today!
  11. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I still vacuum my planted tanks, regardless of how heavy they are planted. However, I don't stick the siphon into the substrate at all. I just swirl it above the sand in the plants to pick up waste. Waste will not release ammonia forever, so after a time, it doesn't help your plants.
  12. tjanderWell Known MemberMember

    I do the same in my tank just hover above the substrate and suck up the top layer. Also, sand will eventually settle to the bottom of your tank and I could see pockets develop but I think you should be fine....