Ideas To Cut Down Maintenance?

CraiginWales

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HI all. Due to disability I’m starting to struggle maintaining my 5ft, 130g Severum & Acara tank.
I’ve sold a few Severums to reduce the biomass & will probably sell a few more. 6 Severums, 5 Acaras.
I can do weekly water changes no problem but when it comes to cleaning I’m struggling.
I can’t stand for too long to keep the glass free of algae. Weekly vacuuming is getting difficult. I don’t trust my balance on step ladders.
I’m thinking of getting an electric vacuum & would appreciate any recommendations on that.
Are there any ideas to keep maintenance to a minimum please? I’m determined not to give up my tank. Thanks
 

Carmen79

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HI Craig in Wales,

I'm not experienced in Severums nor Acaras but, is your tank planted? Specially floating plants, they can absorb nitrates. I'd think this would be helping with your vacuum..?
 

Donthemon

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UV filter would help for the algae. Not sure what other type of filter you have but canisters don’t need to be cleaned very often. Also sand substrate seems easier to keep clean than gravel. Good luck and hope you will be able to continue. Fish keeping is relaxing and therapeutic.....
 
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CraiginWales

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Thanks Carmen but plants are out of the equation. Lol. They’d be eaten or uprooted in no time
 

Fishstery

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I don't have much experience with tanks that large or electric vacuums, but here are some quick ideas that may help even just a little bit.

It's my understanding tanks of that volume don't need weekly water changes unless it's easier for you to do more frequent, smaller water changes instead of just a larger 20 pr 30% once a month. You could rehome a few more fish and get a large school of algae eaters / bottom feeders to help you cut down on algae, and also to help clean up any uneaten food on the substrate and reduce the need to vacuum so much (I'm unsure if your fish are compatible, but just a thought). You can also go to lowes and buy a paint scraper with a long arm, one you attach a razor blade to. I'm not sure of your exact situation but maybe then it would be enough reach for you to pull up a chair and sit and scrape the glass? If you have any HOB filters you can get some potho or other large plants that people commonly use in their filters to help cut down on nitrates. These plants add beautiful aesthetics to your tank and having them rooted in your HOB will really help with water quality.

Oh and edit I just had another thought, if you aren't already using it, get some seachem purigen and add it to your filter. It will really help keep that water quality under control between water changes if you need to try and space them out as much as possible. I hope this helps!
 

mattgirl

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Is there any way you can switch out your gravel substrate for sand? The good thing about sand is the ease of taking care of it since there are no gaps for waste to accumulate.

If you could do that and them get a shoal of strictly algae eating fish maybe they would do a good job of keeping the inside of the glass cleaned for you.

I know the day is coming when taking care of my tanks will get difficult for me so I am trying to think ahead of what I can do to make the job easier for me. I already have sand and my Bristle nose Plecos do a pretty good job of keeping my glass clean. Fortunately I have very little algae though so that helps.
 
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CraiginWales

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Donthemon said:
UV filter would help for the algae. Not sure what other type of filter you have but canisters don’t need to be cleaned very often. Also sand substrate seems easier to keep clean than gravel. Good luck and hope you will be able to continue. Fish keeping is relaxing and therapeutic.....
Two Fluval 406 & a Fluval U6. I’ll have to look into UV, thanks
 

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CraiginWales said:
HI all. Due to disability I’m starting to struggle maintaining my 5ft, 130g Severum & Acara tank.
I’ve sold a few Severums to reduce the biomass & will probably sell a few more. 6 Severums, 5 Acaras.
I can do weekly water changes no problem but when it comes to cleaning I’m struggling.
I can’t stand for too long to keep the glass free of algae. Weekly vacuuming is getting difficult. I don’t trust my balance on step ladders.
I’m thinking of getting an electric vacuum & would appreciate any recommendations on that.
Are there any ideas to keep maintenance to a minimum please? I’m determined not to give up my tank. Thanks
Have you got a water python? I prefer that to electric as it seems easier and lighter. Its also a good vacuum.
 
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CraiginWales

CraiginWales

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mattgirl said:
Is there any way you can switch out your gravel substrate for sand? The good thing about sand is the ease of taking care of it since there are no gaps for waste to accumulate.

If you could do that and them get a shoal of strictly algae eating fish maybe they would do a good job of keeping the inside of the glass cleaned for you.

I know the day is coming when taking care of my tanks will get difficult for me so I am trying to think ahead of what I can do to make the job easier for me. I already have sand and my Bristle nose Plecos do a pretty good job of keeping my glass clean. Fortunately I have very little algae though so that helps.
I’ll have to do a change to sand I think. Thanks
How many Plecos would you recommend. I have one Calico atm

mattgirl said:
Is there any way you can switch out your gravel substrate for sand? The good thing about sand is the ease of taking care of it since there are no gaps for waste to accumulate.

If you could do that and them get a shoal of strictly algae eating fish maybe they would do a good job of keeping the inside of the glass cleaned for you.

I know the day is coming when taking care of my tanks will get difficult for me so I am trying to think ahead of what I can do to make the job easier for me. I already have sand and my Bristle nose Plecos do a pretty good job of keeping my glass clean. Fortunately I have very little algae though so that helps.
Would only bristle nose Pleco’s be suitable with the Cichlids . I really like gold nuggets, zebra etc
 

DecoyCat

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HI Craig,
Good on you for sticking with it, fish are so wonderful.
I know smaller fish are really out of the equation because I know how big Severums can get, the other fish you mention I'm not familiar with...
A canister filter with a UV light as mentioned already would help, you can find them on ebay, big turn over ones for cheap..
Gravel is very hard to keep clean, my best thought would be for you to go bare bottom, problem solved and cleaning is such a breeze!
A bag of Seachem Purigen in your filter as suggested already is also a very good addition and will help in cutting down water changes as it absorbs toxins.
As for cleaning the glass, that's a hard one, I would ask a friend I trust to help with that once a month, or when needed.
I would think on removing your gravel and going bare bottom, so no substrate at all, this would make things 10 times easier for you, and it looks stunning crisp and clean
 

oldsalt777

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CraiginWales said:
HI all. Due to disability I’m starting to struggle maintaining my 5ft, 130g Severum & Acara tank.
I’ve sold a few Severums to reduce the biomass & will probably sell a few more. 6 Severums, 5 Acaras.
I can do weekly water changes no problem but when it comes to cleaning I’m struggling.
I can’t stand for too long to keep the glass free of algae. Weekly vacuuming is getting difficult. I don’t trust my balance on step ladders.
I’m thinking of getting an electric vacuum & would appreciate any recommendations on that.
Are there any ideas to keep maintenance to a minimum please? I’m determined not to give up my tank. Thanks
**** Craig...

All you need to do is change the water weekly. You don't need to do anything else as far as maintenance. If you can manage half the tank water every week or even a day or two longer, the fish will be fine. The large, regular water change will remove most of the toxins and keep the water livable for your fish.

Old
 

jdhef

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I'd recommend a Python water changer. It makes water changes a breeze. Also, I use one of those magfloat algae scrapers. You. An use that while sitting down
 

Mongo75

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I can only speak for the EheI'm Quick Vac Pro. I use it because the syphon vacs empty too fast for my 20 gallon tank. It runs off of 4 AA batteries and will pick up a 1" mystery snail, lol. The biggest complaint most people (from reviews) have, and I can confirm, is the impeller has a tendency to bind, requiring disassembly to clear it out. Overall, I like it, but for a tank as large as yours, it may not be the optimal solution.

As for a step stool, I don't know what you have, but something like this may be an option.
 

mattgirl

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CraiginWales said:
I’ll have to do a change to sand I think. Thanks
I know I would never go back to gravel now that I have sand. All I have to do is kinda swirl the end on the gravel vac over the top of the sand to stir up the waste sitting on top of it to keep the sand clean.
How many Plecos would you recommend. I have one Calico atm
I don't think a BN Pleco would be the best option for you. From what I have read they can get pretty lazy as they age. In my case I have 2 and it works because I have very little algae to begin with. Mine spend a lot of time eating the bio-film off the glass though. I know there are other fish and some snails that are very good at keeping algae in check.

Your best option may be jdhef 's suggestion about getting a magfloat algae scraper. I've never had one but if I understand how they work correctly you just have to move the magnet around on the outside of the tank and the inside scraper does the inside work.
Would only bristle nose Pleco’s be suitable with the Cichlids . I really like gold nuggets, zebra etc
I've never had any kind of cichlids so don't know what kind of fish they will accept. I am sorry I can't be of much help when it comes to stocking.
 

Joshuaharestad

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One thing to be wary of with bn pleco is slime sucking. I had one who would actually kill other fish. With severum I'd just be worried about the bn sucking slime and then the wound getting infected. One reason I don't keep bn any more. Had one kill a couple fish. Not all do it but just something to keep in mind.
 

jdhef

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mattgirl said:
I know I would never go back to gravel now that I have sand
See I would never use sand, it just doesn't look natural like my multicolored gravel does.
 

RSababady

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SabrinaBrook said:
Gravel is very hard to keep clean, my best thought would be for you to go bare bottom, problem solved and cleaning is such a breeze!
This would be a good option. I also use ceramic tiles on the bottom of one of my tanks - gives a nice look and very easy to keep clean. Ceramic tiles are just baked clay, so they are neutral chemically and can be bought in different colors and patterns to meet your needs and taste. Not easy to cut, so it is better to have them cut to the required size of your tank.
 

Fishstery

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I can't believe I forgot about those magfloat scrapers!! Just an important note about those if you decide to switch to sand....you might want to pull the magnet to the surface and un-stick it and swish it around before every use. Getting a grain of sand stuck in between those and then cleaning your glass = one scratched up tank
 

Debbie1986

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jinjerJOSH22 said:
I've read Tetra Easy Balance is good, I can't vouch for it myself but a friend said it worked wonders.
I use it. But, it doesn't stop algae on the glass. You still need to use a cleaning brush to remove it. It does help with bioload and any nitrate spike. Overnight after treatment, nitrate drop dramatically.

I dose my 38 gallon rectangle & 36 gallon bow front with it weekly. My gravel is not that bad looking as a result. Right now I clean manually & also use a turkey baster, lol.

I purchased a Python, but the length isn't long enough ( 25 feet) . I need to buy a longer plastic hose.

The Python is very easy to set up ( great video at amazon on how to use) . The nozzle doesn't fit my sink nozzle, but does fit my outside water hose; hence why I need a longer plastic tubing. I need an extra 10 or so feet.
 
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CraiginWales

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Debbie1986 said:
I use it. But, it doesn't stop algae on the glass. You still need to use a cleaning brush to remove it. It does help with bioload and any nitrate spike. Overnight after treatment, nitrate drop dramatically.

I dose my 38 gallon rectangle & 36 gallon bow front with it weekly. My gravel is not that bad looking as a result. Right now I clean manually & also use a turkey baster, lol.

I purchased a Python, but the length isn't long enough ( 25 feet) . I need to buy a longer plastic hose.

The Python is very easy to set up ( great video at amazon on how to use) . The nozzle doesn't fit my sink nozzle, but does fit my outside water hose; hence why I need a longer plastic tubing. I need an extra 10 or so feet.
I’ll look into a python vs electric vacuum. Thanks. I’d heard somewhere though that they’re ridiculously expensive for what they are?

RSababady said:
This would be a good option. I also use ceramic tiles on the bottom of one of my tanks - gives a nice look and very easy to keep clean. Ceramic tiles are just baked clay, so they are neutral chemically and can be bought in different colors and patterns to meet your needs and taste. Not easy to cut, so it is better to have them cut to the required size of your tank.
I like that idea. Thanks
 

oldsalt777

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Hello again Craig...

You don't need to vacuum the bottom material. This is something you can definitely omit, since your aI'm is to reduce the work. The organic material that collects on the bottom of the tank will dissolve in a few days and you remove it when you do your weekly, large water change. What's left behind will nourish your aquatic plants and be diluted in all the new replacement water.

Easy peazee,

Old
 

Nikki2577

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CraiginWales said:
I’ll have to do a change to sand I think. Thanks
How many Plecos would you recommend. I have one Calico atm



Would only bristle nose Pleco’s be suitable with the Cichlids . I really like gold nuggets, zebra etc
Just wanted to throw this out there about the golden nugget pleco, as far as I know they are not really algae eaters more carnivorous. Mine hides all the time and doesn’t touch algae and I have never seen him on the glass. He likes his caves and driftwood. They are beautiful though! Lol

I have a magna-float and they are really easy and work great. No wet hand or hanging halfway in the tank to clean the glass. They are expensive but I think they are worth it.

I tried the plant route with my Severums and that lasted all of a week! Lol I wish I could have plants but anything I put in there is gone in no time like you said. I do have a huge pothos in the back of my tank, it’s behind my 3D background so the Severums don’t eat the roots. It helped with nitrates a lot.

I also have a python and yes it’s pricey, about 75 bux for a 50’ hose but it makes life easier! No way could I change 50-70% water changes on a 210g tank with buckets. The only thing I do with my python is use that only to clean and empty the water and use a regular drink safe hose to fill up my tank. I don’t think it’s necessary but I like 2 separate hoses.

Good luck and I hope the things that people have suggested help. Good luck
 

jdhef

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CraiginWales said:
I’ll look into a python vs electric vacuum. Thanks. I’d heard somewhere though that they’re ridiculously expensive for what they are?



I like that idea. Thanks
Now that I have one, I would have paid twice as much. Now instead of saying something is the "greatest thing since sliced bread" I say things are the "greatest thing since the Python". It is so much easier to use than buckets and I kick myself for resisting getting for so long.
 
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CraiginWales

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Yes. I did try plants. Lol. Even the supposedly bitter tasting Anubias were gone in no time.
My water changes are quite easy. A tube from the tank out the back door to the drain & gravity & a hosepipe through the living room window to fill it back up. The temperature variation is minimal at 30% change week.
I can’t think of any extra benefits a python could provide? I’ll definitely be getting an internalUV steriliser, get rid of the gravel (which is a huge job in itself), & a magnetic cleaner.
Can anyone think of suitable fish for algae eating. I’m thinking Cory’s & Oto’s would just end up getting eaten. Thanks for letting me know about the fancier Pleco’s not being algae eaters, shame!
 

DecoyCat

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CraiginWales
I had a Severum with Coy's but he was young and smaller, he did chase them at food time but other than that left them alone. How big are your Severums? If you searched for some Cory's that were big enough, that wouldn't fit in their mouth, maybe it could work. Cory's really are the best.
I mean you could try it, they are fast. I really can't think of any other fish that would suit..
Great about the uv steriliser, and even better about getting rid of the gravel, magnetic cleaner for the glass is the best option ive seen too. It already sounds like you have the hoses right for water changes, save money and keep doing it that way if its working

Edit: Oops! You said algae eaters, I thought I read clean up crew lol
 

mattgirl

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CraiginWales said:
Can anyone think of suitable fish for algae eating. I’m thinking Cory’s & Oto’s would just end up getting eaten. Thanks for letting me know about the fancier Pleco’s not being algae eaters, shame!
there may be some corys that eat algae. I have albino, bronze and false julii. None of them eat algae. They actually prefer a meatier diet. They are perfect for cleaning up any food that gets to the bottom of the tank though. I call them my little vacuum cleaners. Of course they get their own special food along with any thing the other fish miss on the way down.

If you could get some big enough not to become fish food they definitely could help if your other fish are messy eaters. They would help keep the bottom cleaner.
 

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I have 3 siamese algae eaters and they have cleaned up my plants and decor amazingly. Two of them will actually join in on the feeding frenzy when my tetras eat. They will catch food floating before it reaches the bottom and of course I drop an algae tablet in about once a week. They have been well worth the little bit they cost. I still vacuum the gravel to get rid of anything hiding in there.
 
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CraiginWales

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I love Cory’s , the way they hang out in their little gang. I’m just concerned I won’t find any big enough. The Severums are full grown or nearly full grown, so.....probably not a good idea unless I can get some adults.
Siamese Algae Eaters, now these sound more promising. I will look into them, thanks.
 

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CraiginWales said:
I love Cory’s , the way they hang out in their little gang. I’m just concerned I won’t find any big enough. The Severums are full grown or nearly full grown, so.....probably not a good idea unless I can get some adults.
Siamese Algae Eaters, now these sound more promising. I will look into them, thanks.
If you want some larger catfish that will eat whatever falls to the bottom look up hoplo catfish. They are super cool and they don’t hide. They graze all the time looking for food. I have 4 in with my Severums. They are like giant corys! Lol
 

86 ssinit

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Sae are good algae eaters but they start out small so you would need to grow them out somewhere. A up filter will also kill algae I use the green killing machine in my 90 and it does work well. Also adding either apI co2 booster or flourish excell will also keep the algae away.

jdhef said:
See I would never use sand, it just doesn't look natural like my multicolored gravel does.
Yes nothing says natural like clown puke gravel .

I don’t think you need to remove your gravel. Just to much work. Old is right the stuff will just dissolve and be removed at water change time.
 

oldsalt777

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CraiginWales said:
HI all. Due to disability I’m starting to struggle maintaining my 5ft, 130g Severum & Acara tank.
I’ve sold a few Severums to reduce the biomass & will probably sell a few more. 6 Severums, 5 Acaras.
I can do weekly water changes no problem but when it comes to cleaning I’m struggling.
I can’t stand for too long to keep the glass free of algae. Weekly vacuuming is getting difficult. I don’t trust my balance on step ladders.
I’m thinking of getting an electric vacuum & would appreciate any recommendations on that.
Are there any ideas to keep maintenance to a minimum please? I’m determined not to give up my tank. Thanks
Hello again Craig...

It occurred to me that since the water changes aren't a problem, maybe you'd be interested in taking the next step in reducing the labor it takes to maintain your fish tank. Since you're getting out the gear to change the tank water, why not gradually work up to the point you remove and replace 75 percent. If you can commit to this practice weekly, you could gradually remove all the mechanical filtration. You wouldn't need it, because you're removing most of the pollutants before there's ever a build up. The bacteria lost by removing the filter would reproduce elsewhere on other objects or in the bottom material in a very short time. I keep several such tanks and as long as I remove and replace most of the water weekly, there's never a water chemistry problem.

Just a thought,

Old
 

Biff

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Fishstery said:
I don't have much experience with tanks that large or electric vacuums, but here are some quick ideas that may help even just a little bit.

It's my understanding tanks of that volume don't need weekly water changes unless it's easier for you to do more frequent, smaller water changes instead of just a larger 20 pr 30% once a month. You could rehome a few more fish and get a large school of algae eaters / bottom feeders to help you cut down on algae, and also to help clean up any uneaten food on the substrate and reduce the need to vacuum so much (I'm unsure if your fish are compatible, but just a thought). You can also go to lowes and buy a paint scraper with a long arm, one you attach a razor blade to. I'm not sure of your exact situation but maybe then it would be enough reach for you to pull up a chair and sit and scrape the glass? If you have any HOB filters you can get some potho or other large plants that people commonly use in their filters to help cut down on nitrates. These plants add beautiful aesthetics to your tank and having them rooted in your HOB will really help with water quality.

Oh and edit I just had another thought, if you aren't already using it, get some seachem purigen and add it to your filter. It will really help keep that water quality under control between water changes if you need to try and space them out as much as possible. I hope this helps!
Otos are wonderful glass cleaners.
 

FishSkull

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To keep it short, and as recommended by others:
  • Add purigen to your current filtration, it will remove nitrogen and phosphates from the water and can be reuse by using a bleach solution to reactivate/clean it,
  • The magfloat scrapper blade is a snap-in razor blade that you attach to the magfloat and is does wonders to remove stuck algae from glass,
  • Adding a HOB filter will help you to collect detritus and you can add a pothos plant to help take nutrients from the water,
  • Add an in-line UV filter to your current filtration will kill any remaining algae in the water column,
  • Recommended to change the substrate to pool sand filter which you find really cheap in any hardware or pool supply store,
  • I won't recommend you to get a pleco, instead look for any active bottom feeder that continuously work on moving your substrate (preferable sand) and that is compatible with your current stock. They will release any detritus or mulm from the substrate into the water column that will be picked up by a HOB or other filtration.
 

Harry Croushore

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Fishstery said:
I don't have much experience with tanks that large or electric vacuums, but here are some quick ideas that may help even just a little bit.

It's my understanding tanks of that volume don't need weekly water changes unless it's easier for you to do more frequent, smaller water changes instead of just a larger 20 pr 30% once a month. You could rehome a few more fish and get a large school of algae eaters / bottom feeders to help you cut down on algae, and also to help clean up any uneaten food on the substrate and reduce the need to vacuum so much (I'm unsure if your fish are compatible, but just a thought). You can also go to lowes and buy a paint scraper with a long arm, one you attach a razor blade to. I'm not sure of your exact situation but maybe then it would be enough reach for you to pull up a chair and sit and scrape the glass? If you have any HOB filters you can get some potho or other large plants that people commonly use in their filters to help cut down on nitrates. These plants add beautiful aesthetics to your tank and having them rooted in your HOB will really help with water quality.

Oh and edit I just had another thought, if you aren't already using it, get some seachem purigen and add it to your filter. It will really help keep that water quality under control between water changes if you need to try and space them out as much as possible. I hope this helps!
Plants in HOB filters? Never heard of that.
 

Mongo75

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RHONDA PIMENTEL said:
I totally agree with mongo. After a ton of research back an fourth, I ended up with the eheim vac and love it. Got it for a great price on Amazon.
Just curious, have you had any problems with the impeller jamming? I did the first few times I used it, but seem to have learned how to finesse it and not have it jam
 

Dave125g

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Most people consider them pests, but ramshorn snails will keep your tank algae free. They also eat dead leaves. My 40 gallon is loaded with them. All I do to that tank is change the water. It never has leftovers, dead leaves or any type of algae.
 

RHONDA PIMENTEL

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Harry Croushore said:
Plants in HOB filters? Never heard of that.
Actually I have pothos in all of my 4 tanks. They suck up a ton of nitrates. I had to remove one once because it was taking too much nitrates from my aquarium plants in my ten gal. Just my experience.

Mongo75 said:
Just curious, have you had any problems with the impeller jamming? I did the first few times I used it, but seem to have learned how to finesse it and not have it jam
No probs yet..fingers crossed.

I mostly use the electric for cleaning up uneaten food and the python for big jobs.
 

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