Noob Question

Discussion in 'Aquarium Aquascaping' started by Hyler, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Hyler

    HylerNew MemberMember


    So, I want to (eventually) have a planted / decorated tank, with natural rocks and driftwood. I already have some of the stuff in there, and it's becoming difficult to clean around and under it. So my question is, how do you clean the gravel in that case?

    I have some of the driftwood in the back of the tank, and it's making access to the gravel behind it exceedingly difficult. Also, cleaning around (as in, right next to) it and underneath it is also difficult, unless I move it, but I don't want to move it all the time.

    How do you guys do it? Do you just vacuum once before putting it in really well, and then don't worry about it? Do you let the plants take care of all the that falls in through the gravel (at least in the plants' vicinity)?

    Any ideas are appreciated.


    - George
  2. Nutter

    NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I don't know about others but I just very gently wiggle my gravel vac into the places that I want it being carefull not to break any plant stems. If the substrate is totally covered with plants I don't vaccuum those areas at all. Only vaccuum the surface of the gravel, don't dig the vaccuum down into it.
  3. OP

    HylerNew MemberMember

    Yes, but if I do dig deeper into the gravel, more cloudy stuff comes out. Even after I've vacuumed once, there seems to always be more. Should I not worry about it? In one of my tanks I have about 2.5 inches of gravel (I want to eventually have it planted) and I'm sure there's a ton of gunk and there on that bottom one inch that I can't quite reach.

    Is that OK, then?

    - George
  4. Nutter

    NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Don't worry about the stuff further down in the substrate. Much of it will be used as nutrients by your plants & if you are digging right down into the gravel with the vaccuum you run a high risk of damaging your plants roots as well as destroying/disturbing the beneficial bacteria population that is present in the gravel. You only need to worry about the surface of the gravel.
  5. funkman262

    funkman262Well Known MemberMember

    Just curious, in a heavily planted tank is it really even necessary to vacuum the top except for looks?
  6. Nutter

    NutterFishlore VIPMember

    It depends just how densley the tank is planted & what kind of fish are in there really. If there are loaches & such that will stir up the detrius on the bottom it is a good idea to clean as much of the gravel as you can to stop them stirring up all the rubbish & clouding the tank/clogging the filter. I only clean the areas of gravel that don't have much in the way of plants & don't worry about the rest of it that is hard to get to. Always lightly vaccuum areas that have a carpet plant but that is mainly to remove collected detrius from the plants themselves rather than clean the substrate.

    The short answer would be: no you don't really need to vaccuum the substrate unless you have fish that are making a mess down there. I guess if too much collects on the surface of the gravel though it would stop/slow water flow through the gravel & that wouldn't be a good thing.