Noob Question

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Hyler

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Hi!

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.

Thanks!

- George
 

Nutter

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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 vacuum those areas at all. Only vacuum the surface of the gravel, don't dig the vacuum down into it.
 
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Hyler

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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
 

Nutter

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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 vacuum 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.
 

funkman262

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

Nutter

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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 vacuum 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 vacuum 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.
 
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