Plants growing in substrate, how to vacuum/clean?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by RonDutt, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. RonDuttValued MemberMember

    I turned my old 29g into a planted tank (not sure what to put in it yet--currently has my two RCS and some zebra danios). I left it alone for about 2 weeks (aside from feeding) and noticed wiiitle tiny plants growing out of the substrate! IMO it looks AMAZING!! They look to be Downoi so theyre going to stay small. My question is, how can I clean up the gravel if there are plants growing in it!? The danios don't make much of a mess but given a few months, the gravel will most likely look like a septic tank. I do plan on making this into a full on invert/shrimp tank, their bioload is is low but they do poop :p we all poop :D Will the plants take care of leftover "stuff" at the bottom or is there a better non-abusive way of cleaning the gravel without disturbing the downia? From the looks of it, the downia will soon take over the floor of the tank...

    Misc info:
    I NEVER use any copper products in this tank (due to this tank possibly becoming a full invert tank, not to mention the two RCS already in it). I check and double and triple check any fertalizers or plant food I add.
  2. Kerber23Valued MemberMember

    I normaly clean my small plants by taking some air tubing... and siphoning the area around it... taking care not to suck up gravel/sand... :)
  3. harpua2002

    harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    I just gravel vac gently around the plants, and do the best that I can. For the non-planted areas, just gravel vac as you normally would.

  4. rt12Valued MemberMember

    In my planted/reef tanks I don't vaccum clean the substrate and I have no issues at all with toxic levels. But you could do it by gently making a current over the plants which will kick up some ditrius that you can remove with a baby fish net. It won't remove ditrius deep down but will remove some. Honestly I think its not worth it
  5. OP

    RonDuttValued MemberMember

    I got an air bubbler to inject water instead of air that I take from the tank I use it to "blow" tank water at the substrate which kicks up stuff and moves around loose gravel. Not powerful enough to do any damage at the root level but enough to rustle up anything sitting on the surface. I then use my normal siphon to pick up the dirty water :D Since the plants are fairly new I don't want to just leave it as the detritus may be too much for the plants to handle (and I don't want to risk changes to the water chemistry).
  6. Kerber23Valued MemberMember

    Well that works :D RonDutt... :eek: i think ima start doing that now
  7. OP

    RonDuttValued MemberMember

    Haha there are some nice perks to having a technological/inventor background :D
  8. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning. It's my understanding that you don't want to vacuum "too well" in a planted tank and remove all of the nutrients from the substrate that the plants need to survive. The food waste and fish waste acts as a fertilizer/food for the plants. Someone correct me please if I'm wrong. :)
  9. OP

    RonDuttValued MemberMember

    You're right Ken, that was my main concern (along with digging in too deep with the siphon that it ends up damaging the roots--some roots can get several feet in length!). The water push method only grabs anything just sitting on the surface and things a quarter to half inch down in the substrate (whatever the flow of water is able to move around). The twice I've used this method, doesn't look like any harm has come to even the smallest of plants. I did get one of my RCS to jump out of the tank though =/

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