Hmm better try that when I convert my 20 gallon. Dont want to suck out loachs or sand. Thanks for the idea never thought about that one...
That is a terrific idea.
The ammonia is the same unfortunately so I'm doing another changeI rubber band a bamboo skewer or chopstick to the siphon so that it sticks out a couple inches. It stirs up the debris so the siphon can do its job.
And for the ammonia... definitely do the water change. I see you already did, but keep testing and doing water changes until you get it sorted.
So what should I be doing?When the substrate gets moved in any way bacteria die off because the position of bacteria to the water flow gets changed. This especially happens with sand if the top layer is disturbed because it packs densely. Currently in progress is a 50% water change. Tank data is 50% sand / 50% med pebble. So what the employee told you is partially correct. You have to be careful you aren't upsetting the cycle much more with sand than other substrates. This is exactly why you are now seeing ammonia come up, just as I do.
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I have a 5 gallon with very little sand and no matter what I do I seem to vacuum up a ton of sand. I'm also deathly afraid of catching one of my shrimps I need to try the panty hose methodWhat I do is the swirl method above the substrate, decorations get moved some just to get to debris that maybe underneath them if they are hollow or have created some type of dead spot in the tank due to disruption of the filters circulation.