Vacuuming Sand In Planted Tank?

Geena

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The lady I was taking to at petsmart told me not to vacuum my sand? I have a 5 gallon with a betta two snails and two ghost shrimp. Is she right? I have a planted tank and it would be difficult not to suck up my shrimp lol
 

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You shouldn't vacuum a planted tank like a non planted tank, just hover the siphon above the substrate, opposed to pushing it down into it.
 

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First of all d0nt listen to Petsmart people, Ive learned that many times... Wont put out any examples. Anyway agree with above. I even took out my siphon piace for my 5 gallon planted tank with shrimp and just hovered the tube over the sand to suck that stuff out. Worked well.
 

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Sometimes (not every time) I use a piece of old panty hose rubber-banded to my siphon intake which allows me to get up close to the sand.
 

CanadianFishFan

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HORNET1 said:
Sometimes (not every time) I use a piece of old panty hose rubber-banded to my siphon intake which allows me to get up close to the sand.
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...
 

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I vacuum the sand in my tank often. I am not sure why she would tell you that. Just needs to be done like mentioned above rather than jamming the wand into it like you would with gravel. I rarely get any sand that doesn't fall back down out of the tube. Once you get the hang of it, to me it is much easier than gravel to clean.
 
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Geena

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HORNET1 said:
Sometimes (not every time) I use a piece of old panty hose rubber-banded to my siphon intake which allows me to get up close to the sand.
That is a terrific idea.
Thanks everyone she had me believing I was going to be removing all of my beneficial bacteria and food for my snails and shrimps.

How often and how much water should I be removing?
 
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Geena

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Okay now I just tested my water and my ammonia is spiked at 0.25 should I do a 25% water change with prime? Or more?
 

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I don't see any reason not to go after debris on top of the sand every single time you do a water change. If you are in there with a siphon anyway, why not get the bottom of the tank too?

As max h just said, you can swirl it around near the sand to get any poop or whatever into the siphon without sticking it into the sand. You don't need to stick in into the sand as the debris should just rest on top of it. But I think it is important to go for that debris every time you are in there changing water anyway.

I mean...give me one good reason not to....
 
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Geena

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Okay thanks everyone but now my Main issue is that my ammonia reading is spiked after adding the shrimps should I do partial water changes until its gone?
 
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Geena

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I just did about a 30% water change with prime I'll check again in the morning and see how it's faired thanks everyone again
 

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HORNET1 said:
Sometimes (not every time) I use a piece of old panty hose rubber-banded to my siphon intake which allows me to get up close to the sand.
this is a brilliant idea. thank you
 

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I 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.
 
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Geena

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FLDawna said:
I 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.
The ammonia is the same unfortunately so I'm doing another change

Do you take all your decor out every time you siphon?
 

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No I don't remove them every time I vacuum, but about every 3rd time probably.
What's going on that your ammonia levels are spiking? Definitely keep doing the daily water changes as often as needed until it zeros out.
 

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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.

upload_2018-9-7_17-0-13.png
 
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Geena

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w3amz said:
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.

upload_2018-9-7_17-0-13.png
So what should I be doing?
 

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What 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.
 

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I don't have experience with what you are keeping so I can't give data on how toxic 0.25 ppm Ammonia is for you. Did you check your nitrites and nitrates as well?
Hopefully someone else who keeps the same things can tell you where you have to control your levels at with what you have with water changes until it evens out again. Luckily bacteria colonies can double in size in about 11 hours @ 75-77F but it's highly temperature based the colder the water is the longer it takes.
 
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Geena

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max h said:
What 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.
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 method

w3amz said:
I don't have experience with what you are keeping so I can't give data on how toxic 0.25 ppm Ammonia is for you. Did you check your nitrites and nitrates as well?
Hopefully someone else who keeps the same things can tell you where you have to control your levels at with what you have.
Everything else is perfect
 

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