Very different results from gravel cleanings

Redviper

Greetings! Without any major changes over the last couple of months, all of a sudden I'm not finding near as much dark detritus when we vacuum. What I see mostly now are tiny bits of white material and thin clouds of detritus. This is a good thing, I think!

We vacuum a third of the tank (72in. wide) and change 50% of 125g on average every week. The one change I've made recently that MIGHT have something to do with it is that I've stopped using an auto feeder. Any ideas/theories about this issue would be greatly appreciated.
 

smee82

Id guess your auto feeder is feeding more then when you do it by hand.
 
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Redviper

Id guess your auto feeder is feeding more then when you do it by hand.

The change is so glaring that I wanted the improvement to be based on something "bigger." However, considering my tendency to overfeed, not using the AF is a fine reason for the improvement I'm seeing. Since I have your attention smee, I have a question for you (or anyone else). Do you use activated carbon in a tank and if so do you use it all the time?
 
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carsonsgjs

The change is so glaring that I wanted the improvement to be based on something "bigger." However, considering my tendency to overfeed, not using the AF is a fine reason for the improvement I'm seeing. Since I have your attention smee, I have a question for you (or anyone else). Do you use activated carbon in a tank and if so do you use it all the time?
For what its worth redviper, i dont use it at all. I have unopened bags of the stuff from various filter purchases over the years stuffed away in a drawer.

It has its uses, i just dont need to use it.
 
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smee82

The change is so glaring that I wanted the improvement to be based on something "bigger." However, considering my tendency to overfeed, not using the AF is a fine reason for the improvement I'm seeing. Since I have your attention smee, I have a question for you (or anyone else). Do you use activated carbon in a tank and if so do you use it all the time?

No to carbon but i do use that seachem stuff. I feel like a huge idiot but im drawing a blank on what its called. Notably clearer looking water and no cyano after i started using it, so its something id probably always add to all my tanks.
 
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Redviper

For what its worth redviper, i dont use it at all. I have unopened bags of the stuff from various filter purchases over the years stuffed away in a drawer.

It has its uses, i just dont need to use it.

I used to be the same way. Just tons of things accumulated from ancient purchaser's I had no attention of using. All it took was 2-episodes of Hoarders to change my mind. :)

I stopped using activated carbon about 2-years ago after reading that the only reason to use it was to remove meds. Recently I was wondering about a weird algae growth that I've never had before (I used AC religiously). So I decided to run some carbon again. The algae weirdness/minor cloudiness stopped, in less than 4-days. This would seem to mean that there's something that carbon removes that filtration and water changes aren't, and haven't been stripping from my water for the past 2-years.
 
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A201

IMO, The change from dark detritus accumulation to white detritus is an indication that the BB residing in the substrate has grown to the point where it's actually become a filter.
I haven't gravel vacuumed my heavily stocked tanks in years. The BB in the substrate quickly devours waste & even in rare occasions a dead fish.
Any remaining remnants of waste has simply become harmless white dust residue.
IMO, a 25% - 50% weekly WC is still required, along with a quality filtration system.
 
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Redviper

IMO, The change from dark detritus accumulation to white detritus is an indication that the BB residing in the substrate has grown to the point where it's actually become a filter.
I haven't gravel vacuumed my heavily stocked tanks in years. The BB in the substrate quickly devours waste & even in rare occasions a dead fish.

That's fabulous news! It justifies a large expense I tried on a lark about 8-months ago. It also means we can carefully increase stock levels without undo worry.

IMO, a 25% - 50% weekly WC is still required, along with a quality filtration system.

We're aces on both. I've made a deal for a good RO/DI unit complete with a custom install, with an eye toward having cleaner\safer drinking water and ease of water changes. As for filtration, I have an OASE 600 and a new FX4. All I need now is a red-nose puppy and two trees trimmed in order to be complete. :)
 
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