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Old 12-28-2008, 09:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cleaning a planted tank

I was just curious, I haven't seen this discussed. I like to keep my tanks clean, but I like
to feed my fish a lot. Up until now, I have had none or few plants in my aquarium so gravel
vacing once or twice a week took care of it. How do you keep a heavily planted tank clean enough? You obviously can't gravel vac it.

Thanks!
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cleaning a planted tank

You don't overfeed. You just can't get in and around all the plant roots. That's way feeding and correct fish stocking is so important. You need to have a good clean up crew like corys, shrimp, khuli loaches, etc to get in and around all the plants for the pieces that fall.

I also think that's why good water movement and filtration are important. If you keep a max of fish you need to have these at a higher level.

Anyway... that's my 2 cents!
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Old 12-28-2008, 11:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cleaning a planted tank

I clean when I do an uprooting.
1. Shut the filter off,
2. Run a system one diatom filter
3. Uproot the section I will be working on
4. Let the whole thing settle for a half hour
5. Vacuum the section (surface only)
6. Replant
7. Run the system one for several hours.
8. Turn on the main filter.
I find it's important to get all of the biomass out of the substrate, so I am careful about getting all of the root ball out when I uproot.
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Old 12-28-2008, 12:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cleaning a planted tank

Usually, when I do gravel vac(which is rarely), I just put the tip of the gravel vac just above my groundcover plants. For areas where my stems are, I just kind of stir up all the gunk on the and suck it up. Never had any problems with uprooting. Just make sure you don't vac right after re-planting. Give the plants some time to root in. Hth...
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Old 12-28-2008, 02:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cleaning a planted tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattmathis View Post
I was just curious, I haven't seen this discussed. I like to keep my tanks clean, but I like
to feed my fish a lot. Up until now, I have had none or few plants in my aquarium so gravel
vacing once or twice a week took care of it. How do you keep a heavily planted tank clean enough? You obviously can't gravel vac it.

Thanks!
I'm a converted overfeeder. It's a bad idea to overfeed in a planted tank because you will encourage algae growth. With a planted tank you probably now leave the light on, so it is easy to grow algae now if you're not careful, whereas before there was not enough light to have much algae.

If you like to feed often, because you like to see your fish eat as I do - it's a good idea to feed very little each time. I feed flake 2x daily very small amount. Every other day I feed a frozen cube of shrimp which is a little too big to be eaten quickly so I know that the slow eaters are getting their fill. My 2 Cents.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cleaning a planted tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattmathis View Post
How do you keep a heavily planted tank clean enough?
As recommended by Tex Gal, do not overfeed. When you do NOT overfeed, the gravel surface remains very very clean. But when there was a need to clean, I found Penn-Plax's Air-Vac to be quite effective:

http://www.shopwiki.com/detail?s=343833&o=151069425

Oh, I almost forgot my clean-up crew - the pond snails. They do a very good job at picking up any left over. Thus, the gravel surface remains spotless.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cleaning a planted tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by bartoli View Post
As recommended by Tex Gal, do not overfeed. When you do NOT overfeed, the gravel surface remains very very clean. But when there was a need to clean, I found Penn-Plax's Air-Vac to be quite effective:

http://www.shopwiki.com/detail?s=343833&o=151069425

Oh, I almost forgot my clean-up crew - the pond snails. They do a very good job at picking up any left over. Thus, the gravel surface remains spotless.
Hey I liked the looks of that vacuum. I ordered one form Big Al's for 5.49. I have the battery operated one from Eheim but sometimes it does not do well in shallow tanks.
Thanks for the post.
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cleaning a planted tank

All great answers! Thank you everyone!
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cleaning a planted tank

IME the best tool I have for cleaning my tank is the Python. I can change water, gravel vac and refill the tank with one tool. I love the thing and it has cut down my weekly maintenance by like 1.5 hours.

As others have said I just lightly stir up the substrate in hard to reach areas with the filter off. Other than that I just do weekly 50 to 70% watwer changes.
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cleaning a planted tank

yes---Pythons are a great help! One of the best tools I have for my tank....highly recommended.

The debris on my tank bottom is mostly pleco poop (digested driftwood).
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