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Gravel - to clean or not to clean
#1
When I do a water change I use the siphon to suck up as much of the surface of the gravel to clean amongst it. Should I do this or is it better to let the general detritus left to decompose?
65L
6 Platy 
2 Celestial Pearl Danio 
8 Endlers 
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#2
It’s a good idea to gravel vac. As you’ll never get all of it some will decompose and help to feed the plants but you don’t want loads as it can make nitrates get high.


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500L Sooperhooge Goldfish tank Smile
12L The Startank Aquaprise - Decommissioned Sad
200L The Barbarium….Green Tiger Barbs and Nerite snails
20L Nano Marine.....stocking in progress!
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#3
My gravel is a bit hard to clean, plants rocks and such like in the way. I understand the roots of plants draw nutrients from debris and of course I have about 13 ready made hoovers with the Corys Big Grin
Saying that I sometimes get in with the vac, move the easy decos and ‘dot’ it about it lift up stuff.
Bikini Bottom - 168l - community
The Kremlin - 58l - Shrimp and Cory 
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#4
I think I've done mine twice in 3 months. It looks pretty clear and I don't have any big, messy fish. The Amanos are like mobile vacuum cleaners.
[Image: 2Tsph5y]
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#5
(23-04-2019, 11:09 PM)Jota Wrote: I think I've done mine twice in 3 months.  It looks pretty clear and I don't have any big, messy fish. The Amanos are like mobile vacuum cleaners.

Oh yes, we have the Amano cleaners too  Tongue
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#6
Hi Gill,

It's not a good idea to leave detritus to decompose. As Cheltgirl says, it may raise the nitrate to an unacceptable level (greater than 20ppm). But it will also raise the phosphate level which, in combination with nitrate, may fuel an algae outbreak. It can also reduce dissolved oxygen to a dangerous level (less than 5ppm). BTW, it's not a good idea to go deep into the gravel layer. It's best to just remove surface detritus. Going deep into the gravel can release a type of bacteria that can cause a bacterial 'bloom' and the water will go cloudy. Whoever said that fishkeeping is easy?  Rolleyes 

L.
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#7
(24-04-2019, 09:36 PM)LexIcon Wrote: Hi Gill,

It's not a good idea to leave detritus to decompose. As Cheltgirl says, it may raise the nitrate to an unacceptable level (greater than 20ppm). But it will also raise the phosphate level which, in combination with nitrate, may fuel an algae outbreak. It can also reduce dissolved oxygen to a dangerous level (less than 5ppm). BTW, it's not a good idea to go deep into the gravel layer. It's best to just remove surface detritus. Going deep into the gravel can release a type of bacteria that can cause a bacterial 'bloom' and the water will go cloudy. Whoever said that fishkeeping is easy?  Rolleyes 

L.
Thanks, yes I think I’ll carry on as I’ve been doing, getting the siphon to wherever I can get it and cleaning as much as I can.
65L
6 Platy 
2 Celestial Pearl Danio 
8 Endlers 
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#8
When you do another rescape of the tank, consider sand or a plant substrate as an alternative to gravel. No gravel vac required, just hoover up the bits that sit on the top, done Smile

Takes me very little time to clean my sand or plant substrate tanks, because with sand the detritus sits on top there is more chance the filter will pick it up, and with plant substrate...well there is no need to touch it!
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#9
(24-04-2019, 09:36 PM)LexIcon Wrote: Hi Gill,

It's not a good idea to leave detritus to decompose. As Cheltgirl says, it may raise the nitrate to an unacceptable level (greater than 20ppm). But it will also raise the phosphate level which, in combination with nitrate, may fuel an algae outbreak. It can also reduce dissolved oxygen to a dangerous level (less than 5ppm). BTW, it's not a good idea to go deep into the gravel layer. It's best to just remove surface detritus. Going deep into the gravel can release a type of bacteria that can cause a bacterial 'bloom' and the water will go cloudy. Whoever said that fishkeeping is easy?  Rolleyes 

L.

Most fish can tolerate 40ppm Nitrate, being the lesser of the three evils. Lots of us have high levels out of the tap, mine for instance is 38ppm, legal limit is 40ppm. But I use a Nitrate removal filter and a RO unit.
Juwel Rio 450 LED

14 Rummynose Tetras
12 Glowlight Tetras
15 Cardinal Tetras
5 Red Phantom Tetras
4 Silvertip Tetras
5 Cherry Barbs
1 Pearl Gourami (female)
5 Sterbai Corys
3 Bandit Corys 
1 Panda Corys 
2 Bristlenose Plecs (how many) and  2 babys.
4 Bolivian Rams
10 Lemon Tetras

Tank 87% stocked  Smile
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#10
My tap nitrate hovers around 20-30 and the tanks are pretty much that maybe a little higher so don't worry if yours is higher than 20. If yours were rising by 20 or more above your tap level between water changes then you may have a problem that needs looking at.

A gravel vac of the bits you can get to will get the worst of it. Every now and then move bits of décor and vac under them. You'll be fine Smile
500L Sooperhooge Goldfish tank Smile
12L The Startank Aquaprise - Decommissioned Sad
200L The Barbarium….Green Tiger Barbs and Nerite snails
20L Nano Marine.....stocking in progress!
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