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Gravel vacuuming around plants?


Martin
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Hi all!

I nearing the time to do my first gravel vacuuming of my first planted tank and wanted to solicit for advice on how to do so.  The tank is planted pretty heavily and I'm worried about uprooting plants and/or disturbing the scape too heavily.  Do you guys have any tips or advice?  Also, have any of you had any good experiences with a small vac that you would recommend purchasing?  I had to sacrifice my current one during the winter storm to jury rig it into a makeshift water agitator, but it was HUGE and not a candidate for repurchase.  The inlet tube would need to no more than a 1" diameter.   Thanks in advance!

Edited by Martin
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Getting a small diameter cheap vac is the route I would go for. All of them operate pretty much the same. I prefer python products just because the one I used that attaches to the sink is older than I am (26). Getting suction with these is kinda a pain the first few attempts but works the same as siphoning gas. then just lightly press into the substrate near the plants as to not disturb the roots. 

 

Interestingly, if you have a python vacuum that hooks into a faucet, you can set it to blow water lightly to agitate the debris out of the medium, then suck it up while it is free floating in the aquarium.

Edited by Biotope Biologist
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I second @Biotope Biologist. I use a small python siphon to vacuum when I'm doing water changes, and it works just fine.

I have some dwarf grass that is a little finicky, so I just press and hold gently on the area for a count of 2-3, and then pinch the hose to release any fine substrate while the particulate floats. Then I release the hose, and any particulate just comes right up.

Edited by Gestaltgal
Pressed safe too fast!
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any size siphon you like will work. as for vacuuming the gravel near the plants. get as close as you are comfortable with, and you can just suck the debris off the top near the plants. there is no need to totally clean the gravel. especially with plants that is counter productive, as that debris as it breaks down becomes plant food.

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Thanks @lefty o, I actually hadn't considered that.  Now that I think about it, I'm really vacuuming moreso out of habit from before when I did not have a planted tank and did so monthly.  Given my tank is pretty heavily planted, do you think monthly vacuuming is necessary assuming water parameters hold stable?  The inhabitants are 10 neon tetra, 5 ghost shrimp, and 2 nerite snails.  They do a very good job at feeding time and usually any food that makes it to the floor are taken up by the shrimp.

Edited by Martin
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