05-18-2011, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Austin
Yea, I guess it is mulm. I can see the mulm against the glass in the rocks. This brown stuff settled into the rocks. Do you have to clean the gravel in unplanted tanks? It seems my fish never do too well and im wondering if this causes bad water. My water has always looked clean. Like, for example, a large potion of my tank will be plant free, but it is a hassel to gravel those certain areas.... i might just suck the stuff of the top part of the gravel but i don't want to steal the nutrients either. When I gravel vacuum, the water is BLACK. It is disgusting and I do not feel like that can be healthy for the fish to be living with that...
As Mikaila and I have both indicated, the substrate is meant to be "dirty" when you have plants. And that is not unhealthy, quite the opposite. There is an army of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria living throughout the substrate and these break down organics (fish waste, uneaten food, dead plant/animal matter, dead bacteria, etc) into various substances including nutrients. The plant roots are part of this "team" and provide considerable oxygen, and a steady flow of water throughout the substrate (this occurs naturally) is another important part; Malaysian livebearing snails are also a good component because they work through the substrate helping to keep it loose so all this occurs even better, and they break down large bits into smaller bits that are more easily handled by bacteria and plants. Provided the tank is not overstocked such that the organics are overloading the system, this is not unhealthy.
The fish not doing too well is something we can explore, if you could be more specific. And if so, please include tank size, fish in it, and plants. If something is out of balance, it will affect the natural biology.