11-19-2011, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by hywaydave
So you're saying that you shouldn't vacuum the gravel during water changes in a planted tank? Don't you eventually need to remove some of the waste in the gravel?
Yes to the first question, No to the second. Provided the tank is biologically balanced.
There is quite a complex biological process going on in the substrate of a healthy aquarium, and in my view it should not be disturbed. You can read the detail in the second part of my article: Bacteria in the Freshwater Aquarium
But in a nutshell, all the waste works down into the substrate where bacteria break it down; snails help considerably as they break down the larger bits quicker, making it easier for the bacteria. This produces nutrients. CO2 as previously mentioned, but also many others. Plant roots and different bacteria use some of these, and plant roots produce oxygen, and a lot of it. The depth of the substrate affects all this, as does the fish and plant load.
It is yet another example of letting nature do the work, because nature is just better at doing it than all our technological equipment.