Absolutely, I guess I was more of specifying that you don't want to literally clean out your filter all the time. Just give a little rinse.
Yeah and there is no argument from me on the algae thing there.
What do you mean 1/2 the substrate? Only the left side and not the right? or the top and not the bottom?
I literally don't even touch my substrate. Ever. Only vacuum up surface debris, but the substrate never moves. This was recommended to me by several experience hobbyist on here and other forums.
Yeah that is what I meant with the filter sponge. I do the same. That is what I was suggesting in order to keep the decomposing debris out. Another good thing to do is clean the filter intake every water change. It gets lodged easily. Things I like to avoid are scrubbing the inside of the filter every week, changing filter pads every week--complete overhaul stuff.
Byron has posted a great article on substrate. It goes into this matter and gives a lot of information on dead areas in the substrate and how bacteria, dept and other things effect it. Great article. I'm still having to refer to it every so often because it's very informative.
My substrate is between 1-2 inches thick, I have well rooted plants and I don't touch my gravel. My plants root through the substrate to keep it from having dead spots. I keep adding more plants to try and fill in areas I feel are empty and not rooted.
So far so good.
I do agree with you that decomposing matter, nitrogens and phosphorus are not good for fish. I want to do my best to keep them as low as I can, even considering my circumstances. Not vacuuming the substrate seems to work very well for me and others while keeping toxic levels down. In my tank its hard to see that because of the high nitrate levels in my tap water.
I'm going to start doing weekly test before and after a water change to see the different in Nitrates to see if the water removed more than it put in.
If you haven't thrown away your vacuum by now, by "half the tank" I meant half of the substrate at a time to leave the bacteria on the other side to do their good work.
Last edited by equatics; 07-06-2012 at 08:44 PM.