Originally Posted by bettababy
I usually advise doing a gravel vac once - twice/month. I am always careful to warn against "over cleaning" an aquarium. It's important to remember that the bacteria culture living in the gravel bed is one of the largest sources of your bacteria culture ...
BB is "right on here"!
I am still gaining experience and have had several "crispy critter" pumps in my wet/dry sump area.
I normally keep two backup pumps (a new one and a rebuilt one)[there is no such thing as "off the shelf" magnetic drive aquarium pumps in San Angelo].
Weekend before last I was out of town, one of my staff did not properly change the mechanical media, flooded the sump area and had to replace the "crispy critter" pump with a rebuilt one.
I ordered two new pumps when I got home.
Last Wednesday this pump went out, I "went to get another one" out of the garage and no joy!!
I turned up the oxygen diffusers which Chris had put in the tank for aesthetics and started monitoring ammonia and nitrites.
Sunday afternoon nitrites finally rose above 0.3 [ammonia was still at detectable 0 ~ go figure] and yesterday I purchased a "high end" Eheim (not for filtration but for pumping from the wet/dry sump back to the tank) [CM thinks "a lot" of Eheim's but they do not function very well hydraulically ie.
this one is pumping significantly less than the rated capacity against a static head].
The "moral of the story" is that the ammonia and nitrite digestion bacteria in the surface of the substrate, the cracks in the wood, the deformities of the rocks continued functioning (ie. the wet/dry filtration was "down") and the digestion capacity may have even increased due to the increase in oxygen saturation of the water in the tank!