Gravel - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-23-2012, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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How often to vacuum the gravel in my 40-gallon freshwater tank? The tank has lots of plants. Fish are doing well, including my clown loaches. I have been vacuuming every 2 weeks. I went a couple of times 4 weeks. Is vacuuming the gravel disruptive to the plants? Should I stop and only vacuum if the tank water gets cloudy from debris? I do 50% water changes every week. My tank's parameters hold up steady each time I check them (once a week checks).

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post #2 of 4 Old 01-23-2012, 07:57 PM
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I only have a few live plants in my 75G African cichlid tank, what I usually do, is vacuum the substrate (sand in my case) while I am doing the water change.

That way I can suck everything out at the same time.

10g Fry / Hospital / QT tank (as needed)

75g Saltwater Reef, Ocellaris Clownfish, Lyretail Antias (baby), Lemon damsel, Longtail Fairy Wrasse, purple dottyback, snails, crabs and a few LPS corals.

220g Still sitting empty (come on Lottery I need the numbers to come up!)
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-23-2012, 08:19 PM
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I uased to vacuum the open areas, but now I don't even do that in planted tanks. The major source of CO2 is the breakdown of organics by bacteria in the substrate, and in a natural planted setup you want to retain and use all the natural CO2 you can. There are also other bacteria and de-nitrification issues that should not be messed with. Some aquarists suggest no aquarium should have the substrate "cleaned" but I certainly think the substrate in a planted tank should be left alone.

You can get a bit more info on this here:


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-23-2012, 11:31 PM
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for the most part, not at all,, and usually ppl thing they need to vac all the time, becose the gravel is so dirty,, well more often that not if the gravel is that dirty,their overfeeding
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