04-05-2007, 03:21 PM
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Don't sell yourself short Jones, I have been back at this for 2.5 years so I too have a lot to learn still. The only thing I have going is spending a lot of time working with some really good keepers. There are those that keep heavily planted tanks and NEVER gravel vac. They can't because the plants are so thick and they have a ground cover that they can not do it. Gravel vacs are not technically needed in a planted tank. The only time you really have to worry is if you get a release of gas bubbles AND they smell like rotten eggs. This means there is a buildup of anaerobic bacteria creating sulfur gas that can be deadly to fish if released in a large enough quantity. If you think you can get away with it, simply wave your hand around in the tank to get the larger stuff of the bottom and suck it up with the syphon. If you can get ahold of them, and keep them alive, get MTS and you may never have to gravel vac again.
I gravel vac my tanks because I over feed. I admit it and do it because I want the snails to grow fairly well. That and I have such a diverse fish population that I can never tell what is being eaten when.