Originally Posted by Welsh
Dealing with compaction is a walk on the beach compared to maintaining the appearance of the sand lol
Much of what I see looks as though it could be vaccumed up. I have two tanks with sand substrate, and I use the gravel vaccum when performing water changes to lightly hover over the sand about an inch or two and it works well at picking up debri and waste from fishes.
Some folks make the mistake of stirring the sand first and then vaccuming it. This will allow that which you are trying to remove (debri, waste), to get lodged down in the sand . Much better to vaccum up all the loose debri first,then take a fork or your fingers and gently stir or move through the sand to help ensure that there are no dead areas which some concern themselves with.
I personally believe if sand is no deeper than two inches, there is little need for worry bout anaerobic areas and or gases produced by same.
Have also found that malaysian trumpet snails do a very good job of aerating the sand bed, as well as sifting through it in their never ending quest for food. Yes their numbers can get out of hand ,but if one does not overfeed the fish,then their numbers are manageable in my opinion. I would not have a sand substrate without them. They also supply food for plants from the waste they create and help oxygenate the root areas of the plants.
This along with once a month root tabs at base of rooted plants,fish foods offered to fish, and waste created by same,often produces moderate to good plant growth with sand In my expierience.
Shrimp could also be of benefit in this tank in my view, they too can help keep things tidy between weekly vaccuming and water changes.
Cory's would appreciate shrimp pellets,occasional algae wafers,Frozen blood worms,frozen brine shrimp, and small pellet foods along with the foods offered to your other fish.
The cory's could also be fed of an evening after lights are turned off for fishes to rest. (you do turn lights off don't you?) Cory's are more active at night and by feeding them at this time,the other fishes are not as apt to grab the food before cory's can find it.(works well).
Hope some of this helps.8)