04-24-2008, 10:37 PM
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A powerhead is simply a pump that circulates water... mostly they are submersible now days, but I believe there are still a few on the market that are not.
In answer to your question about cleaning the stuff on the bottom... first off, if regular maintenance is being done, there shouldn't be anything on the bottom to cause a problem. Feedings should be light, whatever the fish can completely finish within 1 - 2 minutes, and once/day. If food is reaching the bottom, then you are giving them too much, so decrease the amount you're offering at each feeding. Some people find it easier to feed much much less, and do it twice/day instead of once. Water changes should be done weekly, about 30%, and 1 - 2 times each month during those changes, a gravel vac should be done. This is just standard and basic care for any aquarium. With a fully planted tank, simply vac between and around the plants. From your photos I can say that your tank isn't "fully planted", so gravel vacs should not be too difficult.
With all live bearers in the tank, or a large number of them, watch your water params closely. These fish are known to have 30+ fry every 30 days if male and female are together in the tank. While the adult fish will usually eat some of the fry, it is always very possible for fry to survive and grow up, which adds to your population, which in turn adds to your waste levels. Populations should be thinned out regularly. Also, the process of childbirth will add more waste to the tank, so even if the fry are being eaten, your water params will likely jump when someone gives birth. Extra water changes of 10% each day can be done to help aleviate the rapid changes.