Originally Posted by stevenjohn21
I mean the dirt mixed in. When i upgraded my 10 gallon tank to the 20 gallon the amount of dirt in their was really bad, even though i syphon 2-3 gallons everyday i couldnt believe how much poop and waste food was in their. Now that i have a 20 gallon i dont want it to be the same , for the last few months i have enjoyed easy cleaning a bare bottom tank
A "dirty" substrate is natural, and should be healthier. It is essential for plants, and given the incredible benefit from live plants, this is well worth considering. Your livebearers would thank you for some live plants, they come from waters thick with plants; mollies love spending their day nibbling the algae from plant leaves. Vallisneria is excellent in livebearer tanks as this plant loves harder water.
There is a host of aerobic and some anaerobic bacteria living in a healthy gravel substrate. They convert "crud" to organics for the plant roots. Those of us with planted tanks never touch the substrate, it manages on its own. In plant-less tanks, weekly vacuuming of the substrate works fine.
In a bare-bottom tank, there is no place for the bacteria to live, so it takes much more regular cleaning to keep things healthy.