Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Blade 08-03-2007 11:45 AM

Every time I do maintenance in my fish tanks, dirt often comes floating up from the gravel. Could that ever harm my fish?

blueblue48 08-03-2007 12:19 PM

thats not dirt :wink: and yes it can harm there gills but if you use a vacuum and get it all up it shouldnt be a problem. just make sure to get it nice and clean, and dont worry in most peoples fish tanks when they do some work stuff starts floating around, that just means you should probly clean harder.

JouteiMike 08-03-2007 12:23 PM

What do you mean my "maintenance?"

The gravel isn't something you should be disturbing too much, it is home to many of your tank's good bacteria colonies.

willow 08-03-2007 12:47 PM

i get bits floating around after i have gravel vaced,
or if i have added or removed plants.
they get taken up through the filte,and after
a little while the water clears again.

Neonesf 08-05-2007 09:57 AM

You should be vacuuming your gravel at least once a month!!! Yes some helpful bacteria live there, but not enough to remove all the fish waste and leftover food that a tank can produce. It is also a good idea to move any decorations and get under them as well. Don't worry to much about any bits that float in the water as your filter will most likely take care of them, and if your fish appear to be eating it Don't worry to much they know whats good and whats not and will spit out anything thats no good.

jones57742 08-05-2007 10:34 AM


I know this is coming from "way, way out in left field" but

I have
1) a mainly laterite substrate overlaid with 1" of uniformly graded gravel;
2) a planted tank;
3) a "bunch of 'cleanup' fishies" and
4) a "ton" of biological filtration media in my filtration process.

I do not believe that the following is applicable for everyone's tanks!!!

I believe that the fish waste on the gravel, which I also believe "filters down to" the substrate and contributes nutrients for the plants and
I therefore only vacuum the bottom of the tank when the "small dead snail shells become unsightly".

I can only recommend this "strategy" if the biological filtration media for the aquarium is "like 5 times" what is necessary for the tank and
the turnover rate is somewhat higher than the recommended turnover rate.

Please note that since I ceased "overfeeding" I have not observed an ammonia or nitrite concentration in my tank employing this strategy.


Neonesf 08-05-2007 10:52 AM

I need to clarify my earlier post. This is for a non planted tank. I have never done well with live plants and avoid them like the plague :oops:

willow 08-05-2007 11:01 AM

i had this when my first ever tank was put together.
back then i had plastic plants and that was all,
i still had bits floating after a w/change. :)
it may have been substrate, or food.
is it clearing after a little while ?

jones57742 08-05-2007 09:21 PM


Originally Posted by Neonesf
I need to clarify my earlier post. This is for a non planted tank. I have never done well with live plants and avoid them like the plague :oops:


Achieving a "nice looking planted tank" is not a problem (if it was I would not have one.)

If you want to continue this dialog in order that we can, maybe, help please post as to your tank dimensions, lighting type & duration and the type of "bottom gravel, etc" which you have.


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