I've had a heck of a time with my new tank that has been running for just under 3 months. I've finally got the nitrites to .1 from 3.3 just 3 weeks ago, I never thought cycling a new tank could be so hard! Anyways as I think my tank is almost cycled, I'am scared to disrupet the bacteria that is now estableshed in my tank. But I have'nt cleaned the gravel in awhile, should I just siphon the surface of the gravel or really work the gravel? My tank is also planted.
well most ppl are gonna tell you that if your tank is plated atleast moderatley, not to worry about vaccuming the gravel, as all the gunk will get broke down and used by the plants.. unless it is very nasty, and in that case you may be overfeeding.. but you can go ahead and lightly hit the surface of the gravel, but dont (dig in)..
Agree. Best to leave it alone, to establish and preserve the full bacteria process. Not just the nitrifying bacteria, but other bacteria play a significant role in a healthy aquarium, and plants are part of this system. You can read more in this article:
I never touch the substrates, although in one tank I do run the siphon over the top to pick up loose debris, but that is due to a specific issue.
Just a quick note- are you speaking of the tank in your profile? It has fish in it? If so, are you doing 50% water changes every time the ammonia or nitrites are over 0ppm, when the nitrates are over 20ppm, or weekly (which ever comes first)?
Since the plants you have are four java ferns (that are smallish and slow growing), this may be considered a lightly planted tank. If so, I don't know if that will change anyone else's answers.
Also, in your tank picture- are the rhizomes of the Java Fern planted? If they are, you'll want to make sure that the rhizomes are above the substrate or they will likely rot. The thread like roots can be buried to secure to gravel, or the rhizome can be tied to rocks or wood.
I agree with Mina on this one most ppl don't vacuum the substrate in a moderate to heavily planted tank but yours isnt with just four Java ferns.
Yes, that's very lightly planted.
Thanks for the advice, I'll just leave the gravel alone. I have added 4 more live plants since making up my profile but just have'nt got around to editing it. I'am not sure of the species though?
Here's a few pics of them, 2 of them have what look like another very small plant growing from the tip of the leaves? I have never seen that before? See what I mean on the pic to the right, the center plant.
That is Java Fern, it is in the profile. As noted there, the rhizome (the thick "stem" from which fine roots and the leaves grow out) shuld not be buried but be above the substrate. This plant attaches to rock or wood nicely.
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