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when you gravel vac, do you just vacuum the top of the gravel or do you really mix it up good and release all the trapped debris? I tend to stir up the gravel real well, which makes the tank cloudy for a day, but I feel it is much cleaner that way.
 

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I clean the same way, going all the way into the gravel, really getting in there and moving ti around. Normally mine will stay cloudy for about 10-30 minutes and the tank clears up again. Sometimes if it is really bad and there is debris floating around I just run the net through and scoop it out.
 

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yeah i've done that, too, with the net.
 

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I give it a good stir after the intail gravel vac, leave it for 10mins then go back and do another quick blast. 10mins or so its nice and clear.
 

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When I gravel vac with a Python syphon, I dig down deep with a twisting motion, then slowly bring the syphon tube up slowly, letting the gravel mix and float and then fall down, while the detritus gets sucked up. I wait until the gravel settles, then I shift over. Doing so, doesn't stir any of the detritus to float around in the tank. My water never gets cloudy, unless I get lazy and shift over the syphon tube before the gravel settles.
 

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Thanks eddie, that's the information I was looking for... wondering about... gravel vac'ing should never have to stir the gravel enough to cloud the tank, especially not for a day or more.
If gravel vacs are done regularly, and the tank is not overfed, there shouldn't be a lot of debris coming up from the gravel.
 

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i do a gravel vac about once every 2 to 3 weeks and when i do its just the top layer as i dont want to uproot my roots from the plants.
 

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Gravel Vac

I have been away from raising fish for about 38 years and have decided to start again. Is there a time limit between vaccuming the gravel or some rule of thumb thing. I have a 30 gallon taank that has finally settled in nice and clear with a gold fish in it. I'm just gathering info for my head so that I can get back into the groove again. Thanks in advance guys and gals.
 

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Once a week is usually the norm for WC (water changes) and/or Gravel vacs. With adequate filtration, ammonia and nitrIte levels will remain safe with extended periods between WC/Gravel vacs, unfortunately, this only increases the nitrAte levels. Low levels of NitrAtes are usually safe and less stressful to most fish.

Using a proper water test kit, an increased amount of ammonnia, nitrIte and/or nitrAte levels can commonly and easily be removed by water changes, but can also be removed with products, such as carbon, zeolite, nitrite/nitrate removers, etc.
 

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I'm curious, I do a water change once per week; but I gravel-vac every time I do a water change. How often do you guys gravel-vac per number of water changes?
 

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dprUsh83 said:
I'm curious, I do a water change once per week; but I gravel-vac every time I do a water change. How often do you guys gravel-vac per number of water changes?
I'm lazy and I want to enjoy my tanks. I do not want to make them a chore to keep up, which is why I prefer going with a low tech planted tank (no worries about CO2, cost of running high lights, etc.). When I often do gravel vacs, I lose water, so I continue the maintenance and remove more water so I can perform a proper WC. The only tank I really do a daily WC is the tank where I'm treating my angel suffering from swim bladder.
 

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I usually advise doing a gravel vac once - twice/month. I am always careful to warn against "over cleaning" an aquarium. It's important to remember that the bacteria culture living in the gravel bed is one of the largest sources of your bacteria culture, and if depleted, and if that is often, the tank will go through what is called a "mini cycle". To do a weekly gravel vac can be quite dangerous if you pull too much of the culture from the gravel bed on a regular basis. Gravel vacs are also determined by the amount of waste in the tank with feeding habits and population levels, as well as how often regular water exhcanges are done. In a healthy and stable tank that is not over fed or over crowded, there should be no reason to do a gravel vac more than twice/month, and it's always a good idea to do any cleaning or changing of filter media on a week when a gravel vac is NOT done, so to help keep the bacteria culture healthy and water quality stable.
 

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I usually gravel vac every time I do tank maintenance. I usually do water changes/gravel vacs at the same time every i dont know about 1 1/5 weeks to 2 weeks. I just get the syphon and start gravel vaccuming right away and that does a water change too. then when im done gravel vaccuming i take out about 2 more buckets of water ( my bucket holds about 2 gallons ) and im good. I like to take more water out after my gravel vac so I can rinse and scrub my cartridge filters because they tend to get clogged pretty fast and trickle through the center so I try to keep up on that. But then I always have the problem when I'm pouring the water back into the tank it always stirs up the tank and gets poop out of little hiding spots etc... then i have to go back and suck it up again but sometimes I just let it settle and leave it for the next gravel vac lol..:D :D Hahaha.
 

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bettababy said:
I usually advise doing a gravel vac once - twice/month. I am always careful to warn against "over cleaning" an aquarium. It's important to remember that the bacteria culture living in the gravel bed is one of the largest sources of your bacteria culture ...
BB is "right on here"!

I am still gaining experience and have had several "crispy critter" pumps in my wet/dry sump area.

I normally keep two backup pumps (a new one and a rebuilt one)[there is no such thing as "off the shelf" magnetic drive aquarium pumps in San Angelo].

Weekend before last I was out of town, one of my staff did not properly change the mechanical media, flooded the sump area and had to replace the "crispy critter" pump with a rebuilt one.

I ordered two new pumps when I got home.

Last Wednesday this pump went out, I "went to get another one" out of the garage and no joy!!

I turned up the oxygen diffusers which Chris had put in the tank for aesthetics and started monitoring ammonia and nitrites.

Sunday afternoon nitrites finally rose above 0.3 [ammonia was still at detectable 0 ~ go figure] and yesterday I purchased a "high end" Eheim (not for filtration but for pumping from the wet/dry sump back to the tank) [CM thinks "a lot" of Eheim's but they do not function very well hydraulically ie.
this one is pumping significantly less than the rated capacity against a static head].

The "moral of the story" is that the ammonia and nitrite digestion bacteria in the surface of the substrate, the cracks in the wood, the deformities of the rocks continued functioning (ie. the wet/dry filtration was "down") and the digestion capacity may have even increased due to the increase in oxygen saturation of the water in the tank!

TR
 

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I do about 15-20% water changes weekly, sometimes more, sometimes less. A lot of times I base it on my water parameters. If something is high, I do a 20-30%, if everything is fine, I do a 10-15%.

For vacuuming the gravel, I never completely vacuum all the gravel at once, I always do bits and pieces of it. Usually I start from the left and work my way across about once or twice a month. This will ensure I don't destroy/disturb the bacteria living in the gravel too much.
 

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crazie.eddie said:
When I gravel vac with a Python syphon, I dig down deep with a twisting motion, then slowly bring the syphon tube up slowly, letting the gravel mix and float and then fall down, while the detritus gets sucked up. I wait until the gravel settles, then I shift over. Doing so, doesn't stir any of the detritus to float around in the tank. My water never gets cloudy, unless I get lazy and shift over the syphon tube before the gravel settles.
That's what I do too. That way my water never gets cloudy and I get all the gunk.
 

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dprUsh83 said:
I'm curious, I do a water change once per week; but I gravel-vac every time I do a water change. How often do you guys gravel-vac per number of water changes?
Me too.
 

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I'm curious... where is all the "gunk" coming from in all of these tanks? When I attempt to do a gravel vac on even my goldfish tanks, I never get anything more than slightly discolored water coming up... :roll:
 
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