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Does cleaning gravel kill good bacteria ?


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#1 Rob 28

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 08:19 AM

I have read that disturbing, hoovering etc your substrate will kill off the beneficial bacteria. Whether this is if you do this too much and whether this kills a insignificant amount of bacteria it did not say.

I have also read that this is a myth and it does not harm the bacteria atall.

What is true in your opinion ?

My tank cycled and I changed the layout of the gravel and hoovered it - my nitrite went up for the next 3 days. Was this related to the gravel or the plants I took out ? I don't know. :dunno:

#2 Stryker

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 08:28 AM

The bacteria forms on most surfaces and en-masse in your filter. So I'd imagine if your gravel is churned some gravel bacteria will be offed.... but I get the impression there is plenty more left.

I had that thought about sand tanks. Doing a monthly churn of the sand would probably kill most sand bacteria esp if surface sand ends up 1-2" down. Interesting in hearing people oppinions here.

#3 Tropjunky

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 08:43 AM

simple answer NO the main bulk of the bacteria is in the filter thats why ur LFS should tell u to replace only half ur filter media at once so that the bactria that had been lost can recover

#4 Kribensis

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 08:59 AM

Actually the substrate contains a lot of the bacteria too, when cleaning the substrate you should only do a quarter at a time.

#5 Stryker

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 11:09 AM

I just hover my vac over the gravel as opposed to digging it over..... gues I should give it a good digging from time to time.

#6 kribs mate

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 11:13 AM

I just hover my vac over the gravel as opposed to digging it over..... gues I should give it a good digging from time to time.

yep. should should deffinatly dig the vac into your gravel it will be full of fish poo etc.. i do about a third of mine a week.

#7 aberdeen aquarist

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 12:06 PM

simple answer NO the main bulk of the bacteria is in the filter thats why ur LFS should tell u to replace only half ur filter media at once so that the bactria that had been lost can recover

most of the beneficial bacteria in a tank is found in the top 2cm of the gravel/sand substrate, so you should only hoover 1/2 of it at a time.

true there are bacteria in the filter too, but nowhere near as many as in the tank itself.

#8 modernhamlet

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 12:10 PM

most of the beneficial bacteria in a tank is found in the top 2cm of the gravel/sand substrate, so you should only hoover 1/2 of it at a time.

true there are bacteria in the filter too, but nowhere near as many as in the tank itself.

That is only true if you have an undergravel filter.

In tanks with HOB filters, which are more efficient and easier to clean than the obsolete UG, the VAST majority of the nitrifying bacteria live in the filter media, where all of the water flow is.

#9 Rob 28

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 01:07 PM

But what about the bacteria clinging to the gravel....so ive heard.........so that it doesnt get removed when you hoover ? :whistle:

does it come off or not ? GET YOUR MICROSCOPES OUT NOW AND REPORT BACK !!

:rofl:

#10 thecichlidaddict

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 02:04 PM

Every surface in the aquarium harbors bacteria, but the filter contains almost all of it. Water is continually pulled through the filter, so the toxins are most likely to come into contact with the filter media then any other surface. As mentioned, as long as you don't use a UGF you can do all the vacumming you wish without a problem.

#11 LobsterOfJustice

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 02:43 PM

I've been vaccuming my gravel once a week (all of it) for about 5 years now and never had problems... I dont think gravel vac-ing will take out nearly enough bacteria to make a difference, especially if you have a filter sponge or bio-wheel (I have the latter).

#12 Rob 28

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 03:09 PM

Thks guys, Ive made my mind up - as i have an internal filter hoovering is fine. Must have been the plants i took out that caused the n02 spike.

:clap:

#13 Stryker

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 03:17 PM

Ahhh I'd imagine there is a fair bit of poop around established plant roots, which you brought up to the surface and bacteria's reach when you pulled them up.

#14 susangc

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Posted 15 April 2004 - 03:06 AM

I was initially afraid of vacuuming the gravel too much, but I went for broke when I found planaria in the tank. Now I vacuum weekly -- no uneaten food, but lots of fish poo! :-( This is probably the Curse of the Teeny Tank.

I test regularly and have not had any problems with spiking. I rinse the filter pad with every water change and keep a bioball floating in the tank.

At some point, I'm going to have to switch out the filter. That possibility worries me more than vacuuming.

Susan

#15 G_Sharky

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Posted 15 April 2004 - 03:31 AM

I fully vacuum my gravel every other day and never had problems, in fact i would be having lots of problems if i just hoover on the gravel surface as most uneaten food and poop sinks in right on the bottom of the tank.... :D

#16 bartender_in_ny

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Posted 15 April 2004 - 04:00 AM

my lfs guy told me to vac every 4 weeks when ya do a water chg, hes been in business 20 yrs so im going with that, what i would like to know is when u do a water chg/vac how many days do u wait to chg the cart. in a power filter i have a bio wheel peng, in a 20 gal long or should u replace cart prior to the vac/chgs? im planing on doing my 1st water chg this week end, i cycled my tank and its been running now with fish in it and cycled for almost 5 weeks, the lfs guy told me to wait 4-6 weeks b4 1st chg + vac + im doing just taht and all my fish are fine and tanks is always crystal clear..i had an amonia spike about 15 days aout lost a cpl fish then it was fine so aparently this method / time fram is working for me, but the cart time frame chg + vac is a question i would love to know, i forgot to ask my lfs......and always like the relaible info on here, i just have diff veiws on the time frame for a water chg but, hey it works for me.....love all the veiws on here plz advse, as always we reallllllly appreicate it were learning as well.thx!!!!
Bobby + jules 8)

#17 susangc

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Posted 15 April 2004 - 04:55 AM

i just have diff veiws on the time frame for a water chg but, hey it works for me


That's what counts ;) Teeny tanks (mine's at work) are much more work to keep stable. I'm looking SO forward to having a larger tank at home :wub:

Susan




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