Light to medium planted gravel tank, do i vacuum the gravel?

brendonjw

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Hi All,

I'm not happy with my tank and want to add some root plants (Amazon Sword and some crypts (im thinking one Petchii and one wendtii.) The other plants in the tank are all stem plants, java ferns and anubus so I have been vacuuming the gravel each week when I do water changes. After I put the new plants in I'm not sure if I should just not vacuum around them and keep on doing the gravel in the rest of the tank?

The Amanzon Sword will go in the back middle and I'm thinking of putting the crypts on the left and moving that bit of Java fern wood to the right (also brining the stones at the right forward a bit and maybe re-arrange them and putting some form of Ludwigia behind it. Its a low tech tank. Groot will stay as my daughter choose that and loves it lol.

Oh the tank is a 190ltr and i guess you could call it a higher one (got it 2nd hand and in retrospect after seeing most of the tanks on here I'd rather it have been a wide one but that's ok.) I'm open to suggestions. I'd like some more plants but the budget only stretches so far at this point.

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Byron

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I assume the sword plant will be a largish one, such as the very common Echinodorus grisebachii var. bleherae. If so, I would not plant it in the centre, but off to one side. A centre sword will draw attention to the tank being "smaller" than it is, whereas off-centre it will actually enlarge the space visually.

As for vacuuming into the gravel...when you do now, is there a lot of detritus? This is food for the plants of course, and swords are very heavy feeders. The decomposition of organics in the substrate is your prime source of CO2 so you do not want to be risking that. Certainly do not go close to the roots. I generally vacuum the open front areas, staying well away from plants, wood and rock.
 
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brendonjw

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You should still vacuum staying a bit away from the roots.

BTW, java ferns and anubias are not stem plants as they have a rhizome that should be kept above the gravel.

Nice looking tank! :)
Cool thanks, yeah i knew the java ferns and anubias weren't stem plants but didn't make that very clear in my first post. Ok cool, i'll keep vacuuming the front and right of the tank and leave the rest for the root plants
 
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brendonjw

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I assume the sword plant will be a largish one, such as the very common Echinodorus grisebachii var. bleherae. If so, I would not plant it in the centre, but off to one side. A centre sword will draw attention to the tank being "smaller" than it is, whereas off-centre it will actually enlarge the space visually.

As for vacuuming into the gravel...when you do now, is there a lot of detritus? This is food for the plants of course, and swords are very heavy feeders. The decomposition of organics in the substrate is your prime source of CO2 so you do not want to be risking that. Certainly do not go close to the roots. I generally vacuum the open front areas, staying well away from plants, wood and rock.
Thanks for the tip, hmm maybe set the sword up in the right where the stones are and do something else with them do you think?

Theres not too much detritus as the tank when I do a change as it is still relatively lightly stocked, 1 shy 3 spot gourarmi and 15 or so guppies. I use API leaf zone once a week after i have done a 25% water change.
 

Rocky998

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Thanks for the tip, hmm maybe set the sword up in the right where the stones are and do something else with them do you think?

Theres not too much detritus as the tank when I do a change as it is still relatively lightly stocked, 1 shy 3 spot gourarmi and 15 or so guppies. I use API leaf zone once a week after i have done a 25% water change.
You want a ton of detritus? Get 2 pond/bladder snails and kaboom... Detritus nuke 🤣
 
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brendonjw

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You want a ton of detritus? Get 2 pond/bladder snails and kaboom... Detritus nuke 🤣
I'll stick with the ramhorns for now, they have been a great cleanup crew. Ok i won't vacuum the gravel as much moving forwards. I've started up a sand based tank (150Ltr wide) and slowly been working out vacuuming the sand, it sounds like i might be taking too much poop out though haha.
 

itiwhetu

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Just for the other side of the story, I never vacuum and just let the plants deal with the waste
 
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brendonjw

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Just for the other side of the story, I never vacuum and just let the plants deal with the waste
Yeah I've seen people say that but they have heavier planted tanks, I just wanted to check since I'm still getting my plant stock up. Looks like i'll stop vacuuming around where I'm going to put the new plants.
 

Stan510

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Unless you are using an undergravel filter in these days,no need to vacuum the gravel. What I do is stir up the soil line and under along the front glass. Making that look clean is all you need. The mulm is good for plant roots in the rest of the aquarium.
 

Stan510

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UNLESS.you've got a carpet going to the front glass. Then,I would strongly advise any aquascaper to try and cover that with attractive molding for example,at the least black tape. That front glass area is like the last refuge of BGA. I see it in even the best scapers work. Cutting off the light reaching it will solve that.
It's not a good look when BGA below the substrate in the front is making bubbles.
 

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