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Thread: Frequency of gravel vacs

  1. #1
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    Default Frequency of gravel vacs

    Out of curiosity, how often do you guys gravel vac your heavily planted aquariums?

  2. #2
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    This is a good question.

    I do a superficial vac about once every 6 weeks. There was a Youtube video of somebody who had a contraption which agitated the moss and then sucked out the gunk.

    If it's very heavily planted and you are not getting algae issues, then maybe you never need to do it. Shrimp are quite important to break down the bigger debris. Some will use corydoras to make sure the debris gets into their filter, which they will clean.

    As long as you understand the concept, then you can adapt the practice.

  3. #3
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    I normally never gravel vacuumed since i didn't want to mix the gravel with each other. But since i accidentally mixed them together i do it usually once a month now.

    However if it is really heavily planted with a carpet of some sort then i don't think you can gravel vac.

  4. #4

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    I use it on my plants and moss. Cut a bottle in half, duct tape tubing to the neck and you have a vac!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Of Destruction View Post
    I use it on my plants and moss. Cut a bottle in half, duct tape tubing to the neck and you have a vac!
    Haha, ok, and how often would you use that?

  6. #6

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    Every water change, 50% weekly since i'm running EI. The only reason why I do so is that when I first started getting into aquascaping, George Farmer and aduaquascaping both recommended detritus removal so it's kinda stuck with me then.

    It doesn't require any extra effort so I just do it anyway? It's also pretty satisfying siphoning out poop

    I also like to think it keeps my filter cleaner

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Of Destruction View Post
    Every water change, 50% weekly since i'm running EI. The only reason why I do so is that when I first started getting into aquascaping, George Farmer and aduaquascaping both recommended detritus removal so it's kinda stuck with me then.

    It doesn't require any extra effort so I just do it anyway? It's also pretty satisfying siphoning out poop

    I also like to think it keeps my filter cleaner
    Interesting you say that because The Planted Tank an other websites and forums say you should never gravel vac a heavily planted aquarium. Another source for this point of view is the Walstad method.

    I think I'll meet in the middle and gravel vac once a month but never deep vac.

  8. #8
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    You can do a deep vac because you would uproot plants.

    You can kinda deep vac a carpet though.

  9. #9

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    I think many people associate the term "Gravel Vac" with then you stick the vac down into the gravel (often all the way to the bottom of the tank) to turn over the substrate and remove interstitial detritus - clearly in a planted tank this will uproot plants and damage their roots.

    In a planted tank people sometimes wave a gravel vac over the surface only to remove mulm that has deposited on the surface, but they do it without plunging the vac into the sustrate.

    If you try to gravel vac aquasoil you'll just end up sucking most of the substrate up the sucker because the aquasoil particles are much lower density than gravel particles.

    I find that shrimp, cory's and bristlenose tend to flick particles of deposited mulm back into the water column for the filters to remove so its pretty rare for me to vac a tank. Sometimes I stick my hand in and give the tank a good swisho before a water change to keep the gunk down.
    Last edited by Grubs; 23-08-18 at 08:43 AM.

  10. #10
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    Grubs hit it on the head, when I used aquasoil I never "gravel vac" or "vac'd" at all, i did wave my hand around the tank kicking up loose crap and then remove it when doing water changes.

    Now most my tanks are sand or gravel I do now gravel vac, but not often and with so much hardscape etc its kind of hard to do effectively, I mainly just vac along the front glass area.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grubs View Post
    I think most people associate the term "Gravel Vac" with then you stick the vac down into the gravel (often all the way to the bottom of the tank) to turn over the substrate and remove interstitial detritus - clearly in a planted tank this will uproot plants and damage their roots.

    In a planted tank people sometimes wave a gravel vac over the surface only to remove mulm that has deposited on the surface, but they do it without plunging the vac into the sustrate.

    If you try to gravel vac aquasoil you'll just end up sucking most of the substrate up the sucker because the aquasoil particles are much lower density than gravel particles.
    Grubs, you hit the nail on the head with Aqua soil hence my interest in this topic. I even went as far as buying a battery operated vac as the first time did a deep vac, the water column was so murky the tank looked like I just dumped the substrate in. Even with the battery operated vac used lightly over the surface the water was still murky. I also think those very fine particles are the bits full of the goodies that plants need.

    I don't know. Maybe I just need a finer net on the battery operated vac?

  12. #12
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    Haha yes indeed. Although you can push the vac into a carpet and suck out detritus. Sometimes, too much detritus could cause algal blooms in long eatablished tanks. Bba being an example.

    Waving it around is what I called superficial vac. 😇

  13. #13
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    I Hover the vac over my substrate never really dig it in. (Currently) in my Angel tank i have bare minimum substrate as most plants are column feeders. I do however use a baster and hose to remove debris from the leaves of plants, its much easier than using hands. Every 2 weeks I always do a gravel vac it's apart of my standard maintenance. even with my other planted tanks that are denser in sub.
    Althought individual fish do not cost much, do not think of fish as cheap little expendables.

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