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Old 09-30-2012, 05:18 PM   #1 
colorxmexravyne
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Excess Debris.

Hi, I was wondering if there was a "safe" way to get rid of excess debris in an aquarium? I have a 5gal and when I do water changes, there is so much...stuff gets dislodged and floats around for a good ten minutes before settling back down in the gravel. I'm afraid of taking everything out because I don't want my tank to go through another mini-cycle, but I also think that the debris might be the reason why my tank stays at a constant approx. 0.25 ppm ammonia reading (it's actually somewhere between .25 and 0), even though I have no nitrites and 5.0ppm nitrAtes.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:20 PM   #2 
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Turkey basters! Could not live without my turkey baster.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:23 PM   #3 
colorxmexravyne
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I've been reading a lot about people using turkey basters around here, lately. It seems like it would be really tedious to suck up so much excess material with one, but I'll keep the idea in mind. Thanks. (:
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:13 PM   #4 
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I use a siphon vacuum in my 5 gallon but I had to saw the intake tube in half because it was too long for the short 5 gallon. I do 50% water changes every few weeks. Siphon out the gunk and fill with fresh water.

I use the turkey baster to remove any large floating things before the water settles.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:17 PM   #5 
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I use a siphon vacuum in my 5 gallon but I had to saw the intake tube in half because it was too long for the short 5 gallon. I do 50% water changes every few weeks. Siphon out the gunk and fill with fresh water.

I use the turkey baster to remove any large floating things before the water settles.
I do 25% - 50% pwc weekly as well. My problem is that, even after siphoning the gunk, there's still just SO MUCH of it left. It's almost like I didn't even get any of it out. I guess I'll go out and get a turkey baster and try it when I do my water change this Wednesday.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:22 PM   #6 
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Do you have live plants? Hornwort? I find them to be very messy. Nice and comfy for the fish but messy!
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:24 PM   #7 
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Do you have live plants? Hornwort? I find them to be very messy. Nice and comfy for the fish but messy!
I do! I have anacharis and wisteria. Well, I HAD anacharis but most of it died off for some reason. I've found that it had a huge contribution to the amount of debris in my tank.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:55 AM   #8 
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.....I also think that the debris might be the reason why my tank stays at a constant approx. 0.25 ppm ammonia reading (it's actually somewhere between .25 and 0), even though I have no nitrites and 5.0ppm nitrAtes.
The debris is not causing the ammonia readings, per se.

It sounds like your nitrite-eating nitrate-producing bacteria are doing their job but you ammonia-eating nitrite-producing bacteria are weak. Are you radically siphoning the mulm and debris out of your gravel? What kind of filter are you running? How long has your tank been cycled?

It seems to me that you need more area for your bacteria colony, or more filter flow to feed the bacteria.
Of course you know that 0.0ppm, 0.0ppm, and >10ppm are ideal readings for a cycled tank.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:02 PM   #9 
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The debris is not causing the ammonia readings, per se.

It sounds like your nitrite-eating nitrate-producing bacteria are doing their job but you ammonia-eating nitrite-producing bacteria are weak. Are you radically siphoning the mulm and debris out of your gravel? What kind of filter are you running? How long has your tank been cycled?

It seems to me that you need more area for your bacteria colony, or more filter flow to feed the bacteria.
Of course you know that 0.0ppm, 0.0ppm, and >10ppm are ideal readings for a cycled tank.
Well, my tank was fully cycled as of mid April. In August, I moved back on campus (well, to an apartment complex close to campus) and I was instructed by a few users that the best way to transport my tank would be to drain most of the water from the tank, leaving enough to keep the substrate and biomedia wet at all times. That's exactly what I did, but when I set my tank back up, I had an ammonia reading of .25 the very next day. That said, there's also ammonia (.25) in my tap water. However, after asking around, I learned that my tank was going through a mini cycle and it was evident because I usually have a reading of 0/0/5 (ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, respectively) and then i had .25/0/0. NOW, as mentioned in my first post, I have .25/0/5.

At the time of the completion of the cycle and the move, I was using an Aqua-Tech 5-15 filter. However, since it was too strong for my betta even with a baffle, I've recently switched over to an Aquaclear 20. I took the filter media from the old filter and put it in the new one, though. I ended up having to cut it to make it fit, but the pieces that I cut off are buried in the substrate. So in addition to the old filter media, there's a brand new filter sponge and biomax cubes (and carbon but I'm not sure if that's relevant), but I plan on replacing those with another sponge when my tank stabilizes again.

As for siphoning, I mostly try to get out all the excess gross that my mystery snail makes, but I do tend to focus most of my cleaning in the gravel because there's a lot of debris in there and I feel like it's starting to get a little out of hand.

Last edited by colorxmexravyne; 10-01-2012 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:40 PM   #10 
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i know some time has passed, but i'm still having issues with excess debris. i just did a water change maybe ten minutes ago and in the first one you can see all the...stuff floating around. and then in the bottom one, you can see just how much of it there is settled in and on the gravel.

Last edited by colorxmexravyne; 10-11-2012 at 07:44 PM.
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