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Old 03-02-2013, 01:08 AM   #1 
Nicci Lu
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Gravel Vacuums with a Planted Tank

My 10 gallon tank isn't a jungle, but it's fairly heavily planted.

So, between all the plants, the cabomba that gets uprooted if I even think about touching it, the hornwort that wraps itself around everything, the IAL, wood, caves etc, and watching out for my fishy inhabitants (my betta's been sucked up once in the vacuum- not gonna do that again), I feel like by the time I've removed half the water I've only been able to vacuum 10% of the gravel. I know my rooted plants will use some of the debris, but I feel like my gravel must be getting way too dirty. Especially with my otos- they're little poop machines!

Anyone have any tips for vacuuming gravel in a heavily planted tank? How do y'all do it? Should I just start using a turkey baster?
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:25 AM   #2 
Aluka
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i use the gravel vaccum to make as much water movement as i can so all the debris flys up and i vaccum those =<
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:51 AM   #3 
Romad
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Once your plants have established firm roots in the gravel you should be able to get down into the gravel without uprooting them. How long have they been planted?

As for the Cabomba, I always tend to uproot mine too. I just replant them and put a rock at the base of the plant.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:12 AM   #4 
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I love the look of my purple cabomba but man I hate cabomba, lol. I just try and avoid that area when possible ... Though I will poke it with my planting tongs to stir the debris up into the water column or use an air hose on that side. Make sure you bury at least one set of cabomba leaves in the substrate, that'll help.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:10 AM   #5 
jaysee
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I'm not into plants, but I know people who just don't vacuum the gravel. They may lightly hit any open areas during a water change, but are not concerned because its just food for the plants.
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:13 PM   #6 
Bombalurina
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I'm one of them ^^. My tank is so heavily planted that I simply can't get to the gravel at the sides and back, so I don't bother. Anything that gets stuck down there just eventually turns into plant food.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:52 AM   #7 
ao
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^ me too. I cant event see the gravel in my tank. lol
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:21 AM   #8 
Nicci Lu
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I liked the stirring up the gravel bit...until I tried it, lol. There's just not enough room.

@Romad- the only other rooted plant I have other than my cabomba are my two swords. I'm not so much worried about uprooting those guys, it's more that I always dislodge the gravel that they're planted in and roots become exposed. The roots are so massive and stiff, even after I trimmed them, that they're planted in what looks like little barrows. I guess I didn't clear away enough gravel when I put them in in the first place.

@tekkguy- I'm starting to dislike my cabomba, too. It's real pretty, but it's like a high maintenance girlfriend. And don't even get me started on my suicidal frogbit... I'll try stirring with tongs this time, last time I used the vacuum to stir the gravel.

It sounds like I shouldn't be too worried about it, though. I'll just keep in mind that it's all plant food.
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