I've been at this Betta keeping for a while now and love every aspect of it - even the cleaning part. HOWEVER, I may be a bit on the OCD side of cleaning (and rescaping, which I may do to my 5g this weekend), and wanted to find out how everyone else cleans, and what results do you expect? I have a couple questions and issues.
Just talking about my two divided/filtered/planted/cycled 10g tanks, I do a 30-40% water change every weekend. I was just doing one and noticed A LOT of 'stuff' floating around as I tried to vacuum what I could. I have a medium sand substrate (CaribSea Instant Aquarium) in both, so I can't plunge the suction too far into the gravel without sucking all of it up. I usually take out the ornaments (bridge/floating log) so I can swirl the suction around and collect most of the floating 'stuff'.
My issues/questions are:
I can't always suck out ALL of the floating material, but try to get most of the Oto/Betta poop. Remember, once the suction starts, I only have about a minute or two to get what I can (for a 30-40% wc) or else I'd be doing a 90-100% every week, which is a no-no in a cycled tank, right?
How does everyone vacuum fine or medium sand substrate? Do you get the same floating debris as I do? Is this terribly bad, or do you just get what you can and remain satisfied with the water change (which is the important part), right? After I vacuum, the 'stuff' settles back and clears, but I still know it's there.
Is this what the plants are turning into food?
In my two cycled 10g, is there ever a need to completely tear down, like every 3 or 6 months, and do a full clean?
So PLEASE, tell me what you do to clean?