I go around my plants too. It causes more of a disturbance to lift out driftwood, plants and the like then to go around them. I'm planning to remove everything to vacuum maybe twice a year. You'd be surprised how much the vacuum picks up, even just going around.
Hmm, no, I didn't think about just using the tube. Maybe I will try that, if I can get it working! Yeah, the plant is just starting to look worse and worse. I ordered a Java fern online so as soon as it comes, I'll replace it!