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Now that I'm certain the nitrogen cycle is complete, what's the best strategy for a water change? I read that a lot of good bacteria live in the substrate so I don't want to vacuum them out.
 

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The bacteria are sticky and adhere to the surface areas-you will need to scrub to get them off the gravel....so vacuuming is okay and needed at least weekly.....by vacuuming you are removing the mulm/debris that can suffocate the good bacteria....
 
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