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Old 01-05-2004, 06:33 PM   #1
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Stirring up gravel. . .

Just wondering if anyone here just stirs up the gravel without vacuuming to let the pump get rid of some of the nastiness??

Sorry, have been gone for a while, was somewhat pre-occupied with a new motorcycle, which was stolen the night before new years eve, waiting on insurance to get me another now. My luck, always there. LOL
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Old 01-05-2004, 07:09 PM   #2
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I tend to stir up the gravel and then sweep over it with the net. That's just when it needs it, not on the mionth water change when i use the vacuum. HTH
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Old 01-05-2004, 07:25 PM   #3
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I just did a partial water change today and the gravel was quite dirty. I stirred it up quite a bit too when I was moving and adding some plants for my fry and the water was very murky...is this bad? What is this attributed to? Too much food? (I have an undergravel filter also)
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Old 01-05-2004, 07:35 PM   #4
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Wow I never even thought of doing that! I just stir up the gravel a bit when I do a water change/gravel vac, and enough solid goo floats up into my vacuum that I don't bother to let the pump get to it.

gregerica, I think that murkiness is probably uneaten food and solid fish poo.
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Old 01-05-2004, 07:53 PM   #5
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Nope, I just vacuum it out, filter media is too pricy IMO to allow it that added bio load.
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Old 01-05-2004, 08:57 PM   #6
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Interesting question!! IMO you really don't want your filter dealing with all that. Bearfan is quite right. Myriam is too. A regular gravel vac removes the waste to where it should go, down the drain.
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Old 01-05-2004, 11:06 PM   #7
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I have actually had a nitrate spike from being a little too vigorous with the gravel vac. If you maintain a frequent schedule and do not overfeed, you will not stir up too much gunk at all. Stirring it up can definitely cause a mini-cycle, and I agree with Bearfan and BrianNY that I don't want to leave that for my filter. Tweak your feeding schedule as well as your gravel vac schedule so that it is not a dramatic event when you do vacuum, and you are in good shape.
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Old 01-06-2004, 10:29 AM   #8
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I've heard of ppl doing that. I'm with the others though, I just vaccuum it up. I always have extra time on my hands!
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Old 01-06-2004, 10:41 AM   #9
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In addition to my earlier point. I bought a small net (3inch width) took the net bit off and now use that as an undergravel rake. I push it the the bottom of the gravel and run it along the bottom of the tank, this then loosens any solid waste and i follow it up with a larger net to catch it. A nack i inveted myslef and found it works quite well if you dont want to do a vac.
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Old 01-06-2004, 11:10 AM   #10
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Since I have a planted tank I don't want to loose any of that yummy mulm on the bottom and so I just light vacuum over the surface of the gravel.
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Old 01-06-2004, 11:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkos
Since I have a planted tank I don't want to loose any of that yummy mulm on the bottom and so I just light vacuum over the surface of the gravel.
Good call Tkos!
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Old 01-06-2004, 12:46 PM   #12
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This is an interesting thread. I just started using a syphon vac and don't really have a handle on how to use it and what it's suppose to do. Is the idea to stir up the gravel and release the particles into the water? If that is bad for the filter and the water params, how do you prevent that?

Sorry Mr502go, didn't mean to step on your question.

Thanks, Lou
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Old 01-06-2004, 02:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
I just started using a syphon vac and don't really have a handle on how to use it and what it's suppose to do.
I do the following...

When I do my weekly water change I'll get the siphon action started first then go straight to vacuuming the gravel. I push the end of the vac about an inch or so into the gravel (coral in my case) and pull up (keeping the tube vertical). The gravel will kinda swirl around near the bottom of the tube. After a few seconds the weight of the gravel will overcome the suction of the siphon and it will fall out and drift down. The waste food and poop is light so it gets sucked out with the water.

I usually only do a small section of the tank floor, maybe about 5%, so I do not diturb the biological filter that much. I also do a small area next to the uptake hose on my filter as waste always builds up there. The next week I'll do a different area.

I try NOT to stir stuff up. When it (inevitably) ends up in my filter, it's just a bigger pain to clean up. I don't really think the fish like swimming through clouds of rotting food/poop either...

HTH
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Old 01-06-2004, 02:48 PM   #14
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When you use the gravel vac, shove it into the gravel and watch the particles go up the tube, and avoid getting them into your water column. If when you use your gravel vac it causes the tank to become cloudy, then you know you are not doing it enough! The idea is to remove as much solid waste with the water change as you can.

For my planted tank vac'ing the gravel is about impossible, as pointed out by tkos, and I do want the fish mulm to fertilize the plants, but there is excess debris lying around on top of broad leaves and such that I do get out.
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Old 01-06-2004, 06:23 PM   #15
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Thanks deli_conker on tihe tip about not doing the whole tank at once. Doing a small % each week for 10 min makes more sence than taking an hour once a month to create a major mess. Still it must take some practice not to stur up the gravel. I'll keep practicing. Thanks
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Old 01-06-2004, 06:53 PM   #16
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I don't have live plants and I thoroughly gravel vac the ENTIRE tank at every weekly water change (20%).
Is this a bad practice?
I have a cannister filter and I thought the biological filter bacteria primarily resided there.
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Old 01-06-2004, 07:04 PM   #17
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Your bacteria resides everywhere QT. Gravel, filters, decorations..
My self, before I went to reverse flow UGFs, I only vacuumed 1/2 the substrate at a time. And only changed 1/2 the filter media at a time. Just have to do what works best for your tank...a lot of it depends on fish load etc and how much waste your tank has to deal with.

If it's a newer tank, I wouldn't disturb the gravel bed for the first 8-12 weeks. Just waved the siphon over the top to get as much loose stuff as I could.
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Old 01-06-2004, 07:07 PM   #18
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thatlouguy, it really isn't difficult to not stir up debris when doing a gravel vac. Just push the end of the vac into a section of gravel and let the water flow until the water near the bottom is clean, than pick up the vac, move to a new section, place the vac deep in the gravel and repeat...
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Old 01-06-2004, 07:09 PM   #19
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I gravel vac my ENTIRE 55g tank every week or so, and I really dig in. I also have 2 biowheels on it, and have never seen a spike of any nitrogenous waste. I find, if I don't gravel vac that often, theres a lot of nasty stuff in the gravel. In my 2 planted tanks with sand, I gravel vac every other week, and only pull out the visually unappealing mulm (its black sand...looks yucky otherwise).

As for stirring up the mulm, I do it every time LOL Don't mean to; it just happens. Should see the mess I get when I pull out the filter media to clean it
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Old 01-06-2004, 09:35 PM   #20
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That's one of the reasons I go bare bottom. Tanks that is LOL.

QT, no reason to worry about doing a complete gravel vac if you have enough bio mass in your filters. Smooth rivers is correct. That good bacteria is all over your tank if it's well cycled!
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