Vacuuming substrate

fresh_newby

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Apr 2, 2006
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Quick question. I got an attachment for my python to vacuum the subtrate as it is time to do that bigtime. I am heavily planted so vacuuming is a real nightmare. Would it be too stressful for the plants to pull them all up and vacuum thoroughtly then replant everything?
 

Tom Barr

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Jan 23, 2005
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Re: Vacuuming substrate

I suggest folks do this maybe once a year. But.........only do say 1/4 of the tank at a time. Larger than normal water changes and wait a few days, next week to do the next 1/4 section.

All at once never seems to do well, so the 1/4, 1/3 etc seems to be a better method.

Clean the filter the week prior to doing this.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

fresh_newby

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Apr 2, 2006
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Re: Vacuuming substrate

I cleaned the filter last Sat. I am noticing BGA rightbelow the substrate surface. I have NO OTHER algae of any kind in the tank, but there is a snotty looking film down the sides of the substrate and when i pull it out, it smells like over ripened cucumber peels...yes I am one of those smell people. Anyway, now I have a bigger problem on my hands, which is odd becqause everthing is balanced nicely and plant are pearling like mad, but my PO4 is still up there from the Eco. Does this warrant a black out??? I am not sure if this is a true "outbreak so to speak"
 

ctyank

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Jun 17, 2006
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Re: Vacuuming substrate

I have BGA just under the surface on the sides of my tank as well. I don't worry about it down there. If it creeps onto the substrate surface or the plants then its War. But it really isn't hurting anything down there. Why make a lot of unnecessary work for yourself?

I vacuumed it all out of my tank a couple months ago. It was only along the edge of the front glass. I did a nice scrubbing and it looked beautiful when I was done. But it came back pretty quickly (2 weeks). BGA seems to be closely linked with low O2 levels. I would expect that under the surface. It is only along the front of the tank where a decent amount of light gets added to that equation (from the tank and nearby windows) that I have the BGA. However, I merely speculate.

You are right about the smell... I feel like getting that white stuff that coroners smear under their noses.
 

reiverix

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Jan 29, 2005
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Re: Vacuuming substrate

Hi.

No matter what method you choose, physically removing as much BGA as possible is always a good first step.

If you have an external light source hitting the glass in the area affected by BGA (like if you have BGA growing under the substrate and only along the front of the tank or a certain side where light from a window hits it) then first remove or limit the light source. This helps if you are relatively sure the cause is an external light source and not just high powered tank lighting making its way down through the substrate. You can then run a line of electrical tape or any other light-blocking tape outside the bottom edge of the glass to create a controlled blackout of the affected area.

You can do the full-tank blackout.

You can use the antibiotic Maracyn (not Maracyn II) to kill the BGA.

So there are different options depending on what you want to try. In a stem tank I had I ultimately decided to use Maracyn. I tried dosing it at 1/2 dosage (1/2 pill per 10g). This got rid of all but the most stubborn patch of BGA. Upping to full-strength dosage took out all the BGA.

Using pills isn't the most natural way to deal with BGA but it's probably the easiest once you've corrected the cause of the problem. The stems don't get leggy and the plants continue to grow as usual. If the tank isn't too big it's fairly cheap as well.

Just depends on what you want to try and what your philosophy is.