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Re: cleaning substrate

Laurel wrote:

> Hi. I am wondering if there is a good method for cleaning substrates in 
>  heavily planted tanks. I am having a very difficult time vacuuming my 
>  fluorite because my tank is carpeted with crypts.  I believe that my 
>  thus mulmy substrate is the major cause of an ongoing green water 
>  problem ( I don't feed much, do large volume weekly water changes, use 
>  CO2/trace elements, limit light to 10 hours/day, have a clean up crew of 
>  snails/ghost shrimp helping out). 

I don't know that fish mulm is the cause of green water. It depends on the 
nutrients available in the water, _supposedly_, right?

Side by side, I have 2 10-gallon tanks: a flourite tank set up next to a sand 
over peat & kitty litter on the bottom. This 2nd tank has not ceased to be 
problem for me, despite redoing a few times, adding more sand on top, 
clean-outs etc.  One thing I can count on, the water will eventually turn 
green, and I don't know why. Even when there is no fish in there. Even when I 
block off the back of the tank from daylight. Even after I started pumping in 

Next to this I have a flourite tank. It is open to daylight and has maybe 40 
watts lighting over it, no co2. Just last week I I pulled out heavy growth of 
cabomba, some egeria, and a lovely type of mat algae that comes easily off 
the plants. IMO, this is a desirable algae to grow, and I'm thinking of 
introducing it into my other aquariums. Anyway, the plants had to come out, 
because it was time to thin out the ever-growing fish population. There must 
have been about 200 fish in there of varying sizes, guppies and platys, and 1 
betta. There was so much mulm collected on the flourite that it coated it in 
a layer. I feed the tank at least 2x per day, since there is always fry and 
growing fish.

In any case, this tank has NEVER had green water. I was just thinking of 
posting a question to the list myself, as I'm wondering whether a tank with 
flourite ever had a green water problem (guess they do). I'm thinking of 
taking that eyesore tank, and dumping the substrate and replacing with 
flourite, but I really like the look of the sand. 

I can't help you out on your question as to how to thoroughly clean your 
flourite substrate without uprooting your plants, but I can offer that I 
don't think it's necessarily the problem. Want some of my algae?