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substrate maintenance

I'm a relative newcomer to aquatic plants, and have had my tall 45G tank
set up for about 18 months now.  What do people do to maintain the health
of their substrate?  My substrate is 100% Flourite, and I haven't done
much to it at all other than regular vacuuming.

I was recently putting in some clippings I got from someone on this list
(thanks Erica!), and was reminded that the substrate has become tightly
packed with roots throughout the aquarium-- including roots that are
certainly dead, as the plant has either been relocated/eaten/died, etc.
Is there any need to break up or loosen Flourite substrate?  I've seen
some posts about substrate-burrowing snails in the archives, but have
never seen them in my LFS and am not sure they would like the rather
course texture of Flourite anyway.  Any ideas or advice?


Ziad Munson