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[APD] RE: Mulm in heavily planted tanks

I go about cleaning up my tank gravel in one of about three ways.

1) I'll kick up the water turbulence right before a water change.  Usually
this means moving around the water and fanning the mulm'ed areas with my
hand.  This gets a lot of the detritus and old leaves kicked up unto the
water column and the awaiting python.

2) Temporary power heads or changing the in-tank flow.  This helps to change
where the mulm accumulates in the tank.  Changing the water flow or kicking
up the gph in the tank (and in targeted areas) helps to kick up the mulm
over an extended period of time where the normal filters can pick it up.

3) Replanting parts of the tanks.  I'll try and replant the tank in stages
(usually) to cut down on time constrains.  When I do thing, I'll usually try
and clean an inch or so down in the gravel (fluorite in my case) to help get
rid of some of the excess mulm that accumulates.  I also have the python
ready as I'm pulling up larger plants which will kick up extra mess.

When I notice my water starting to get more dirty (particles in suspension),
it usually indicates that I need to do a light, surface gravel vac.  If it's
still messy, I'll try one of the top two and if it's still messy and extra
algae is a problem, I'll go to three (but this is just about once every 3-6
months for my tanks, if that).  A full replant/redesign isn't but once every
8-12 months, if that.

Mulm is good for plants - but in moderation, IMHO.  Too much leads to algae
- and it's not pleasing to the viewer.

Hope this helps,

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