Re: Do you vacuum? Do you peat/soil?

>From: Mark Wickersham <mwickers at minerva_cis.yale.edu>
>Date: Tue, 2 May 1995 18:44:21 -0400 (EDT)
>I have a 30g long, with just one 20W Lifeguard 
>Biolume fluorescent bulb.  My Java Fern has flourished, and I recently 
>purchased Java Moss and a beautiful little specimen of a. nana.  I only 
>have a layer of bigger-sized gravel for substrate.  I use a Whisper 2 
>power filter.  There are 12 neon tetras, 4 black neon tetras, 2 
>ottocincluses, 1 angel, 3 albino cats, 9 zebra danios, and 1 fluorescent cat.

>My questions are related:
>1) Should I vacuum the substrate during my weekly 5g water changes?

If there is a significant nitrate buildup, you probably should vacuum.
The nitrate test kit from Tetra is about $10 if you order by mail.

>2) Should I mix into the gravel something else in addition to the 
>occasional tablet of Tetra Crypta Hydro?  If so, do I need to remove all 
>the water, fish, and plants temporarily?  My books say that a. nana likes 
>a "rich substrate."

I believe the Tetra tablets contain the major nutrients (nitrogen,
phosphorus and potassium), so they are in a way enriching the

Although many books don't mention it, Anubias nana also grows attached
to rocks, much like Java fern. So I am not sure that it requires a
"rich substrate".  If I were you, I'd experiment a bit.  You could
potting the swords with a different substrate to see if they do
better. Or try not vacuuming for a few weeks.  Sooner or later, you
should figure out what works for you.  Alternatively, you could go
the high-tech route.