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vacuum and plant eating snails



I have been reading the postings and have surmised that using some soil 
under the gravel (2-3mm) is advantageous for the growth of plants.  
However, as a hardened fish keeper, recently turned gardener, I have 
always acted on behalf of the fish.  I instinctively want  to clean the 
gravel to get polluting muck out of the water.  Also I want to keep high 
fish population densities.  My questions are:
Do those of you who use a partial soil substrate vacuum the gravel, but 
carefully.  Or do you not vacuum the gravel? Does this cause any problems 
that plain water changes canít take care of?.  Would you suggest a rich 
substrate for a beginner or should I cop out and just use it in pots for 
plants requiring one?.
Also, what would be a typical stocking level per unit surface area.?
I found that snails do eat plants.  At least my snail ate some of my 
plants.  I watched the snail, a ramshorn (with brown and white swirls), 
cut off at the base a rotala indica and noticed that  quite a few vallis 
leaves were floating.  There was also an apple snail (I think).  He kind 
of hung out at the top.  I donít know to what extent he played a part in 
the troubles but I took him out anyway so as to show no prejudice.  After 
the snails were removed there were no more floating leaves. Do I simply 
have the wrong type of ramshorn snail?.