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Re: ugf and the vacume

Posted By: BB <nettech@bellatlantic.net>
Date: Tuesday, 16 March 1999, at 11:28 p.m.

In Response To: ugf and the vacume (Michelle)

If you are using a stand that allows you to view the underside of your aquarium (because it only supports the edges of the aquarium) you could take a flashlight and have a look at what is really on the bottom of your aquarium. It is the best way to show why imho you need to vacuum. It even allows you to see where the dentrius buildup is the worst. One bad thing about ugf's is they seperate this build up from the gravel where the bacteria grows. Without a ugf that build up you see is in the substrate with the bacteria that can make use of it faster. If you can't see the underside because you are not using a stand or yours dosen't allow you to view the bottom you could try this little exercise. Carefully push the substarte away from all sides of one lift tubes until only the plate is exposed. Remove the lift tube near the base of the plate. (If your using an undertow blue plate just seperate the uplift where the adjustment collar is. or if you have a white plate firmly support the joint at the base and use the other hand to twist the uplift tube off) A word of caution..be careful not to let your substrate enter the hole. Now place the gravel washer ,vacuum over the hole without using the special end that slides over the tube. Start your syphon and watch what happens. I'm thinking your vacuum will fill with dentrius drawn from under the plate. This stuff is what you need to get rid of. If you don't vacuum then it just accumulates. The most important thing (I think) is not to do the whole tank at once. You do not want to disturb the entire biological bed at the same time. Give it a breather to repair itself. If your not close to carrying capicity in your tank, or you have another means of biological filtration then you can get away with this. Worst case your fish die because the bacteria is no longer able to break down toxins fast enough to keep up with your fish when you do the whole bottom of the tank. Better would be the fish are only stressed and incur mild gill irritation, but they live to see another day. Best way imho is to do it in sections with each water change. I'm speaking only of small gravel around #5 or so. I deal with sand, crushed coral, and other substrates differently. As always, just one view..BB

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