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Tank Maintenance

Posted By: Mr Leadfoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Wednesday, 14 August 2002, at 1:58 p.m.

Like many of you, I have more than one tank. One of them has a UGF with powerheads and a powerfilter. This tank's water is always crystal clear. When doing water changes, I clean only 1/4 of the gravel every other change. I also clean the powerfilter on days when I don't do water changes. I do this because if I do vaccum the entire gravel bed, I get a bacteria bloom. Same goes for cleaning the powerfilter during changes that invove partical gravel cleaning. So, the method described above is a good balance for this tank.

Now, I have another tank, which only uses a powerfilter. At first, the water was very clear. I changed water every week, then switched to every two weeks. I cleaned gravel every time I changed. But, now, this tank's water is never crystal clear. It's almost as if there's a fog in the tank all the time. My maintenance routine differs in this tank, however, since it doesn't have a UGF. I now vaccum the gravel every other time I change water. At first, I vaccumed all the gravel, really well, every change. Then I switched to only partial gravel changes. I've even tried light partial vaccums, but still the water wants to be hazy. I've even added a 2nd sponge, thinking I wasn't getting enough minute particle filtering. That didn't work, either, so I added high-quality, phosporous-free (so they say) carbon, too, thinking that the granules might be better picking up smaller debris. Is there some hint someone can offer? Or, is it just that powerfilter-only tanks are never crystal clear? Also, since there's no UGF, don't you have to vaccum the heck out of the gravel, since the waste will just sit if you don't? I ask because in my UGFed tank, the bacteria in the gravel breaks down the waste really well, so vaccuming isn't all that much of an issue; I can even skip vaccuming for weeks, and probably even a couple months (though I've never tried it), if you have good aeration in the gravel.

I should say that this tank started out with like 80 fry. Yes, they've grown a bit, but some have died off, and some have been removed for sale. I find it hard to believe that the fish load is to blame, because it really isn't that much over limit. My other UGFed tank is more heavily-stocked than this one.

Any comments or tips would be greatly appreciated.

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