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I ask because I vacuumed the gravel and did about a 25% water change Saturday and now my water is a little cloudy. I was going to vacuum it again this Saturday as well. How often do you guys clean your tanks?
 

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Queen Platy
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It is possible.. because sucking up all the bacteria along the bottom floor depletes the tank of the bacteria necessary to break down waste and debris. I never vaccuum my gravel, but it is because I have a lot of plants, and I use the waste and debris for nutrients.

Try vacuuming half a tank, and on your next cleaning, vacuum the other half.
 

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It is possible.. because sucking up all the bacteria along the bottom floor depletes the tank of the bacteria necessary to break down waste and debris. I never vaccuum my gravel, but it is because I have a lot of plants, and I use the waste and debris for nutrients.

Try vacuuming half a tank, and on your next cleaning, vacuum the other half.
Ok. I have zero plants in mine (can you get freshwater plants for your aquarium? My LFS doesn't carry them). I can do half and half. Is a 25% water change bad for a 22 gallon tank?
 

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I ask because I vacuumed the gravel and did about a 25% water change Saturday and now my water is a little cloudy. I was going to vacuum it again this Saturday as well. How often do you guys clean your tanks?
my 10g I just tore down had been runing for 8 years.

No cleaning, no water changes, no filter. I had not even touched the inside of the glass for over 3 year. No algae on the glass.

So depends on how the tank is maintained. In my case it is balanced out and stabilized with live plants. And had 20-30 guppies in it from the original cycle trio.

my .02
 

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I have always vaccumed my substrate weekly with my 50% water changes. When I had gravel I vacuumed and stirred aggresively and never started a new cycle. Now with my sand I vacuume, stir the sand and vacuume again. I have never had my established tanks cycle because of weekly maintenance.

85% of the beneficial bacteria is in your filter media - not in the tank. If your tank is cycling you must have disturbed the bacteria in your filter - did you clean your filter as part of your cleaning?
 

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I never vaccum more than half of the gravel at a time. I am wondering Sherri where did you find the info about 85% of the bacteria is in the filter media because I dont think I agree with that.
 

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From 6+ years of experience and sharing information in other forums and hobby enthusiasts. It is a well known fact that your filter media is where the abundance of your good bacteria reside. You can find this information anywhere.

I have changed my substrate in an established aquarium and it did not cycle. When I set up my new 30 gallon,I used new sand, plants and driftwood, I ran my old canister filter on it along with a new one and it did not cycle. There is some bacteria in the tank on glass and decorations - but the amount in your filter media is what keeps your tank stable, and i would challenge any experienced hobbyist to disagree with that.
 

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Well 35+ years raising and breeding FW fish and 12+ years keeping reef tanks tells me otherwise. There is bacteria on the glass, thru out all of your gravel, on all decorations as in plastic plants, rocks and in the water column to some extent. I will ask this and it is for the OP when you have to change out your filter media do you cycle your tank, my bet is no so just go easy with the gravel vacuuming.
 

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Queen Platy
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I dont believe theres only 15% bacteria in the substrate. Just doesnt click. All the debris (plant leaves, waste etc) deposits on the floor, I dont ever do gravel suctioning. This is my bacteria bed and I believe this is where the majority of my bacteria lies.

The filter media is however good for seeding because it also contains a good amount but doesnt compare with the amount in the substrate.
 

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I do respect everyone's opinion and am speaking from personal experience and the experience of many other hobby enthusiasts. You can replace substrate, decorations etc and not have your tank cycle - however, if you replace your old filter with a new one, your tank will cycle - thus, the filter holds the predominate amount of your bacteria. I do not replace the filter media in my canister filters - I rinse it out in old tank water from time to time and when I have to replace any part of it, I do so partially. If you were to remove your filter from your tank today - the bacteria in your tank will not sustain your biosystem and your tank will cycle - you will at the very least have a nitrite spike - this does not occur vise versa when you remove substrate or decorations.
 

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Beaslebob (a well known forum member) has a tank that doesnt even have a filter, therefore no filter media, and does no water changes. His tank has been cycled for at least 7 years :). If I removed my filter media right now, Im 100% sure my tank wont end up in a mini cycle. I change my filter once every 3 weeks but I have never touched my substrate. Its hard to believe 85% of it is in the media. Especially if the substrate has a ton of surface area compared to the media, and im not even including the driftwood, plants, glass, and etc. My HOB filter only sucks halfway up the water column. All of the debris and waste mostly deposits along my floor rather than being sucked up and the floor is therefore where my bacteria feed on.

All of my necessary ammonia-to-nitrite and nitrite-to-nitrate converting bacterias are all along my tank, removing a filter media wont cause a nitrite spike. Only thing I do with my tank is do WC's to keep nitrates below 10ppm due to the sensitive Crystal Shrimps :p.
 

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gee I didn't know I was all that well known. :)

sure you can kick off a cycle by stirring up the gravel. And sometimes there is cloudiness afterwards. I think the main thing is that you have stirred all the "crud" up resulting in more nutrients in the water colum. Until the filters remove that or you kill the lights or the stuff settles down it will remain cloudy. Hopefully for just a short time.

FWIW my 7 year old tank (now torn down for a move) was not unique bit rather standard operation for my tanks since 1979 with the same results.

What happens with planted tanks is the ammonia->nitrIte->nitrate spikes are interrupted by the plants because the plants prefer to consumer ammonia directly. So the spikes are stopped as the bacteria builds up. So at first you get a nitrate spike as the plants forgo nitrates in favor of ammonia. Then when bacteria has built up the nitrates finally drop down.

This also happens when you disturbe the substrate, add fish, have a fish death or whatever. So the tank is very forgiving of my fumbled fingered effots to make it look better.

just my .02
 
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