Land nutrient soil (granular soil)
Currently, this category is dominated by granular soils. In the past, ordinary land was often used in the practice of aquarists, but over time, granular soils have replaced them, as their offerings have become very diverse and quite affordable.
What are the features of granular nutrient soils? Unlike nutrient substrates, such soils can be used as the main or even the only one. That is, in terms of the volume of such soil, it is necessary to use several times more than nutrient substrates. The question may be reasonable. will there not be a large release of nutrients into the water from such a volume of nutrient soil, uncovered with neutral? The fact is that such soils have a much lower concentration of nutrients and their washing out by water flow from the upper layers of the soil is insignificant. Below is the soil analysis of the ADA Amazonia II published on flowgrow.de
|Iron (Fe)||0.91 g / kg|
|Potassium (K)||1.1 g / kg|
|Nitrogen (N)||0.0128 g / kg|
|Phosphorus (P)||0.087 g / kg|
|Manganese (Mn)||1.32 g / kg|
This is the fundamental difference between nutrient substrates and granular soil soils. In terms of composition, such granular soils can be conventionally represented as a mixture of neutral soil with a nutrient substrate.
You can read more about this type of soil in a special article: Nutrient soil for an aquarium with plants: how it works
Neutral aquarium soils
Essentially, neutral soil is simply the substrate in which the aquarium plants are rooted. Plus, such soil, like any other soil, collects waste products of fish, plant remains. Without soil, all this garbage would float in the water column, leading not only to a deterioration in the transparency of the water, but also to the growth of algae. What does algae have to do with it? The fact is that organic residues will gradually decompose in the aquarium anyway. If they decompose in the soil, then the decomposition products become available to the plant roots. But if these residues decompose in the water column, then they are already available not only to the roots of aquarium plants, but also to algae. Still neutral soils have a decorative function, namely, to create a relief. The most common neutral soils in aquarism are coarse sand, basalt chips, quartz chips, river pebbles. These soils perform only the above functions and nothing more. They do not provide the plants with any nutrients. Basalt is no exception. Despite the fact that it is magnetic and consists of an iron-bearing rock, iron from basalt is not available to plants. In plant aquariums with neutral soil, the use of fertilizers is mandatory.
How much soil is needed and what is its permissible thickness in the aquarium
Novice aquarists are sometimes afraid to pour a large amount of soil into the aquarium, citing two reasons: a lot of pressure on the bottom and acidification of the soil. The first fear is completely unfounded. The bottom of the aquarium can only burst when a lot of weight presses on a certain point of the glass, but under the layer of soil the weight is evenly distributed over the entire bottom of the aquarium and there is no danger of glass breaking.
The second fear is sourness. If a neutral soil with a fraction of 3-4 mm is used in a plant aquarium, then even a layer of 15 cm will not cause acidification in the lower layers of the soil. Plant aquariums usually use high water circulation and active plant photosynthesis saturates the water with oxygen to the maximum level. These two factors ensure the normal functioning of the soil, even with such a large thickness.
The minimum thickness of the soil layer should be 2-3 cm. This is the layer that is sufficient for firm rooting of plants. There are no special requirements for the maximum soil thickness in a plant aquarium. Typically, the thickness of the soil layer in the aquarium ranges from 3 to 7 cm.
The name of this type of aquarium substrate speaks for itself. Such a soil is placed in a small layer under the main soil. Depending on the manufacturer, these are various kinds of mixtures with a large supply of nutrients. Due to the fact that such a soil has many nutrients, it is covered with a layer of neutral soil. If the nutrient pad is not covered on top, nutrients can be washed out and dissolved in the aquarium water. This uncontrolled increase in the concentration of nutrients in the water can cause the appearance of algae.
As mentioned, different brands produce nutrient substrates with very different formulations. Laterite-based nutrient substrates contain a lot of iron, clay-based. potassium, peat-based. nitrogen and phosphorus. Nutrient substrates can also contain other nutrient-rich rocks such as lava. This is worth paying attention to when planning your aquarium. For example, if you need to provide iron for your future plants, then only a substrate that contains enough iron will work for you. Below is the composition of the AQUAYER Nutrient Pad. Compare this composition with the composition of granular soil soils, which will be discussed below. This will help you understand their fundamental difference.
|Calcium (Ca)||8.4 g / kg|
|Iron (Fe)||5.5 g / kg|
|Potassium (K)||1.0 g / kg|
|Nitrogen (N)||6.5 g / kg|
|Phosphorus (P)||0.13 g / kg|
|Magnesium (Mg)||0.75 g / kg|
|Sodium (Na)||0.23 g / kg|
|Manganese (Mn)||0.06 g / kg|
|Zinc (Zn)||0.01 g / kg|
|Copper (Cu)||0.005 g / kg|
Do I need to clean (siphon) the soil?
Much depends on the type of aquarium. In many aquariums, soil cleaning is required. Usually these are aquariums with a large number of fish and almost no plants, for example, cichlids. In the case of plant aquariums, sludge that accumulates in the soil is, on the contrary, very valuable for plant nutrition and it is undesirable to clean the soil from it. In plant aquariums, it makes sense to siphon only decorative areas of the aquarium that are decorated with white, fine-grained sand. Silt does not sink deep into dense sand and accumulates on its surface. This leads not only to a deterioration in the appearance of the white meadow, but also to a decrease in the transparency of the water.
Nutrient substrate for aquarium
Nutrient soils. it is a more complex category of aquarium soils and can be divided into two types: earth soils and nutrient substrates.
Features of the use and care of aquarium soil.
We figured out what kind of soil there are. But there are still many frequently asked questions related to this topic.
Soil for aquarium with plants
If you analyze the numerous forums of aquarists, you will notice that the information about aquarium soils is absolutely not systematized. The effectiveness of soils for many seems to be some kind of mystical and not everyone understands what type of soil works and what types of aquarium soils generally exist. Much of this chaos was caused by the aquarium soil manufacturers, presenting their products as the solution to all the growth problems of aquarium plants. Therefore, in this article, all the most popular soils in the aquarium hobby will be systematized and their properties will be clearly defined.
Here you will not find information about which soil is better. This is not a rating. But at least you will figure out what you need to use specifically in your case. In general, soils can be divided into nutrient and neutral. Let’s start with neutral.
The soil in a marine aquarium is a habitat for invertebrates and fish, serves as a place for corals to anchor and maintains water parameters at the required level.
How to properly siphon soil
The siphon is an ordinary hose with a funnel at the end. The funnel is lowered to the ground level and sludge is collected from its surface. To start the operation of the siphon, a vacuum must be created in the hose, under the action of which dirty water will flow from the aquarium into the substituted container.
When cleaning the soil with a siphon, you must monitor the water level in the aquarium. At one time, it is allowed to drain no more than 25% of the total volume.
When filling the soil in layers (on top of a larger fraction. a smaller one), the looseness of the substrate is lost. It clots, aerobic bacteria die.
Organic waste begins to rot, poisoning the water. Due to the intake of organic matter, algae grow rapidly in the water column.
How I clean Planted tank with aquasoil or full of carpet plants. How I vacuum my aquasoil substrate
The flaky soil cakes, and the water in the aquarium turns into a swamp.
What can not be used as a substrate in an aquarium
Some of the soils on the market are strongly discouraged for use in an aquarium.
Types of soil for the aquarium
All existing substrates used in the aquarium hobby can be divided into 3 groups:
- natural (quartz, pebbles, gravel, sand, lava);
- processed (fired clay, expanded clay);
- artificial (plastics, glass).
In addition, a distinction is made between neutral and nutritious types of soil. Neutral litters do not contain substances beneficial to plants; a sufficient amount of organic matter accumulates in them only a few months after launch. Nutrient mixtures are used in herbal aquariums and serve, depending on the composition of the fertilizer, as source of micro- or macroelements.
Garden land is rich in organic matter. When it enters the aquarium, rotting processes begin, leading to poisoning and death of fish. In addition, the soil contains many microorganisms that can cause disease in the aquarium dwellers.
Glass products have a smooth surface, devoid of pores, which prevents bacteria from multiplying on them. The nutrients necessary for plants are not retained between the large glass balls. Leaching into the water, organic matter poisons fish.
The benefits and harms of siphon soil cleaning
The advantages of this procedure include the fact that it removes excess organic matter from the aquarium that pollutes the water and prevents soil acidification.
They release completely unnecessary substances that are toxic to fish into the aquarium, for example, methane and hydrogen sulfide, as well as rather unpleasant odors and large bubbles of a disgusting look.
The siphon also has enough disadvantages:
- the colony of nitrifying bacteria living in the upper layer of the soil is damaged, therefore, its ability to biofiltrate decreases;
- nutrients that can be used by plants are removed from the soil;
- there is a risk of damaging plant roots.
When you shouldn’t siphon?
The more plants in the aquarium (especially those with a root type of food, such as Cryptocorynes and Echinodorus) and the smaller the total mass of fish, the less often and more carefully the siphon is made. In cans partially planted with plants, the soil is cleaned only in open places. especially carefully at the sight glass. and under snags and decorations. When cleaning near plants, the siphon is not deeply buried and not all the sludge is sucked out: there is no need to wait for the water entering the hose to become crystal clear.
How To Siphon A Fish Tank
Practically do not siphon herbal aquariums completely planted with plants (especially organized on nutrient soils) with a small amount of small fish and shrimps.
The fact is that the roots of plants penetrate the entire thickness of the soil and emit oxygen, although less than green leaves. This oxygen prevents anaerobic zones from forming in the soil. Of course, if the roots of plants are small and weak, and the soil is shallow and laid in a thick layer, then acidification is possible.
In order to avoid this, you need to check the condition of the soil, periodically slightly stirring it up with a thin stick. If bubbles come out of the soil and an unpleasant odor appears, you need to loosen it thoroughly.
Another case when a siphon is contraindicated is the first weeks after starting the aquarium. In this case, it is very important for us to grow a colony of nitrifying bacteria as quickly as possible in the aquarium, including in the ground, so there is no need to bother her.
Is it possible to determine exactly when it is time to siphon the soil?
Experienced aquarists can spot when a clean-up is required by eye. And what to do for a beginner who does not yet feel his aquarium so well, but wants to provide him with the best care?
To determine the degree of soil contamination with organic matter, a very simple test is used. Potassium permanganate is taken (ordinary potassium permanganate). A saturated solution is made: an incomplete teaspoon of crystals dissolves in 25 ml of water, and then more crystals are gradually added there until they stop dissolving.
Then we make an extract from the soil: with a syringe without a needle, slowly suck out water from the soil, trying to get as little detritus as possible, and the syringe does not get clogged. You need to collect in this way 50 ml of water.
Next, 1 drop of a saturated solution of potassium permanganate is added to the water and the sample is placed in a darkened place for 40-50 minutes, after which the color of the solution is assessed.
What are siphons?
Sizes. there are siphons for tall aquariums, standard and very small for nano aquariums.
The shape of the section of the funnel. the most convenient ones are those that have one right angle for cleaning in the corners of the aquarium, and the rest is rounded. There are special narrow siphons for cleaning the soil in the cracks between decorations or plants.
By the way of water suction. the current is created with the help of a pear (I like these most of all), a sharp lowering-raising of the cylinder, or, most often, air is sucked from the hose through the mouth.
There are also battery operated electric siphons. They can both suck water from the aquarium into an external container or sewer, and return it back, cleaning it through fine filters and collecting dirt in a special compartment.
How everything should work ideally?
In a natural (or as close as possible to natural) ecosystem, there are always many participants. Fish excrement and the remains of their meal are eaten by benthic invertebrates. snails, shrimps, protozoa and bacteria. and processed into the smallest fractions.
And if we have a large container with large predatory cichlids? There can be no question of any shrimp, and planting plants is problematic, and all waste accumulates at the bottom in an unprocessed form. This is where the need for a siphon arises.
What is a siphon?
A siphon is a cleaning of the aquarium soil using a special device (a hose with a cylinder or a funnel at the end) by sucking small particles. detritus from the surface and from the soil.
The end of the siphon is placed in the soil to the desired depth, the flow of sucked water picks up everything that is in the cylinder or funnel, but heavy gravel particles settle back, and light detritus leaves through the hose.
After that, the funnel of the siphon is moved and the cleaning of another area begins. Thus, after the siphon, ideally, clean soil remains, without silt.
Where and when to siphon soil?
Based on what was said earlier, it is clear that the need for siphon cleaning of the soil is different in different aquariums.
A regular siphon is required especially in aquariums with large fish and no vegetation. We will not damage anyone’s roots here, no one needs nutrients in the soil (except for any evil spirits like planaria and acrolux, but we are not going to breed them), and the main load in terms of biofiltration should be carried by a powerful external filter and phytofilter.
A daily siphon is also required in aquariums in which fry are grown. As a rule, babies are kept very tightly, and they are fed often, and biofiltration in such aquariums is not fully established. Although there is usually no soil there, feed residues and excrement are siphoned straight from the bottom.
How to use a siphon?
A siphon is a special device for cleaning the soil in an aquarium, which works on the principle of a conventional pump, pumping out contaminated grains from the surface and inner layer of bottom sediments from the tank.
An ordinary siphon consists of a transparent corrugated tube, various types of funnel and a pear. This is the simplest and most efficient pump.
There are also devices that are electrically powered from the mains or batteries, they do not drain the water from the aquarium, but clean it through special filters and return it back to the tank. As a rule, such pumps are used in reservoirs with intensive pollution of the bottom, but frequent water changes are contraindicated there.
To properly siphon the soil in the aquarium, you first need to prepare the inventory. This is the siphon itself, any water container and rags. With good preparation, the cleaning process will be easy and trouble-free.
Usually, at home, this process is combined with a liquid change in the aquarium.
- The bucket for draining the liquid must be installed below the level of the tank to facilitate the outflow of water.
- Place a rag or towel on the edge of the aquarium to prevent liquid splashing when pumping out food debris and other waste. You can also use the towel to wipe your hands, which will be wet most of the time when using the siphon.
- We immerse the tip of the dirt cleaner in the aquarium and begin to siphon the bottom. We create pressure with a pear, and under the influence of contaminated particles, together with water, are sent to a prepared bucket or other container.
- Sandy soil should be cleaned by carefully passing with a funnel without touching the bottom. In tanks with plants, care should be taken not to damage the roots when cleaning silica sand from dirt and silt deposits. If fine fractions of soil still get into the siphon during cleaning, then it is imperative to return them back to the tank, after having rinsed under running water.
- If the soil consists of pebbles, then first we clean the surface, after which we briefly immerse the pump funnel in the ground and raise it, you need to do this operation several times, moving the siphon along different parts of the aquarium. You should not go deeper to the very bottom, only if the aquarium has not been cleaned for a long time.
In a small reservoir, you have to siphon the soil more often, almost once a week, and if fry live there, then every day. In a tank with a volume of more than 200 liters with living plants living in it, the bottom is cleaned at least once a month. If there is no live algae in a large-capacity aquarium, then work is carried out approximately once every two weeks or as it gets dirty.
The cleaning procedure is similar to replacing the water in an aquarium. There is no need to relocate residents of a home reservoir.
After completing all the work, you need to add clean water and wait a while until the dregs settle.
The benefits and harms of cleaning
- regular partial water changes;
- removal of harmful waste contaminating the tank;
- elimination of soil caking for better oxygen access and the development of beneficial bacteria.
Negative sides of soil cleaning:
- the top layer of the soil is disturbed, which leads to the death of beneficial bacteria;
- the ability of biological treatment is deteriorating;
- the risk of damage to the roots of algae increases.
Why siphon soil?
Inhabitants of a home reservoir secrete waste products, all this settles to the bottom and mixes with the soil, which may consist of sand, small stones and other fillers. In the process of natural decomposition of food residues and excretions of pets, decay products appear, which negatively affect the purity of the water and the population of the reservoir.
In any aquarium, it is imperative to siphon the bottom from time to time, even if the water seems clear. Remains of feed, faeces, algae particles, falling to the bottom, create an ecological balance in the tank. But there may come a time when the waste will exceed the norm. The water will become cloudy and become dangerous for fish. accumulated sediments can kill the inhabitants of the aquarium.
To prevent a negative scenario, an urgent need to siphon the soil. The regularity of the cleaning procedure depends on the volume of the home reservoir, the number of fish, plants and other organisms living in it. The work of removing harmful impurities from the reservoir is an essential element of maintaining a comfortable environment in the aquarium.
The easiest and most effective method to find out if an urgent need to tidy up the aquarium is to stir the soil. If air bubbles rise from the strata in large quantities or the liquid smells of hydrogen sulfide, it means that a negative process is taking place in the bottom sediments. It’s time to start cleaning work.
Sometimes it happens that this method does not work, for example, if there is no living plant in the tank. In these circumstances, you will need to use other tests.
But there are also often times when cleaning the soil in an aquarium is not worth it.
- It is forbidden to clean the newly acquired reservoir for the first two weeks. First you need to give time for the formation of colonies of bacteria. Only partial water changes are allowed.
- Cleaning is rarely done in aquariums with small pets and densely populated algae. The slowing down of decomposition processes is due to the fact that a good root system, passing through the soil, facilitates the access of oxygen to all layers of the soil. The resulting air prevents the formation of oxygen-free areas.
- It is forbidden to siphon herbal aquariums densely populated with plants. This destroys the ecological balance, raises silt from the bottom, stimulates the release of harmful substances and damages nutrient deposits for algae.
Care and maintenance
Siphons are simple and easy to maintain. After completion of work, the device should be disassembled and washed in running water. If the device is very dirty, a mild soap solution can be used. Then rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.
It must be remembered that any chemicals are harmful to fish. If it is not possible to wash, then the parts must be replaced with new ones.
How to siphon soil in an aquarium?
The aquarium is a closed ecosystem and needs to be maintained in optimal balance with the help of the owner. Fish must live clean. Correct and timely cleaning of the soil is the key to the long life of pets.
What to do to clean the bottom less often?
In order to less often carry out the procedure for cleaning the soil at the bottom of the aquarium, it will be necessary to reduce the number of fish in the reservoir, plant more algae with a reliable root system and exclude overfeeding of pets.
And even if all the rules are followed exactly and on time, the siphon will still remain a necessary accessory in the set of aquarium lovers.
How to siphon soil in an aquarium, see the video below.
How to siphon soil in an aquarium
In every aquarium with fish and living plants, biological waste accumulates in the ground. These are food residues, dead leaves and fish excrement. All this turns into silt over time. Of course, a certain amount of silt should be in the soil, because it is he who is the breeding ground for aquarium plants. But even a lot of silt is bad for the aquarium and its inhabitants. Some fish dig in the ground in search of food, picking up dirt from the bottom that settles on decorations and plants, which leads to the appearance of a black beard or flip-flops on the plants. In addition, from a large amount of organic matter in the water, nitrites and ammonium increase, the fish begin to itch and ache.
To remove dirt from the aquarium, the soil is siphoned once a week with a simultaneous water change. With a siphon, fish waste products, food residues and rotting leaves of plants are removed from the soil, nitrites are removed. Loosening of the soil improves gas exchange at the roots of aquarium plants. How to properly siphon the soil so that the home reservoir remains clean?
Disadvantages of the procedure
Siphoning the soil harms the nitrifying bacteria that live in the upper soil layer. If you thoroughly siphon all the soil in one day, then a bacterial outbreak can occur in the aquarium. In addition, there are no nutrients left in the soil that are necessary for plants. If the siphon is immersed deeply in the soil, the roots of the plants can be damaged. Loosening of the soil leads to the ingress of nutrients into the water, which can lead to the appearance of algae.
How often to siphon the soil?
The soil cleaning mode in each aquarium is individual. It all depends on the population of the aquarium, the frequency of feeding of aquatic organisms, the presence of snags and live plants in the aquarium, as well as the thickness and material of the soil.
Plantless aquariums in which large fish live are siphoned every week. Siphon follow the entire surface to the thickness of the soil. In such containers, an external filter is installed, which is a biological filter.
Every day, the containers in which the fry are grown are removed. This is necessary due to the high fish density and frequent feeding. As a rule, there is no soil in such aquariums, so the remains of food are removed directly from the glass bottom.
Aquariums that are not fully planted are siphoned once a week and only in open areas and under driftwood. Do not siphon near plants.
What happens when the soil is siphoned?
In the soil with a fraction of 2-5 mm, detritus clogs the empty space and the environment becomes weakly anaerobic, which has a good effect on plant growth. Bacteria live on the surface of the soil, processing organic residues. During the siphon, the upper part of the soil goes down and the nitrifying bacteria die. There are problems with nitrites and ammonia in the tank. Nitrifying bacteria need time to recover.
During cleaning with a siphon, a lot of silt gets into the water, the water becomes cloudy, which leads to the release of ammonium and organic matter into the water. This in turn leads to the appearance of filamentous algae, black beard or flip flops. Therefore, you do not need to overdo it with cleaning.
If there is a lot of dirt in the aquarium, then do not rush to restart and wash the soil. After a day, siphon a small section of the container well, about 15-20% of the bottom area. In this case, hold the siphon in one place longer than usual. Remove the plants from the soil, and plant again after cleaning.
Please note that biofiltration will decrease, and will recover in a day. To reduce the load on the aquarium, the fish are not fed that day, and the next day they are given less food than usual. To restore the balance as soon as possible, you can add a culture of beneficial bacteria to the water.
What is so good about the procedure??
By siphoning the soil, you remove excess organic matter and dirty water from the aquarium. Stirring of the soil during the procedure prevents its acidification, that is, the soil does not cake, and putrefactive bacteria are not formed in it, emitting hydrogen sulfide, which has a very unpleasant odor.
When you shouldn’t do soil cleaning
If the aquarium is densely planted with plants and a small number of small fish live in it, then it should be siphoned as rarely as possible. At the same time, near the plants, the siphon is not deeply buried in the ground. Such actions will not allow to suck out all the silt, but leave a part for feeding the plants. You should not worry about soil acidification, since plant roots penetrate the entire soil and release oxygen, which prevents anaerobic zones from forming in the soil.
If the plants have weak roots, and the soil is shallow and laid in a thick layer, then acidification is possible. To avoid this trouble, it is necessary to periodically stir up the soil with a stick. If an unpleasant odor appears during tedding, bubbles appear, then it is necessary to loosen the soil well.
You cannot siphon the soil in the first month after starting the aquarium. The fact is that a colony of nitrifying bacteria has just begun to form in the soil, which should not be disturbed. In this case, it is necessary to make a water change without a soil siphon.
It is not recommended to siphon densely planted herbalists with a nutritious substrate. As a rule, there are almost no fish in these aquariums, so regular cleaning is not necessary. It is enough to change the water and remove the dying leaves. A siphon of soil will deprive the roots of plants of nutrition. In addition, silt will rise from the bottom, and the nutrient substrate will be washed out from under the soil, depriving the plant roots of nutrients. If there is a need for a siphon, then the soil is siphoned only from above.
The benefits and harms of a soil siphon
Siphon the soil with a siphon. This is a hose with a cylinder at the end. The end of the siphon, its cylindrical part, is placed in the ground at a shallow depth. Together with the sucked-in water, small particles of detritus enter the siphon and are removed from the aquarium, and the heavy soil falls back.
When to siphon soil in an aquarium
When to siphon soil in an aquarium?
One of the functions of the soil in the aquarium is its participation in the biological filtration of water. The surface of each individual granule is a useful area for colonization by microorganisms that take part in the nitrogen cycle. That is, they convert hazardous ammonia and nitrites into less hazardous nitrates, which are either absorbed by plants or removed by changing water. Consequently, any substrate needs time for bacteria to colonize. This process usually takes about two months. By applying the bacterial culture to the soil (in powder or capsule form), the time can be shortened to two to four weeks. However, if you want to achieve stable conditions in the aquarium, the soil in the aquarium cannot be siphoned for the first 2-3 months. But water changes must be carried out regularly.
Further, it all depends on the type of your aquarium. If it is decorated with artificial plants, without living flora, soil cleaning must be carried out regularly. The fact is that living plants use the accumulated mule, sediment and fish waste to build their body, thus removing them from the water (by cutting leaves, cuttings). If they are not in the aquarium, these substances accumulate in large quantities, which leads to poisoning of fish and other inhabitants of the aquarium. Siphon soil in an aquarium without live plants, it is necessary about once every two weeks. If cleaning is carried out more often, the population of microorganisms may not have time to recover, but if less often, the danger of fish poisoning increases. An exception in this case is aquariums with a noticeable overpopulation, soil cleaning in them is carried out more often (once every 7-10 days).
The soil in an aquarium with live plants can be siphoned no more than once every 6-12 months. First, as mentioned above, plants use the accumulated mule as nutrients. Secondly, plant roots are able to independently create the necessary conditions for growth (even saturate the soil with oxygen). Thirdly, microorganisms can enter into symbiosis with plants, and soil cleaning makes these conditions impossible. In addition, by cleaning the soil, you release a lot of nutrients into the water that will upset the balance of the aquarium and cause an outbreak of algae (the sudden appearance of a black beard or filamentous fiber). When starting a herbalist, nutrient substrates are often used under the soil, designed for six months. year of use, apply granules or balls as fertilizers. If a siphon soil, they just wash out and do not fulfill their functions.
But how to understand, when it’s time to siphon the soil in the aquarium, planted with live plants? Very simple. It is enough to monitor the condition of their roots. If, after the next weeding, you suddenly notice that the roots of the plants have turned brown and, perhaps, slightly rotted, this is a signal that it is time to clean the soil. In good conditions, the roots should be white, brown roots are also allowed in some species (for example, Echinodorus), but they should be strong, without visible signs of decay. Long white roots in long-stemmed plants also indicate soil acidification and the need to clean it.
However, in an aquarium with live plants, you need to monitor the cleanliness of the soil by collecting fallen leaves, food debris, fish carcasses and other contaminants from its surface. It is convenient to carry out this procedure in conjunction with a regular water change, moving the hose at a distance of 2-3 cm from the ground surface.
Why clean your aquarium
Regular maintenance is required for every aquarium, regardless of its size and number of inhabitants. At the bottom of the aquarium there is a soil (substrate), it can be either sand with large particles, or pebbles, lava, coral chips. The main role of the soil in the aquarium is the habitat of bacteria participating in the biobalance of the reservoir. In the process of life, the substrate accumulates the remains of food and excrement of inhabitants, parts of dead plants, leaves and stems, all these elements settle to the bottom.
Particles of organic waste must be present in the aquarium, they work, ideally forming a sustainable and natural process. Gradually, the level of accumulated organic matter increases, it can exceed the norms that pollute the water. Such soil must be siphoned without fail. Cleaning the aquarium is important to ensure the quality of life for the inhabitants and plants.
Pollution can occur when the number of fish and plants within the same water body does not match, for example, with a small amount of flora and a large number of inhabitants, the volume of fish excrement and food residues increases, which leads to the need to clean the aquarium. Before siphoning the soil, it is important to familiarize yourself with the types of siphons, choose the appropriate.
How to properly siphon soil in an aquarium
Siphoning the soil, as a rule, should take place together with a water change in the aquarium. It is not recommended to deeply deepen the siphon hose inside the substrate, it is enough to clean the top layer.
Places in the corners, under various elements and snags should be especially carefully cleaned. It is forbidden to siphon soil layers near plants with a powerful root system, since all organic sediments for them are an excellent forage base necessary for successful life.
The cleaning interval and the amount depends on the particular aquarium. Whether it is necessary to siphon soil with plants and fish depends on the number of inhabitants, the type of fish, the frequency of feeding and the type of soil in the aquarium. In a large body of water with large fish without plants, cleaning should be done every 2 weeks regularly. If the container is densely populated, then the cleaning frequency is reduced to 1 week. And also daily siphon pots, where the juveniles live, despite the fact that there is no soil there.
Special care should be taken when cleaning a tank planted with plants that have roots. It is not recommended to deepen the siphon in the disembarkation zone. This procedure should be carried out no more than once a year.
Signs that you need to siphon the surface:
- if you disturb the soil with a stick, air bubbles and turbidity are released from it;
- the roots of the plants have turned brown, are rotting, this can be detected during weeding.
Types of siphons for aquarium
Siphons differ by type depending on the characteristics:
- method of suction;
- funnel section shapes.
In terms of size, cleaning attachments can be standard for large aquariums and small for nano aquariums. Depending on the shape of the funnel section, the siphon can be:
- rounded siphon with one right angle;
The first version of the siphon is versatile and convenient, the right angle is designed for cleaning corners. With such a device, you can clean the entire area of the container. Specialized narrow siphon tube designed for cleaning in crevices between objects, plants and other hard-to-reach places.
There are electrical appliances, they run on batteries. The device can operate in two ways:
- The first is that water is sucked into the sewer or another special bowl.
- The second method involves returning the water passed through the filters back to the aquarium.
This simple device is especially necessary when large amounts of water changes are not recommended. The electric device is used for containers with a water level of not more than 50 cm.
The simplest and most affordable version of a siphon that you can make yourself is a plastic flask with a soft hose or a wide plastic funnel nozzle, a hose and a rubber bulb. In the first version, water will be pumped through a hose to help the fluid move, it is necessary to draw air from the tube. In order to avoid the ingress of soil elements, the hose is pressed by hand so that the granules fall to their original place. The dirt cleaner with a funnel attached to the hose works according to the following principle: the funnel is lowered to the surface, the other end of the hose is in the bowl for receiving water. The bowl should be located strictly below the artificial reservoir (then, according to the laws of physics, water will flow without constant “pumping”).
The water pressure depends on the width of the siphon tube. The wider the tube, the more powerful the pressure. The hose should be transparent to make it easier to follow the cleaning process while the siphon is being moved inside the aquarium.
The benefits and harms of siphon soil cleaning
- prevention of acidification of the substrate, where oxygen does not enter, and harmful bacteria settle;
- removing excess amounts of organic matter that pollute the water.
As a result of acidification, unpleasant odors are released, toxic elements for fish, such as methane and h2s (hydrogen sulfide), therefore it is necessary to siphon the soil in the aquarium. A regular siphon is required primarily for densely populated bodies of water.
- the settlement of living bacteria located in the surface layer of the substrate is damaged, the ability to biofiltrate deteriorates;
- removing from the soil nutrients that feed the roots of plants, including those of small size:
- the risk of damage to the root system of the flora increases.
To determine how often you need to siphon the soil in each particular aquarium, it is important to take into account all the environmental conditions inside the aquarium, the number of small and large fish, the presence of plants in it.
When you shouldn’t siphon
- Rarely do aquariums that are completely planted with few small fish and shrimp are cleaned. The absence of acidification is due to the fact that plant roots pass through all layers of the soil and release oxygen. The released oxygen eliminates the formation of anaerobic zones. The exception is small and weak roots in combination with a shallow soil, lined with a thick layer. To control the situation, you should periodically check the soil by loosening it with a thin stick.
- It is forbidden to siphon a newly launched aquarium, it will not be possible to siphon it earlier than after 14 days. It is first necessary to grow a colony of nitrifying bacteria in the reservoir, only a water change is allowed.
- It is forbidden to siphon the herbal aquariums that are densely planted. The siphon will upset the balance, depriving the plant roots of the necessary nutrition. Cleaning helps to raise silt, which throws harmful substances into the water, including ammonia. Another feature of the herbalist is the nutritional substrates, which are washed out during cleaning, losing their benefits.
Let’s figure out once and for all how to siphon soil in an aquarium correctly
Every aquarium, even the most frequently cleaned one, contains organic waste. These elements settle to the ground and accumulate in it. In order to keep the inside of the reservoir clean, it is necessary to siphon the soil in the aquarium. Novice aquarists should know how to correctly and by what means to carry out this procedure.
What can you do to siphon less often
In order to siphon the soil in the aquarium as rarely as possible, you should reduce the number of fish, increase the number of plants with a powerful root system. It is important not to overfeed the inhabitants so that less food debris is formed. Soil with particles of the same size does not cake, the probability of acidification of such a substrate is minimal, so it makes sense to choose just such a soil. The more conditions in the aquarium are met, the less often the siphon is done.
However, even under ideally created conditions, the siphon will be an indispensable thing in the economy of an artificial reservoir. Siphoning with a certain frequency is necessary for each aquarium (except for the cases described above). Based on the characteristics of the treated reservoir, as well as personal preferences, you can choose a convenient and affordable type of siphon for yourself.