Low Tech Plant Maintenance and Mulm

AlanRR

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Hi All

I've been reading through the forums and just want to check my understanding on maintenance in a low tech tank. Am I right in concluding that mulm can be allowed to build up more in a low tech tank (thank high tech) and just removed when it builds up a lot? What does this mean in terms of dead leaf removal. My tanks is new and I have quite a lot of melt, should I be actively removing melting leaves or leaving them for bacteria/plants to make use of?

Thanks

Alan
 

Tim Harrison

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It can work okay, but I don't think it's a good idea to allow mulm or dead leaves etc to build up, even in low-energy tank. If you want a source of nutrients for your plants it's best to use a Gucci substrate like ADA or Tropica AS etc, or soil capped with sand or gravel and dose inorganic fertz.
The build up of decaying organic matter increases biological O2 demand, can cause ammonia spikes which in turn can stress critters, and can trigger algae. I think it's probably better to syphon it out every week as part of your weekly water change and maintenance routine. For me keeping a spotlessly clean tank is key to success and it's much more aesthetically pleasing.
 

AlanRR

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Thanks Tim. I am using a Tropica substrate and doing daily light doses with fert so I guess that should be enough. I am going to be away for a couple of weeks in a while though and won't be able to keep up with the daily doses so I was wondering if ultimately a bit of mulm would help buffer such times.

Another question I wanted to ask was how frequently I should be changing water. I'm still doing 50% daily at the moment (the tank has only been up for 12 days), should I be starting to cut that back?
 

Tim Harrison

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I am going to be away for a couple of weeks in a while though and won't be able to keep up with the daily doses so I was wondering if ultimately a bit of mulm would help buffer such times.
Still no need to allow mulm to build up, just shove in a couple of weeks doses before you go. If your tank is low-energy (no LC or CO2) it shouldn't require any more than 1/5 to 1/10 EI anyway.
Another question I wanted to ask was how frequently I should be changing water. I'm still doing 50% daily at the moment (the tank has only been up for 12 days), should I be starting to cut that back?
I think it'd be safe to cut back to once or twice a week now, and once your plants have become established and your tank biologically mature and stable you could probably get away with less. But personally I'd keep up with at least one substantial water change a week, and use it as an opportunity to remove solid and dissolved organic waste.
 

Soilwork

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In my experience mulm is pretty harmless. Great for tubiflex too.

DADD25F9-62FD-4BBE-B046-3977178B7A4F.jpeg
 

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