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Removal of organic waste


9 Jul 2007
Hi guys,

I notice a lot of you are very strict on the removal of organic waste but I havent really seen decent definition of exactly what that means (i.e. rotting plants, fish poo ect)

Also, what do you do to remove each of the different catagories? (i.e. gravel vac ect)

I know this will help me and could possibly help other new members as well.



Expert/Global Moderator
Staff member
11 Jul 2007
Chicago, USA
Anything that was alive and is now dead, or anything that was part of a living thing and is now detached can be considered organic waste. This will included not only the things that you can see such as feces and rotting plant bits, but also the things that you can't see such as urine (and whatever other products are expelled into the water column from fish gills) and other organic products ejected by the plants such as carbohydrates. Organic waste is also expelled by bacteria and whatever else is alive in the tank such as algae, snails viruses and other germs. These products can be found in the sediment as well as in the water column and adhering to any submerged surface.

Gravel cleaning, glass cleaning, filter cleaning, hose cleaning, hardscape cleaning and plant fluffing all accompanied by water changes, removes these products. The more water and waste removed the better and cleaner the ecosystem, and the less chance there is for NH4 buildup as these products break down.

Hope this helps.

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