Do you have sand substrate? Do you fret over losing sand when you’re vacuuming it? Don’t.
Losing some sand when you vacuum is inevitable. What’s important is that you clean it well. The longer detritus sits on the substrate of your tank, the more nitrate that gets produced as the final stage of the chemical process responsible for the breakdown of waste. Sustained, high nitrates will eventually kill your cichlids, which will cost your more to replace than the sand.
When I clean my 40g and 55g tanks, it’s not uncommon for me to lose a total 1/4 – 1/3 cup of sand. Since I clean my tanks weekly, that amounts to around a cup per month. I’m okay with that and I use Aquarium sand, which costs significantly more than other aquarium compatible sands.
Even if you use the expensive Aquarium sand varieties, the cost of the sand you lose is not high. Assuming you lose the equivalent of what I do each month, your total expense to replace your sand each year would be less than $30. How much do you pay for a couple of cichlids? Sure, there are many other reasons to worry about fish loss not related to detritus on your substrate, but worrying about losing sand because you’re sucking too much of it up shouldn’t be one. A clean substrate is a vital component of a healthy tank, especially if you don’t have live plants.