It's been a year this weekend since we first put fish in our tank. I do weekly water changes and rinse the filters out fortnightly (ie one side each week). The water looks very clean and all the wood and stones are very clean (we have a plague of shrimp at the moment) but the gravel is looking a bit green.
My parents do an annual full clean (ie fish in buckets, tank emptied and scrubbed clean and gravel washed)
Is this a good idea? I'm scared to mess too much - partly because we have loads of baby shrimp and I'd never find them all, and partly because we had a rocky start and things are now very well balanced and water quality is excellent.
Is it worth scooping out some gravel and giving it a good wash and replacing without disturbing the whole tank?
Please don't do a spring clean of your tank, you'll be getting rid of all that lovely bacteria. You can buy gravel cleaners which will suck up the worst of the dirt from the gravel. If you really really want to clean the gravel then I'd do it a bit at a time during water changes and wash the gravel n the used aquarium water.