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If you are using a Python type gravel vacuum, you shouldn't need to stir up the gravel ahead of time. You can use a single edge razor blade (glass tanks only) for the buildup along the bottom edge of the tank.

I find it common to have some slight cloudiness after starting up a cleaned filter because any gunk in the hoses and tubes gets a burst of water which flushes out the debris. You could use a net filled with floss and hold it on the filter output before plugging the filter back into the power source or clean out the hoses and tubes more often.
 
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