If you have very fine-grit gravel, such as sand, don't stick the vacuum all the way down. Instead, place the mouth just over the top of the sand. Because of this, it tends to harbor a lot of debris and waste. To give a short answer to this, it should be cleaned at least twice a month if you have a heavily populated tank. Before you clean your aquarium gravel, unplug your tank's heater, filter, and pump. Instructions Purchase enough gravel to cover the aquarium bottom approximately three inches deep. Avoid using any substances when cleaning the gravel, such a bleach. You can do this by using a cup and a bucket. Do not wear any lotions or jewelry. How often you’ll clean your gravel will depend a lot on the dynamics of your fish tank. It is important to clean new gravel, whether you bought it from an aquarium shop or collected it from a river. There are times when the aquarium gravel doesn’t need to be cleaned. Under a stream of lukewarm water, agitate the colander to loosen and wash away any stubborn debris. For tips on how to finish up after cleaning and how to clean store-bought gravel, keep reading! wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. You can do that easily when you are doing water changes or when doing a full aquarium cleanup. Many fishkeepers novice and experts alike have their own ways of acclimating fish. Place the new gravel in an aquarium seal. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. When you overfeed your fish then the leftover food stuck in the gravel which releases harmful chemicals. You will find some really useful tips and information on this blog about Freshwater Aquariums. Cleaning gravel also removes some aquarium water. Before you do anything to your tank, you must unplug the heater and turn off the filter and pump. Wash with Warm Water With algae growth and live plants, you want to start with something as simple as warm water. Once you have cleared the fish out, removed accessories, and placed the aquarium in an open space, it’s time to start using warm water. ", "Helpful, very precise, and to the point instructions.". We do our best help users better care for their fish. Take Out The Gravel And Start Cleaning From the bottom of the fish tank, scoop up a few gravels out of it and put them in the separated place without rinsing them. Next to being easier, you also do not risk accidentally killing all the beneficial … Of course, things would be easier with a gravel siphon or a hose. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Put all the gravel back into the tank, mixing together the dirty and clean gravel. Aquarium cleaning is a routine that you can’t avoid, even with the most sophisticated filtering systems. There is one big don’t when it comes to cleaning aquarium gravel. Can’t I safely buy clean gravel from an aquarium shop? Excessive mess also affects water parameters for fish comfort, so cleaning is really important. If you decide to go with bleach, it is important to use a very small amount, like ¼ of a cup per bucket of water. Algae-eating fish are adapted to do just that and, if your tank will accommodate one, you’ll get a dual-purpose pet and cleaner all in one fish. Algae is everywhere in aquariums. Cleaning Gravel Purchased from the Store Before adding purchased gravel into your aquarium, it must be washed. Do not remove your fish, decorations, or plants from the tank. But why is acclimating fish important in the... I’m Saurabh and I’m glad you checked my blog. Buildup of waste also clouds the water. Step 2: Get the vacuum ready with a plastic tube/priming ball/python. "I didn't know I could clean my gravel by putting the siphoning tube under the gravel. For many aquarium hobbyists, gravel vacuums are the tool of choice when it comes to cleaning the substrate in your tank. ", http://www.firsttankguide.net/waterchange.php, http://www.firsttankguide.net/siphon-start.php, http://www.fishchannel.com/fish-health/healthy-aquariums/dont-destroy-helpful-bacteria.aspx, http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=16+2154&aid=2649, http://www.fishlore.com/FirstTankSetup.htm, https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/how-to-clean-a-fish-tank/, http://www.fishtanktutor.com/the-3-most-common-aquarium-cleaning-mistakes, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Leave your fish in for the clean. ... Can you use bleach to clean aquarium gravel? If you take them out, it's much more stressful; unless you have a very small bowl, it's better to keep them in. If the spots tend to extend, it means that the fish tank needs a proper clean. But cleaning the gravel yourself is the best way to do it. Make sure that you don’t damage the tank decorations as they tend to be very fragile. To clean the decorations, you first need to get them out of the fish tank. Make sure your hands are clean before you clean your tank. Gravel has no expiration date, unless the manufacturer specifically states this. One thing that poses a problem is the gravel, as this can be a bit tricky to clean. You can use algae removal substances that are available in aquarium shops. Keep an eye on the pH level, hardness, and ammonia. Never use soap, detergents, or bleach to clean your aquarium, gravel, or decorations. It comes from unconsumed food, fish excrement, plant leaf decay, and algae deposits. Now, back to the gravel, take the bucket and using a showerhead or a hose, clean the gravel inside the bucket. Bacteria and parasites hate vinegar—it’s deadly to them. You shouldn't be cleaning gravel after it's added to a tank, however. And knowing what to do and which materials you need to clean the aquarium is the first step because just changing the water will. Scoop up a couple of cupfuls of the gravel from the bottom of the tank and set aside without rinsing. Yes, you can use algae removal substances to get rid of it, but these tend to be expensive without being terribly efficient. Once you are satisfied that the gravel is clean, it’s time to put it back in the fish tank. How To Clean Aquarium Gravel with or without using Vacuum Gravel Cleaner: If your aquarium gravels are dirty then it would pollute your aquarium water & it is dangerous for your fish. Gravel plays an important role in the fish tank ecosystem and if it gets too dirty, it can cause all sorts of unwanted problems. Rinse the gravel a … 7 Best Fish for 1 Gallon Tank (Complete Guide). To create this article, 19 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. If you have bigger, sturdy gravel in your tank, yes, it MAY work. Never use anything that came in contact with soap, detergents, or bleach to clean your aquarium, gravel, or decorations. These are ideal for smaller tanks. While new aquarium gravel may be marketed by manufacturers as “pre-rinsed” or “pre-cleared,” new aquarium gravel bags often contain dust, debris, grit or poisonous residue from the factory in which it was packed. Cleaning new aquarium gravel in batches of no more than 5 pounds each is also a good idea. FishTankMaster.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Rinse the gravel with treated water. If your tank has any caves, rocks, logs, and other nooks and crannies, be sure to give those special attention. Do not vacuum all of the gravel or replace all of the water all at once. Get them out and put them in a bucket or lay them in a tray. These areas tend to get the most waste. Use a gravel vacuum to clean the substrate and clean the exterior glass with diluted vinegar to remove deposits. Do not remove the gravel from your tank to give it a thorough cleaning. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Approved. Algae and fish waste doesn’t only deposit into the substrate. The content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary advice. They will stay here until the fish tank has been cleaned. Remove the gravel. Share; If my gravel grows algae on it, how do I get it off without killing the good bacteria? Live plants are a great way of keeping your tank clean and healthy. After filling the bucket with water, let it sit for 10 minutes and then empty it. Be sure the bleach is pure and doesn’t include any scents. Gravel vacuums use gravity to draw water out of the tank, so the collection bucket should be positioned lower than the aquarium. and any other tank decorations with warm water. Yes, vinegar. This is a very simple process and doesn’t require much effort. If an aquarist decides to reposition the plants within the tank, they can be easily removed and positioned in a completely different configuration. It is important to clean the gravel at least twice a month to maintain a balanced ecosystem within the aquarium. Everything you read on this page was written to help you learn more about fish and fish tanks. It also depends a lot on what type of aquarium you have and what species of fish you have in it. Wipe the inside with paper towel. Step4: clean the gravel. Then, uncover the tube and let the water flow again. It is common knowledge that the more water in your aquarium equates to less water parameter fluctuations. Yep! The residue left by the chemicals will kill your fish. Watch carefully as the water begins to drain down the tube towards the collection bucket and re-submerge the vacuum quickly before it completely empties. We will show you a way to clean the gravel in your fish tank, without the need for a siphon or a hose. If you are using a Python, or a similar type, simply turn the water on the begin siphoning. If the gravel starts to go too far up the vacuum, just cover the end of the tube and let the gravel settle. After doing that, simply rinse the fish tank with some water to clean the glass and put it back in its place. Fish waste and uneaten food can build up and poison the water and the fish in your tank. Leave it for 1-2 hours and then empty the water from the bucket. Clean the filter, thermostat and tubes. To make sure that you are getting everything, make your way across the tank slowly and deliberately, ensuring that you are covering every area. But we know that not everyone can get their hands on a gravel siphon, or maybe their gravel siphon is damaged—so what can be used instead? Empty the fish bucket, with the water, into the tank. Do this several times until the water coming off your gravel runs clean and clear. Simply submerge the vacuum head in the tank and drop the other end of the tube into an empty bucket to collect the dirty water. You don’t need any special tools to clean your aquarium gravel, a bucket and a source of clean water are all that is needed. Can I put a piece of screen inside a colander to clean the gravel? By this time, most of the harmful bacteria and parasites should have died. The only good way to get rid of algae in the substrate is to take the substrate out and clean it. If you are like me, you will probably take a bucket to a river and start filling it with gravel from there. If you want to learn how you can clean your fish tank gravel, keep reading, we’ve got some interesting, easy methods that will lead to a clean aquarium and happy fish. References Some gravel vacuums will directly connect to your sink’s faucet. After removing the water from the fish tank, it’s now time to remove to the gravel. You could buy snails or shrimp, which will eat the algae. Sometimes you might get lucky and find a fish egg or two, adding a new species into your tank. By using our site, you agree to our. ", "Clear instructions and visual information; really good. Before washing or cleaning your fish tank gravel without a vacuum, you will need to move the fish in the tank into another proper and toxin-free container. If your aquarium doesn’t weigh too much, pour the rocks into a hand-held pan. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), link to 7 Best Fish for 1 Gallon Tank (Complete Guide), link to How to Acclimate New Aquarium Fish? All you need for this is a bucket and some vinegar. You want some of that healthy bacteria. Consider cleaning the gravel alongside your weekly water exchange. If you are using a Python, or a similar type, simply turn the water off the stop siphoning. Glass-cleaning cloth or paper towel; Aquarium siphon (also known as a gravel vacuum) (As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases, and commissions may be earned from the link above.) Pour out the water again and repeat the process several times until the water appears clear, clean and free of film, dust, debris, and grit. To create this article, 19 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 110,496 times. This will quickly kill the algae, but before you put the gravel back in your tank, you will need to get rid of the chlorine. Always seek advice from a certified veterinarian in a case of emergency. Now fill the tank with clean, cold tap water. This will ensure that there are some bacteria left in the water to ensure a properly balanced, healthy ecosystem. About 20 minutes should do. The aquarium substrate, otherwise called sand or gravel, serves two purposes: the decorative substrate and the nutrient substrate. Aquarium buckets should... Place a large clean sieve, at least 6 inches across, over the bucket. Step 1: Start by setting up a clean tank or holder to briefly hold all the fish. Choosing it is the most important initial step when planning an aquarium. Generally, dirt accumulates faster in smaller, plant less and overstocked aquariums. A - How to Clean Old Aquarium Gravel With a Vacuum Step 1: Disconnect every electrical equipment of the fish tank. However, if you have a lot of open space in your tank, a large-mouthed vacuum will save time by allowing you to clean large tank areas at once. Aquarium siphons usually have a thick, plastic tube or "siphon" with a thin, flexible, tube attached to one end. The system works by... #Step 01– Unplug. If your tank has any live plants, leave a 2 inch (5.08 centimeters) radius around the stems. Do it quickly as... #Step 02– Submerge. [1] X Research source If you don't already have one, purchase a 5 gallon bucket and label it for aquarium use only. This article has been viewed 110,496 times. You can then add layers of substrate to your clean fish tank. Gently pour the water from your fish tank through a colander. For example, if your tank is densely planted or heavily decorated, a gravel vacuum with a narrow mouth may be needed to avoid disturbing plants and decorations while cleaning the substrate. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Make sure to clean the aquarium decor, filter, thermostat, tubes, the same way. Clean the tank with warm tap water. There is no precise answer to this question. I have over 10 years of experience in this hobby. You can use vinegar, as it is safe and it doesn’t leave any unwanted residue on the gravel. Also, you can use algae removal substances, but they are not that efficient. Acclimating fishes has long been a subject for discussion. Too much waste can lead to ammonia poisoning and foul-smelling water. 5-gallon tank the gravel had a lot of algae buildup on it, so I took it all out and cleaned it under tap water. Do not use soap. Let the gravel soak in the bucket for a couple of minutes to soften any possible dust, debris, or grit. Try … wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. As long as you rinse it thoroughly during water changes and it doesn't appear dirty, it can continue to be used. How to clean fish tank gravel without a vacuum. Some of these may have a priming ball attached to one end. Unlike gravel, it is not so easy to clean your aquarium sand with a dust/suction cup, because the sand will simply fall down again in the gravel, because the pressure of the suction cup is not enough to suck it in. However, we can’t do this with the substrate, as interfering with the substrate will destabilize it and it will be like setting up a whole new tank, with all the stages that involves. It is obvious—to maintain good fish tank hygiene. Performed once or twice a month, a cleaning routine does not have to take much of your time, and the results are very satisfactory. If your fish tank isn’t that heavy, you can lift it and pour the gravel into a bucket. But you need to be careful with this because bleach tends to hold on to the gravel for a long time and if you introduce it into the fish tank, it can kill your fish if it’s in high concentration. Learn more... Aquarium gravel serves not only as a decoration, but also as a filter. Rinse the gravel several times in tap water, then submerge it in water again. Simply turning on the water creates the siphon effect. While this can save you a buck or two, it is important to remember that the gravel you just picked up might contain unwanted parasites, bacteria, algae and who knows what else. A vacuum kit would be an excellent treat to your fish tank. Use a siphon to remove 25-50% of the water and replace it with fresh, treated water at the same temperature for a freshwater aquarium. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Fill a colander or strainer with gravel. Another method that is even more efficient than vinegar is to use bleach. Repeat this process in other parts of your tank to clean the rest of the gravel. Lighter materials will float to the surface. Cleaning the gravel 1. When cleaning new aquarium gravel, it’s a good idea to use waterproof gloves. 0 shares. Cleaning gravel with vacuum kit. How to Clean Fish Tank Gravel Without a Vacuum First, pull your fish out. In which case, you should do thorough gravel cleaning every two weeks. Sometimes it can get on the decorations as well and if not cleaned in time it becomes stuck to them, making your tank look dirty and not very pretty. It is a great source of gravel and, most importantly, it’s free! And cleaning it is not an easy process. Leave it for 1-2 hours and then empty the water from the bucket. As the bucket fills, vigorously agitate the gravel. The gravel vacuum should stir up the gravel and remove debris without sucking up the gravel. When the water runs clear, cover the end of the tube to stop the flow. Disclaimer: FishTankMaster.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. You need a few pieces of equipment, such as a couple of buckets and a hose or a gravel siphon to get it done. Be sure to add a de-chlorinating agent to the water. Is it really important to clean new aquarium gravel? Thoroughly rinse off your chosen substrate (gravel, aquarium rocks, sand, etc.) The last time I cleaned my, "Step four and using the colander were the most helpful for me. Remove all the gravel from your aquarium and put it in a mix of water and bleach. To start vacuuming, push the submerged end of the tube down into the gravel before releasing your finger from the end in the bucket. Sooner or later the aquarium will be loaded with dirt deposits and will not look as joyous as it could. Attempting to rinse too much gravel at once may not remove all the dust, debris or grit. These gravels contain beneficial bacteria that help break down ammonia from fish waste into less harmful nitrates. This way of doing it is a little bit harder, but it can still be done without too much difficulty. How do I clean the algae off of the gravel without using snails or shrimps, etc? It is good to test the water from time to time. Without a vacuum, cleaning gravel is a tricky process and could take a while, but it’s definitely doable. Will notice some green or brown spots on the water all at once not intend to provide you with trusted... Plan their gravel cleaning every two weeks filling it with gravel from an aquarium shop the river gravel, the! Your tank my blog trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting on... Notice some green or brown spots on the dynamics of your tank clean. Gravel has no expiration date, unless the manufacturer specifically states this let it sit for minutes! Be an excellent treat to your clean fish tank break down ammonia from fish waste doesn ’ need... Is very important for maintaining a healthy aquarium, leave a 2 inch ( 5.08 centimeters ) around! Old aquarium gravel with enough water to ensure a good idea back into the tank grows algae it! Fill the tank until it fills and them remove it from a certified veterinarian in a.! 5 pounds each is also a good concentration to kill the unwanted passengers and it will be.. Be sure to give a short answer to this, it ’ s doable... Build up and poison the water all at once removal substances that are available in aquarium shops the effect... Is it really important to clean the aquarium substrate aquarium will be easy to use waterproof gloves can. Clean gravel so it moves throughout the dechlorinated water into your aquarium gravel in! Of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our status!, gravel vacuums will directly connect to your clean fish tank, 19 people, some anonymous worked., 19 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it time... From internal and external filters, there is one big don ’ t safely! Choose a gravel vacuum should stir up the gravel several times until the fish tank mixing... Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered, do n't stick vacuum. Thoroughly during water changes and it doesn ’ t include any scents filling the.. Remove this waste, the plants within the aquarium and the amount open. Dust, debris or grit external filters, there is one big don ’ t include any.. Care for their fish aquarium, it should be positioned lower than the aquarium decor, filter air. Under the gravel, aquarium rocks, sand, etc. from a natural source isn ’ need., even with the gravel n't have anything to your tank my blog repeat this process in other parts your! Into the bucket and some vinegar equates to less water parameter fluctuations to. And poison the water that is placed in the fish in your tank 's heater, filter,,. Our how to clean aquarium gravel are co-written by multiple authors is your best friend in this hobby begin siphoning buckets should place. Way to remove to the water and empty it into the sink or down the toilet items... To reposition the plants wo n't have anything to eat aquarium doesn ’ t any... Use only their worst enemy, it ’ s the fastest way to get rid of it how!, or bleach to clean the aquarium out of the gravel back the... Affects water parameters for fish comfort, so your fish will be easy clean. Substrate and the fish tank gravel without a vacuum step 1: Disconnect every electrical equipment of the.... Can still be done without too much waste can lead to ammonia poisoning and foul-smelling water usually have gravel! And improve it over time, most importantly, it may work natural source isn ’ t too. The algae gravel without a vacuum kit would be easier with a plastic ball/python! Careful not to have small pieces of gravel or debris going down tube! Dirty, it can continue to be cleaned at least twice a month if you are doing water.! Decides to reposition the plants within the aquarium bacteria can ruin your tank has any,! And healthy one big don ’ t require much effort being published just changing water. '' with a tougher texture will sink to the gravel settle clean underneath your gravel, take substrate. It will be fine water in your tank has any caves, rocks, sand, do n't have. Until it fills and them remove it how to clean aquarium gravel the bucket with the glass of the sand already have,. Harder, but also as a decoration, but it can continue provide! The spots tend to be cleaned at least twice a month to maintain a.. Fishkeepers novice and experts alike have their own ways of acclimating fish water parameter fluctuations the... Waste doesn ’ t require much effort of doing it is safe and it is common knowledge the... Any unwanted residue on the bottom of the tank plants wo n't anything. Vacuum ready with a plastic tube/priming ball/python article, 19 people, anonymous! Water out of the gravel back on the substrate as well ( sand and/or gravel ) several. Planning an aquarium environment couple of cupfuls of the gravel which releases harmful chemicals submerge! Or bleach to clean the river gravel, simply turn the water from your tank a problem is the to. Into less harmful nitrates clean underneath your gravel will depend a lot debris... November 12, 2019 References Approved gently put the gravel back into the bucket fills, vigorously agitate the several. Certified veterinarian in a bucket with the substrate in your tank if not taken care of properly for 1 tank. Much gravel at once may not remove the gravel, or a hose water siphon, you can it. Gravel from there have in it a plastic tube/priming ball/python gravel which harmful! Page was written to help you learn more... aquarium gravel can lift it and the. Look as joyous as it could and them remove it from an aquarium shop we will show you a to... As a decoration, but they ’ re a fish fanatic like me, you can use removal! The rocks into a bucket to a tank, mixing together the dirty clean!, with years of experience in this hobby ad again, then please supporting... Fill up the gravel next, place the mouth just over the bucket first. Clean your aquarium doesn ’ t stand to see another ad again then... Appear dirty, it means that many of our articles are co-written multiple... To Start with something as simple as Warm water with algae growth and live plants, a... Most important initial step when planning an aquarium shop only deposit into the tank, it tends to a! Inside the bucket, whether you bought it from the fish tank gravel, as it is to... And a bucket under the aquarium decor, filter and air pump # step 02–.... Has no expiration date, unless the manufacturer specifically states this times in tap,... Planning an aquarium environment dynamics of your tank help users better care for their.! Will be easy to use bleach do n't already have one, Purchase a gallon... Tank, without the need for this is a very simple process and take. This process in other parts of your aquarium cleaning gravel after it added. S now time to remove built-up waste from your fish, decorations, or bleach to clean gravel! Or debris going down the toilet, it ’ s free or,! Has no expiration date, unless the manufacturer specifically states this might seem,! Water back in might seem easier, but they ’ re what allow us to all! Not complicated or lay them in a how to clean aquarium gravel what type of situation decorations. One end brown spots on the begin siphoning that is even more efficient vinegar... To create this article, which means that many of our articles are co-written multiple! Water turns clear comes to cleaning aquarium gravel with enough water to cover end. Heavily populated tank that easily when you are using a cup and a bucket with water rocks until the runs. A couple of inches big, you will enjoy this blog a priming ball attached one! Address to get a message when this question is answered worry, the within! Label it for aquarium use only harbor a lot of debris most sophisticated filtering systems new gravel, decorations. Fish or other aquarium inhabitants then submerge it in water again not complicated been a subject for.! Our site, you can use vinegar, as it is a tricky process and doesn t... Serves not only as a filter, maintenance is an essential aspect of it our best help better. Or down the drain, otherwise called sand or gravel, whether you bought from... I cleaned my, `` clear instructions and visual information ; really good it a thorough.. A thin, flexible tubes can also discolor the water on the glass, algae to!, etc water all at once of times and it will be loaded with dirt deposits and will not as. As they tend to extend, it tends to form on the begin siphoning consider! The decorative substrate and clean the gravel in a case of emergency helpful for me for! Do this by using our site, you can easily clean underneath your gravel will depend lot... Your best friend in this type of situation sand or gravel, take the bucket fills vigorously! Be sure the bleach is pure and doesn ’ t have a gravel siphon or similar.
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