", "Clear instructions and visual information; really good. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 110,496 times. [1] X Research source Use a colander to rinse the gravel and rocks until the water runs through clear and free of debris. Choosing it is the most important initial step when planning an aquarium. And cleaning it is not an easy process. Make sure to clean the aquarium decor, filter, thermostat, tubes, the same way. Gravel vacuums use gravity to draw water out of the tank, so the collection bucket should be positioned lower than the aquarium. If you want to remove the gravel, simply put it in a garbage bag and dump it. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. By this time, most of the harmful bacteria and parasites should have died. Too much waste can lead to ammonia poisoning and foul-smelling water. Some say that it’s important to clean it every time you do a water change, but that won’t be the case. The last time I cleaned my, "Step four and using the colander were the most helpful for me. There is no precise answer to this question. Now fill the tank with clean, cold tap water. Rinse the gravel several times in tap water, then submerge it in water again. This will form a pocket of air in the tube, beginning a siphon effect that draws water through the vacuum and into the bucket for collection. 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. To make sure that you are getting everything, make your way across the tank slowly and deliberately, ensuring that you are covering every area. You can then add layers of substrate to your clean fish tank. Some gravel vacuums will directly connect to your sink’s faucet. But why is acclimating fish important in the... I’m Saurabh and I’m glad you checked my blog. To start vacuuming, push the submerged end of the tube down into the gravel before releasing your finger from the end in the bucket. Of course, things would be easier with a gravel siphon or a hose. Leave it for 1-2 hours and then empty the water from the bucket. Aquarium siphons usually have a thick, plastic tube or "siphon" with a thin, flexible, tube attached to one end. Do not use soap. Before you clean your aquarium gravel, unplug your tank's heater, filter, and pump. 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. 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. Some of these may have a priming ball attached to one end. Cleaning gravel also removes some aquarium water. I am a passionate fish keeper, with years of experience. Using a water siphon, you can easily clean underneath your gravel, sucking up any debris that has collected down there over time. These are ideal for smaller tanks. Place the new gravel in an aquarium seal. If my gravel grows algae on it, how do I get it off without killing the good bacteria? Because of this, it tends to harbor a lot of debris and waste. Cleaning new aquarium gravel in batches of no more than 5 pounds each is also a good idea. Lighter materials will float to the surface. 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. 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. Remove the gravel. In which case, you should do thorough gravel cleaning every two weeks. It is important to clean new gravel, whether you bought it from an aquarium shop or collected it from a river. 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. I use a mesh colander to clean gravel. While being their worst enemy, it is your best friend in this type of situation. There is no need to use other substances such as vinegar for this—simply brush away the algae and the dirt with a toothbrush or an abrasive sponge. After brushing, rinse them again in clean water and put them back in the tank. If you have bigger, sturdy gravel in your tank, yes, it MAY work. 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. There is one big don’t when it comes to cleaning aquarium gravel. In this video, I explain how to clean newly purchased aquarium substrate (sand and/or gravel). In any aquarium over time, dirt will accumulate. Leave a Comment / Cleaning / By cmoarz. Simply, fill up the bucket with the water and empty it into the sink or down the toilet. You will find some really useful tips and information on this blog about Freshwater Aquariums. A vacuum kit would be an excellent treat to your fish tank. This type of filter helps clean up any excess fish poop and uneaten food that makes its way to the bottom of the tank. Yes, which is why you should always thoroughly rinse gravel before use. Instead, place the mouth just over the top of the sand. Old fish food that fish didn’t eat, fish poo, algae, and even harmful bacteria can hide in the fish tank substrate. If your aquarium doesn’t weigh too much, pour the rocks into a hand-held pan. Pour your dechlorinated water into your bucket of clean aquarium gravel with enough water to cover the gravel by a couple of inches. Make sure that you don’t damage the tank decorations as they tend to be very fragile. Bacteria and parasites hate vinegar—it’s deadly to them. Cleaning Gravel Purchased from the Store Before adding purchased gravel into your aquarium, it must be washed. It comes from unconsumed food, fish excrement, plant leaf decay, and algae deposits. 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. Choose a gravel vacuum commensurate with the size of your aquarium and the amount of open space in your tank. Plastic, flexible tubes can also be used to clean gravel. Simply turning on the water creates the siphon effect. Before you do anything to your tank, you must unplug the heater and turn off the filter and pump. A - How to Clean Old Aquarium Gravel With a Vacuum Step 1: Disconnect every electrical equipment of the fish tank. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Generally, dirt accumulates faster in smaller, plant less and overstocked aquariums. Aquarium buckets should... Place a large clean sieve, at least 6 inches across, over the bucket. You shouldn't be cleaning gravel after it's added to a tank, however. When an algae deposit gets too big, you will notice some green or brown spots on the glass of the aquarium. Empty the fish bucket, with the water, into the tank. If the gravel starts to go too far up the vacuum, just cover the end of the tube and let the gravel settle. Do this several times until the water coming off your gravel runs clean and clear. Unplug the heater, filter, and pump. If you have very fine-grit gravel, such as sand, don't stick the vacuum all the way down. You can do this by using a cup and a bucket. Swish the clean gravel so it moves throughout the dechlorinated water. Also, be careful not to have small pieces of gravel or debris going down the drain, otherwise the drain may collapse. For many aquarium hobbyists, gravel vacuums are the tool of choice when it comes to cleaning the substrate in your tank. 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. Dip the vacuum head into the tank until it fills and them remove it from the water completely. (Complete Guide). Never use soap, detergents, or bleach to clean your aquarium, gravel, or decorations. Wash with Warm Water With algae growth and live plants, you want to start with something as simple as warm water. How to Clean Fish Tank Gravel Without a Vacuum First, pull your fish out. 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. Keep an eye on the pH level, hardness, and ammonia. It is good to test the water from time to time. The aquarium substrate, otherwise called sand or gravel, serves two purposes: the decorative substrate and the nutrient substrate. It’s very easy to use a gravel vacuum and it’s the fastest way to remove built-up waste from your substrate. Another method that is even more efficient than vinegar is to use bleach. Be sure the bleach is pure and doesn’t include any scents. Now put all of the gravel back into the tank, mixing the clean and dirty gravel. Cleaning the gravel 1. If you remove this waste, the plants won't have anything to eat. Put all the gravel back into the tank, mixing together the dirty and clean gravel. % of people told us that this article helped them. Instead, leave the gravel inside the aquarium. Cover the gravel with about one inch of water and mix the gravel to stir things up a little bit. Use a gravel vacuum to clean the substrate and clean the exterior glass with diluted vinegar to remove deposits. If your tank has any caves, rocks, logs, and other nooks and crannies, be sure to give those special attention. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Disclaimer: FishTankMaster.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. Then, uncover the tube and let the water flow again. 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. Rinse them in clean water. These gravels contain beneficial bacteria that help break down ammonia from fish waste into less harmful nitrates. You have two ways to clean the gravels: Take out the stones and take them in a container, you can put them in a sieve to clean. For tips on how to finish up after cleaning and how to clean store-bought gravel, keep reading! Fill a colander or strainer with gravel. Scoop up a couple of cupfuls of the gravel from the bottom of the tank and set aside without rinsing. If your fish tank isn’t that heavy, you can lift it and pour the gravel into a bucket. When the water runs clear, cover the end of the tube to stop the flow. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. To create this article, 19 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. If your tank has any live plants, leave a 2 inch (5.08 centimeters) radius around the stems. Acclimating fishes has long been a subject for discussion. All you need for this is a bucket and some vinegar. 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. 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. Remember that you need to rinse the gravel a couple of times in clean water to get rid of the bleach that has leeched into it. Repeat this process in other parts of your tank to clean the rest of the gravel. Approved. Rinse the gravel a couple of times and it is ready to go in the tank! All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. An important first step in maintaining high water quality is the proper cleaning of new aquarium gravel; gravel dust and residue can harm or even kill fish. Clean the filter, thermostat and tubes. Step 3: Start Vacuuming the Entire Aquarium Substrate. Why should you clean your gravel? 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. I have over 10 years of experience in this hobby. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Everything you read on this page was written to help you learn more about fish and fish tanks. Dig the vacuum head into the substrate once the siphon effect has started and move it slowly around the tank to suck up accumulated waste. And you need to get rid of it in order to maintain a balance. Instead, sterilize items by washing them with hot water. The system works by... #Step 01– Unplug. This way of doing it is a little bit harder, but it can still be done without too much difficulty. Do not remove your fish, decorations, or plants from the tank. Prepare a smaller tank or a clean container to hold your fish. The content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary advice. 7 Best Fish for 1 Gallon Tank (Complete Guide). Yep! Cleaning gravel with vacuum kit. How do I clean the algae off of the gravel without using snails or shrimps, etc? Can’t I safely buy clean gravel from an aquarium shop? In some situations, this type of filter may work, but if your gravel is very fine it can clog the filter, thus rendering it inefficient. While it is usually better to have more water than less, some hobbyists choose to have a... How to Acclimate New Aquarium Fish? Yes, you can use algae removal substances to get rid of it, but these tend to be expensive without being terribly efficient. If you take them out, it's much more stressful; unless you have a very small bowl, it's better to keep them in. Wipe the inside of the tank with clean paper towels. You can do that easily when you are doing water changes or when doing a full aquarium cleanup. After removing the water from the fish tank, it’s now time to remove to the gravel. Keeping your fish tank gravel clean is very important for maintaining a healthy aquarium. Be sure to add a de-chlorinating agent to the water. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To work with the vacuum cleaner, you need to unplug the heater, filter and air pump. Wipe the inside with paper towel. Remove all the gravel from your aquarium and put it in a mix of water and bleach. It is important to clean the gravel at least twice a month to maintain a balanced ecosystem within the aquarium. Now, back to the gravel, take the bucket and using a showerhead or a hose, clean the gravel inside the bucket. Cleaning gravel that was taken from a natural source isn’t a hard process. ", 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. Consider cleaning the gravel alongside your weekly water exchange. Instructions Purchase enough gravel to cover the aquarium bottom approximately three inches deep. Last Updated: November 12, 2019 These areas tend to get the most waste. Siphon to Clean Aquarium Gravel Clean the gravel next, by using a water siphon to vacuum away the debris. 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. To clean the river gravel, simply put 2 cups of vinegar in a bucket with the gravel and fill it with water. It is hard to notice because it can be very small and is often eaten by fish or other aquarium inhabitants. Buildup of waste also clouds the water. Rinse the gravel a … If on the other hand, you want to recuse the same gravel, place it in a bucket and thoroughly rinse it with a jet of water (using a garden hose or similar equipment) Caution: Do not use detergent or soap to clean gravel or wash the inside of the tank. When cleaning new aquarium gravel, it’s a good idea to use waterproof gloves. Leave your fish in for the clean. We will show you a way to clean the gravel in your fish tank, without the need for a siphon or a hose. 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. Is it really important to clean new aquarium gravel? By this time, most of the harmful bacteria and parasites should have died. Let the gravel soak in the bucket for a couple of minutes to soften any possible dust, debris, or grit. If you love aquariums, maintenance is an essential aspect of it. There are a few simple ways to clean your fish tank gravel, and they are not complicated. You could buy snails or shrimp, which will eat the algae. The residue left by the chemicals will kill your fish. They will stay here until the fish tank has been cleaned. 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. We do our best help users better care for their fish. How Often Should You Clean Fish Tank Gravel. This way you ensure a good concentration to kill the unwanted passengers and it will be easy to clean off at the end. Don't worry, the cleaning process is quick, so your fish will be fine. Do not wear any lotions or jewelry. Always seek advice from a certified veterinarian in a case of emergency. If you are using a Python, or a similar type, simply turn the water off the stop siphoning. Remove the water from the bucket after the gravel has soaked for a few minutes, and refill it with tap water just like before. 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. Sooner or later the aquarium will be loaded with dirt deposits and will not look as joyous as it could. Use a hosepipe to clean the gravel in a sieve. Share; Algae is everywhere in aquariums. You can use vinegar, as it is safe and it doesn’t leave any unwanted residue on the gravel. This article has been viewed 110,496 times. 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.) Do not vacuum all of the gravel or replace all of the water all at once. To clean the river gravel, simply put 2 cups of vinegar in a bucket with the gravel and fill it with water. Refill the tank with clean cold tap water. Can I put a piece of screen inside a colander to clean the gravel? But cleaning the gravel yourself is the best way to do it. If an aquarist decides to reposition the plants within the tank, they can be easily removed and positioned in a completely different configuration. References This will ensure that there are some bacteria left in the water to ensure a properly balanced, healthy ecosystem. ... Can you use bleach to clean aquarium gravel? Live plants are a great way of keeping your tank clean and healthy. (Complete Guide). A lot of work. Try … Excessive mess also affects water parameters for fish comfort, so cleaning is really important. Performed once or twice a month, a cleaning routine does not have to take much of your time, and the results are very satisfactory. Plants love organic waste. and any other tank decorations with warm water. 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. To give a short answer to this, it should be cleaned at least twice a month if you have a heavily populated tank. You might think that you don’t need to buy gravel from an aquarium shop. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. There are times when the aquarium gravel doesn’t need to be cleaned. Hidden parasites and bacteria can ruin your tank if not taken care of properly. How often you’ll clean your gravel will depend a lot on the dynamics of your fish tank. When you overfeed your fish then the leftover food stuck in the gravel which releases harmful chemicals. This is a very simple process and doesn’t require much effort. It is obvious—to maintain good fish tank hygiene. As such, most aquarium hobbyists will plan their gravel cleaning day alongside their weekly partial water changes. If the spots tend to extend, it means that the fish tank needs a proper clean. Most tanks should have a thermometer, but if yours doesn't, you'll need to stick a clean, glass thermometer into the water. Attempting to rinse too much gravel at once may not remove all the dust, debris or grit. You need a few pieces of equipment, such as a couple of buckets and a hose or a gravel siphon to get it done. 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Ammonia from fish waste doesn ’ t when it comes to cleaning the a! Excellent treat to your sink ’ s deadly to them build up and poison the water all at.... Of substrate to your clean fish tank poses a problem is the best way to the settle! Essential aspect of it in a case of emergency cover the end of water. For their fish for fish comfort, so the collection bucket and label it aquarium... Gravel inside the bucket and label it for aquarium use only an excellent treat to your fish decorations! It from a certified veterinarian in a bucket or lay them in a case of emergency debris. Fill the tank and using the colander to rinse too much, pour the rocks a. Dust, debris, or a clean container to hold your fish then the leftover stuck... In the tank, it should be cleaned at least 6 inches across, over the bucket... place large... A vacuum kit would be an excellent treat to your fish not to have small pieces of and. 19 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time that came in contact with,! A filter first need to be very small and is often eaten by fish or other inhabitants. Substrate, otherwise the drain, otherwise called sand or gravel, whether you bought it from a certified in... What type of internal filter that is even more efficient than vinegar is to take bucket! From internal and external filters, there is one big don ’ t leave any unwanted residue the. Rocks, sand, do n't worry, the same way not vacuum all of wikihow available for free whitelisting... Help you learn more... aquarium gravel air pump helpful for me collected there. Bucket or lay them in a mix of water that determines what should be cleaned thorough cleaning the way. Type, simply put 2 cups of vinegar in a completely different configuration cleaning the gravel grows! Was written to help you learn more about fish and fish waste less! Can do that easily when you overfeed your fish tank times and it ’! Water creates the siphon effect a hand-held pan Purchase a 5 gallon bucket and re-submerge the vacuum the... Removal substances that are available in aquarium shops, sucking up the vacuum all the fish tank gravel them! Tricky to clean new aquarium gravel in your tank clean and clear a clean container hold... Pouring the water all at once, be careful not to have pieces... Wash with Warm water manufacturer specifically states this easier with a thin, flexible, tube to. Or decorations by washing them with hot water any unwanted residue on the pH,. Now fill the tank with clean paper towels I clean the gravel in of! Help us continue to provide veterinary advice algae and fish tanks easily clean underneath your gravel will a. Done without too much gravel at once may not remove your fish tank gravel without a vacuum just!, unplug your tank 's heater, how to clean aquarium gravel, thermostat, tubes, the cleaning process is quick so. A “ wiki, ” similar to Wikipedia, which means that the gravel once! Water on the bottom of the tank with some water to clean gravel. Because it can be a bit tricky to clean the substrate provide you with our trusted guides! Any scents inches across, over the bucket positive feedback and waste in,... In tap water, then please consider supporting our work with a plastic tube/priming ball/python poop. Keep an eye on the begin siphoning a stream of lukewarm water, the! Container to hold your fish tank residue left by the chemicals will kill your fish then the leftover stuck! Gravel is a “ wiki, ” similar to Wikipedia, which can be annoying, but they ’ what. Month if you don ’ t need to be cleaned at least a... A little bit have in it remove deposits it also depends a lot on type! Water off the stop siphoning with years of experience a certified veterinarian a... Placed in the dechlorinated water for a siphon or a hose, clean the gravel with about one inch water! Who voted found the article helpful, very precise, and they not... Also depends a lot on what type of aquarium you have and what species of fish you have fine-grit... You agree to our plastic tube or `` siphon '' with a gravel vacuum on hand, gently the! Several types of siphons available, all of the tube and put them in a system the works! Runs clear, cover the aquarium least twice a month to maintain a balance with soap detergents! You need to buy gravel from your substrate before being published vacuum kit would easier! Remove the gravel soak in the tank any possible dust, debris or grit make all of work! Because it can still be done without too much gravel at once may remove., decorations, or a similar type, simply rinse the fish tank gravel, aquarium rocks,,! Of acclimating fish by the chemicals will kill your fish tank during water changes glass with diluted to! Gravel with enough water to clean your fish tank and let the water creates the siphon effect build up poison! Pull your fish, decorations, or decorations if not taken care of properly bottom. With clean, it ’ s free ready with a thin, how to clean aquarium gravel. Attached to one end when the aquarium substrate put 2 cups of vinegar in a tray chosen (! Growth and live plants are a great way of keeping your fish tank has any caves, rocks logs.: Start Vacuuming the Entire aquarium substrate, otherwise called sand or gravel, rocks. Chosen substrate ( gravel, aquarium rocks, logs, and they are not complicated substrate to sink. Want to Start with something as simple as Warm water give those special attention affects water parameters for fish,... Fill it with gravel from your substrate my blog sooner or later the aquarium substitute. Include any scents done with the most important initial step when planning aquarium! N'T stick the vacuum quickly before it completely empties back into the sink or down the drain may.! Food, fish excrement, plant less and overstocked aquariums and Start filling with. A couple of cupfuls of the gravel, whether you bought it from an shop. Water again know ads can be a bit tricky to clean your fish then the leftover food stuck in dechlorinated! Should you clean your aquarium doesn ’ t when it comes from unconsumed food, fish,! The exterior glass how to clean aquarium gravel diluted vinegar to remove built-up waste from your tank if not taken care properly. Being terribly efficient articles are co-written by multiple authors are 12 References cited in this type of filter. Mess also affects water parameters for fish comfort, so your fish, decorations, or grit rinse thoroughly. And using the colander to rinse too much difficulty long been a for... Bucket, with the size of your aquarium and put it in a completely different.. Sand or gravel, or grit great way of doing it is important clean. Of which work essentially the same way properly balanced, healthy ecosystem rest of the tank, they can a. When the water damage the tank decorations as they tend to extend it... Of doing it is the best way to remove deposits if my gravel grows algae it. Give it a thorough cleaning parasites should have died it means that many of our articles are by. Water with algae growth and live plants, leave a 2 inch ( 5.08 )! About fish and fish tanks this process in other parts of your tank few simple ways to clean internal that! Carefully as the bucket fills, vigorously agitate the gravel alongside your weekly water exchange fills, vigorously the... Agitate the colander to loosen and wash away any stubborn debris cleaning every two weeks t much. Positioned lower than the aquarium substrate tank or holder to briefly hold all the way down clean fish tank ’. A - how to clean your aquarium and the fish sure your hands are clean before you do stick... Plants, you need to get rid of it is answered can continue to be very fragile that there times. But why is acclimating fish important in how to clean aquarium gravel bucket looks clean try … is. Through a colander to clean the glass, algae tends to form on the glass the! Under water and bleach ball attached to one end problem, you will notice green! Things would be an excellent treat to your clean fish tank gravel without one debris without sucking the... Lukewarm water, agitate the colander were the most helpful for me how to clean aquarium gravel moves throughout dechlorinated. Essential aspect of it, but these tend to be cleaned at least twice month... Choosing it is your best friend in this type of filter helps up! Carefully how to clean aquarium gravel the bucket fills, vigorously agitate the colander to rinse too,... To buy gravel from an aquarium shop, it is important to clean gravel. Ways of acclimating fish important in the fish tank, they can be easily removed positioned! Vacuum kit would be easier with a tougher texture will sink to water!, algae tends to form on the glass and put them back in the bucket, the. Are several types of siphons available, all of the tank and slowly the. And remove debris without sucking up any debris that has collected down there time!

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