Question about gravel cleaners - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 09-04-2012, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Question about gravel cleaners

So I have finally seen a gravel cleaner working in real life in almost a year after I first got my tank. I have used it for the first time.
My question is: is it supposed to take half the gravel with it? And half the tank water?

An update on my tank: I'm doing water changes once or twice a week. I decided to remove most of the plants because there were so many I couldn't even see the fish. I also discovered that the cleaner tube wouldn't even fit in the tank with so many plants anyway.
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post #2 of 5 Old 09-04-2012, 06:43 AM
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I usually just hover the cleaner just over the gravel and that's enough to take some gravel with it. As for the tank water, yes you should watch how much water has been taken away from the tank :P
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post #3 of 5 Old 09-04-2012, 08:18 AM
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Yes, that's how it works.

My method :
At the weekly water change, I quickly hover the gravel cleaner everywhere, to get at the fallen leaves and whatnots. I then do a more thorought cleaning of half the tank. I dig about 1 inch in the gravel. You will see it go up in the cleaner tube, getting agitated a lot and the gunk will come out. After 5-10 seconds of this, I plug the end of my cleaner (where the water comes out) and wait for the gravel to come back down. Lather, rinse & repeat. Usually, I aim for a 40-50% water change, and cannot do the whole tank at once. I do the other half the week after.

Also, I dont do this deep cleaning near the plants root.

BTW, how were you doing your water changes before ? It's so easy with a gravel cleaner...
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post #4 of 5 Old 09-04-2012, 08:44 AM
First of all, using a gravel siphon in a planted tank, especially a heavily planted one, is counter productive. Plant and fish waste decays and creates organic fertilizer for the plants as well as establishes an extremely healthy eco-system in the substrate that helps clarify water. If you feel you must remove detritus/mulm, just hover the gravel siphon slightly above the surface of the substrate.

As for 'regular' gravel siphoning, most gravels are heavy enough so they will raise in the tube, but fall back as detritus is lifted away. And of course, you have to watch the water loss as you siphon it away, but even an aggressive gravel siphoning can be accomplished in less than or equal to a 50% water change.

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 09-04-2012 at 09:02 AM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 09-04-2012, 08:55 AM
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I find that in small tanks (10-20gal) the water level goes down too quickly to deep clean all the gravel.

Also, in tanks that are not densely planted, I find that no roots reach some parts of the gravel, thus the deep cleaning. Of course, don't clean near your plants, they need that gunk !
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