Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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eruuska 01-18-2009 11:50 AM

Gravel Vacuuming Question
Hey everyone,

Kudos to the FishForum! Lots of good info here!

I'm fairly new to fishkeeping, but I'm trying to do things intelligently after plenty of research. One thing I haven't found anything on is the proper vacuum technique.

I've got your basic siphon vac and use it to do regular water changes. The question is how thoroughly to vacuum. Do I want to simply bump the surface of the gravel and get the stuff off the top? Or do I want to push it down deep to get all the junk out? I had just been getting the surface garbage, but last week I went a little deeper and was thoroughly disgusted with the amount of crap that got sucked up.

What does everyone say? I've got a 30 gallon with a blood parrot, a kissing gourami, a tiger barb, a geophagus pellegrini, and several of those neon danios. Tiger barb is soon to join a school that my son has in his 29.

Thanks guys!


aunt kymmie 01-18-2009 12:12 PM

Hi! Welcome to the forum. Glad you joined us :-D

As far as vacuuming...isn't it amazing the junk that comes up out of the gravel?? You are correct in shoving that vac down into the gravel. At each water change pick an area of gravel to clean. I don't do the same area twice in a row as you don't want to completely disrupt whatever biological that's in that area.

Looking forward to seeing some pics of your tank & fish.
PS. Kudos on doing research! It's key to successful fish keeping.

epsilonvaz 01-18-2009 01:55 PM

Thanks for asking this question, I was wondering the same! :-)

And of course, even bigger thanks for answering! :-D

willow 01-18-2009 01:59 PM

amazing how much gunk sits under the gravel. !
i guess that's one benifit of sand,it all sits on top.
look forward to pictures too if you can. :)

eruuska 01-18-2009 05:58 PM

Thanks! Makes sense to do small areas very thoroughly on a rotating basis so as not to disrupt the bio filter. I'll post pics when I get a free minute.

Take care,

onefish2fish 01-18-2009 06:07 PM

welcome to the forum.

i agree with everything that has been said.

how much/often/what do you feed? preventing yourself from overfeeding will reduce some of the "gunk" found in the gravel. not only is that food particles but its also extra fish poop that gets produced from eating extra food. make sense? regardless your going to have detritus and debris in your gravel but again preventing yourself from overfeeding will help this.

do you have neon tetras, or danios? (or glofish which come in neon colors but are actually painted danios)

lilgirlkat 01-19-2009 01:59 AM

since sand was mentioned... how do I clean sand? :D Same as gravel?

onefish2fish 01-19-2009 02:04 AM

welcome to the forum lilgirlkat,

you can either attach a dowel to a gravel vac with rubberbands so it gently stirs the sand while cleaning, or carefully siphon along its surface sucking detritus and not sand

willow 01-19-2009 02:16 AM

i tend to stir the sand after i vac,i just hover the vac over the top of the sand,
and the waste gets sucked up without too much sand loss,
i use a bamboo cain to stir up the sand after.

lilgirlkat 01-19-2009 02:25 AM

how long should one wait to do the first cleaning?

(the bf threw a ton of extra food in the tank the day I set it up. there's probably 200 brine shrimp on the surface of the sand -- they didn't make it.)

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