How To Clean Fish Tank Gravel
It's that part of the aquarium maintenance process that people find to be most onerous. No, it does not involve the changing of water. No, it's not about cleaning up the filtration system.
No, it's not even concerned with transporting the fishes during cleanup. The most difficult step in aquarium maintenance is cleaning the fish tank gravel.
Whether you're using pebbles or sand, fish tank gravel can provide some problems. For starters, you'd have to remove the gravel from the aquarium. This can be very hard, considering that the gravel had been made semi-compact by the water, and may not be moved just like that.
Secondly, you'd have to rinse the gravel numerous times to thoroughly get rid of the dirt that has accumulated in between the particles. Lastly, you have to leave the gravel to dry under the sun, and if you want a really comprehensive cleanup, you'd do this before and after every washing.
There are different alternatives, both to cleaning fish tank gravel and setting up the same, which could make your life a whole lot easier. Let's take a look at them.
* If you're keeping Cichlids for pets, they are hardy enough to withstand rocks instead of pebbles or sand. Consider using pieces of or granite instead. They are not porous, and they'd make under-gravel filters an impossibility, but they will be very easy to clean. However, do not consider this alternative if you're keeping delicate fishes like goldfish, tetras, or bigger species because the bigger rocks may cause damage to their fins and gills.
* You could even consider to do away with gravel altogether. However, this would compromise the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium, and it would also be impossible for you to maintain aquatic vegetation beneficial for the ecosystem you should desire for your fish tank.
* Purchase a mini vacuum especially built for fish tanks. This way, you won't have to dig up the gravel to unearth the dirt that has accumulated. The vacuum cleaner would do this for you.
* Invest on janitor fishes (Pterygoplichthys Pardalis). A couple of them for a 50 gallon setup would be perfect. They are bottom feeders that would minimize the unwanted accumulation on the gravel. And they are quite affordable at that.
* You could, as you should, invest on a powerful filtration system that could siphon the unwanted particles in your aquarium. This may not be able to completely eliminate the need for cleaning up the gravel, but at least, it pebbles or the sand would require less rinsing.
Proper aquarium maintenance requires regular cleaning of the fish tank, the fish tank gravel included. This means that you have to go through the process twice a week. If you're in for the long haul, it would be best to follow any of the recommendations above to make fish keeping a less onerous and more enjoyable hobby.
More Aquarium and Fish Tank Info:
Aquarium & Fish Supplies (home)
Cleaning a Fish Tank
Gravel for Fish Tanks and Aquariums
Fish Tank Maintenance
Fish Tank Pumps
Aquarium Screen Savers
Aquarium - Fish Tank Stands