Cleaning Substrate That Can't Be Vacuumed

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Maintenance' started by bgclarke, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. bgclarke

    bgclarkeWell Known MemberMember

    Is there a way to clean gravel substrate without vacuuming the gravel?

    I have a tank that is only a few inches above the floor and using a normal siphon does not work well.

    I have an Eheim Quick Vac Pro that I use on most of my tanks, but can't use it on this tank at the moment.

    Why? The substrate is loaded with baby assassin snails (and may soon have baby shrimp).
    May also have ember Tetra eggs too, as they've successfully produced fry in this tank.

    I used the Eheim on it last week and pulled 20+ baby assassin snails from the substrate. Oops.
    They've been moved to another tank that I dump my pest snails into.

    The pre-filter is catching most of the stuff in the tank, and the cherry shrimp are cleaning up a good amount, but there is still debris on the bottom.

    Any ideas?
  2. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

  3. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    I have a planted tank with certain spots where vacumming is impossible. What I do is stirr it up so the particles get sucked in by the filter. I dont know if that would work in your case since you want the gunk to get sucked in but not the babies and eggs.
    Youll probably just have to let it be while the eggs hatch and the baby snails grow.
  4. Drummindot

    DrummindotWell Known MemberMember

    In my Shrimp tank I have the same issue. It's a 10 gallon but I do this in spots in my larger planted tanks too. I got a straw, cut airline tubing at an angle so it inserts right into the straw. I start a siphon into a pitcher or small bucket and use the straw to vacuum the stuff off the sand substrate. I sometimes get some sand which will clog it up but all I have to do is pinch the tubing where the sand is clogging it and it usually starts flowing again. This way if I suck anybody up they are in the bucket and I can put them back in, no harm done.
  5. OP

    bgclarkeWell Known MemberMember

    The baby assassin snails are getting bigger and I was able to do a careful vacuum with one of my manual siphons (still managed to pick up about a dozen babies).

    Tonight I discovered I have shrimplets
  6. jmaldo

    jmaldoWell Known MemberMember

    I have used a turkey baster. Took a few tries to get the hang of it. Works Ok.
  7. OP

    bgclarkeWell Known MemberMember

    Too hard with this tank.

    It's 19 inches tall and in a stacked tank stand.
    There's only 5 inches clearance between the top of it and the support rail of the tank above it.
    I have to remove the top in order to get my arm into it to get at the bottom.
  8. OP

    bgclarkeWell Known MemberMember


    Tested the parameters before the water change.


    I've been doing smaller water changes due to the shrimp, but due to the high nitrates, I did a large water change tonight.
    Will probably do another tomorrow.

    Unfortunately I found one of my Ember Tetras had died.

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