Gravel Or Sand? And Just How Is It Kept Really Clean?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Mike Archer, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. Mike ArcherNew MemberMember

    Hi all.

    I'm about 5 months in now and am pleased to report a healthy tank and inhabitants. But, and it is an annoyance, my gravel is always filthy. Is it better to use sand? Or, is there a better way to keep on top of the cleanliness of the dreaded bottom of the tank? I have cut feeding down - beginner's error - and the tank is cycling fine. I change water and use a gravel cleaner weekly; literally makes the water filthy for a few hours and, although I get a lot of filth out, it is a never ending vicious circle as the filth that comes up from the bottom will just resettle again - the only fix would be to replace the entire contents of the tank, obviously I wouldn't do that! TIA.
  2. Tiny_TanganyikansWell Known MemberMember

    If by gravel cleaner you mean that liquid gravel vac or other bacteria additives that stuff is garbage.

    Manual gravel vacuuming is the best way to remove heavy amounts of detritus.

    Sand unless all black will just make the waste stick out even more. Though while in theory it means easier to clean unless youre vaccing every minute of every day fish are going to churn sand and bury waste so just like gravel it will be hidden.

    Adding live plants will aid in removing more waste quickly. I barely vac my planted aquariums and when I do I use a coral syringe to remove any build up. Probably once every 2/3 months. Opposed to weekly vaccings in my plantless aquariums.
  3. dcutl002Well Known MemberMember

    Is your gravel cleaner a vacuum only or is it a vacuum-siphon like this?  

    A siphon will remove fish poo and water while doing a partial water change with less cloudy water. A vacuum will remove fish poo, but does not remove water and stirs up the substrate creating cloudy water.
  4. Mike ArcherNew MemberMember

    Thanks. It is a siphon only.. but it does stir up the water as there is so many particles down there.. I think what I'll need to do is review the feeding (again) and have a weekly water change with 50% rather than 25% and the syphon should pick a lot more up.
  5. ZahcWell Known MemberMember

    Just keep doing regular gravel vacs/water changes until you get on top of the situation. Do 50% daily for a few days if you need to, then find a a good balance/schedule that allows you to keep the substrate free of filth.
  6. dcutl002Well Known MemberMember

    Do you have any plants Mike?

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