The gravel or substrate on the bottom of the aquarium can quickly accumulate a range of detritus that will end up making it look unsightly. Excess food, fish waste, decaying plant matter will all sink to the bottom. Left untouched, this will feed algae growth and harmful bacteria among the substrate. To keep the aquarium substrate clean:
- Use a gravel cleaner when performing partial water changes. Most popular gravel cleaners act as a siphon attachment to a hose, and remove detritus from the substrate when removing water. Remember a siphon relies of gravity to work, so a gravel cleaner will only work when the other end of the hose is below the aquarium. Many gravel cleaners have a self-start device built in so you don’t have to create the siphon yourself.
- An alternative to a gravity-run gravel cleaner, powered gravel vacuums are now commonly found in aquatic stores. These have the added benefit of not needing a height differential to create a siphon. Most designs allow water to recirculate and trap detritus in a removable sponge pad that can then be rinsed.
- NT Labs Aquarium Cleaner can be used on a weekly basis to help breakdown the build up of sludge in the substrate. The enhanced blend of enzymes in Aquarium Cleaner rapidly consume detritus and leave the aquarium looking cleaner.
Note: Gravel cleaners can be used on a variety of substrates, unlike the name implies. The name probably has stuck since the early days of fish keeping when gravel was the only choice of substrate available.
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