Keeping a fish tank at home is both a thing of pleasure and beauty. Who does not want to have a beautiful looking fresh fish tank? But following the tank clean is one of the biggest challenges. Gravel algae make the situation worse in this case. So here we have guidelines for you for how to clean aquarium gravel algae.
If you own a fish tank, you are most probably familiar with the much-dreaded gavel algae. They are very active and can spread in no time. They create a fragile layer of brown patches on gravel and glass tank. Do not worry, because these are very easy to clean and prevent.
Types of Algae that might be Present in Your Aquarium
There are numerous sorts of algae in our environment. Surprisingly, some of them are important for the ecosystem. Marine algae can be an example. These are brown algae comprised of class Phaeophyceae.
They are multi-celled organisms. Cold seaweed or marine waters are their places to grow. Another kind of algae found is in freshwater. They are comprised of the class Chrysophyceae which grow in a large group of yellow-brown algae. The organisms are single-celled and are essential for food sources in the freshwater ecosystem.
Then there are brown algae you see in your aquarium. They are from Class Bacillariophyceae and commonly known as diatoms. Under artificial lighting, you will know that they’re brown. This species is thus referred to as brown algae or Silica algae.
Why are these Algae Harmful?
You may think now how can these algae create any problem in your aquarium. It may seem that these algae are not making any disturbance in your aquarium. Fish can eat them, and it does not cause any trouble. But these are not good for a home aquarium environment.
You need to think about why you are keeping a fish tank in the first place. That is for its beauty. To be clear, these do not look good in the aquarium. They are not like blue-green algae. They come off in a sizeable slimy sheet. The patches they create on the gravel and the tank glass makes it look less appealing.
Back to the roots
To clean the gavel algae, you need to know what is causing them. You need to get back to its origin in your aquarium. Some specific reasons can cause these algae to grow in your aquarium.
Firstly, if the aquarium is placed somewhere dark, it can cause these algae to grow. If they are kept in the dark place, the diatoms will get the nutrients they need for natural growth.
Secondly, after fixing the light problem if still the algae persist, then it means your aquarium chemistry is wrong. Excess silica and nitrate in the water give the diatoms more strength to grow.
Thirdly, silica from tap water has a high potential to grow these algae. It can also develop from the substrate you use like silica sand.
Finally, the nitrate level can raise in your aquarium form the uneaten food. The dead material or overstock fish can cause the same problem. And the more nitrate in the tank, the more algae there would be.
Getting rid of Algae in Aquarium
Now that you know about those algae, you sure want to remove them as soon as possible. If you are new in this work, you might find it difficult. But there are numerous ways to remove them from the tank.
You can wipe them up from the surface they grow on or wipe off the entire surface. You can use sucker-mouth fish to eat them; these fishes eat the algae and keep the tank clean. For the gravel, you might need some pro tip. Use a vacuum cleaner in this situation. Vacuuming the gravel using a siphon will quickly remove the entire algae. There are other ways, too if you do not have a vacuum cleaner. We have explained to them in the following:
Cleaning the gravel
You have several options when it comes to cleaning the gravel. The way you choose will depend on the situation, type, and extent of dirt on your subtract. Here are some pro tips for you.
1. Cleaning gravel with vacuum kit
A vacuum kit would be an excellent treat to your fish tank. The system works by gravity and hydrostatic pressure. The equipment sucks the dirt from gravel and disposes them outside the container.
Before using the vacuum kit, you have to keep in mind some points.
- The dirt needs to flow out on gravity, so keep the siphon tube higher than the aquarium.
- Use bucket for extracting the dirt solution
- Let no air bubble form in the tube
- Fill the tube with dirt appropriately then remove it altogether
Now for the actual task, you need to follow six easy steps:
#Step 01– Unplug
To work with the vacuum cleaner, you need to unplug the heater, filter and air pump. Do it quickly as it should not bother the fish that’s still in the tank.
#Step 02– Submerge
Take out your vacuum cleaning kit and the extra bucket. Place the bucket below the aquarium level. Submerge the whole vacuum inside the aquarium.
#Step 03– Up-down Motion
Now start moving the tube inside the aquarium in up and down motion. You need to keep the machine at least 2-4 inches above the algae level until waters start pouring into the bucket.
#Step 04– Vacuuming
When you are done establishing the flow, move the tube all over the gravel. You need to suck out all the grime. For better results, dug deeper into the subtract.
#Step 05– Turn the Tube
Once the water level has reduced to 25% in the tank, turn the tube. Make sure the machine is inside the tank while you turn your gravel vacuum tube. Take it from the tank and drain out through the tubing.
#Step 06– Plugin
Once you are sure that your tank is properly clean, clear the cleaning area. Set up your heater, filter and air pump. Now you are ready with the hygienic and beautiful aquarium.
2. Cleaning gravel without vacuum kit
Using a vacuum kit may seem more comfortable but cleaning without the equipment is more effective. The process is a bit tacky, and it takes more time and effort. Here are some pros and cons to deal with the dilemma:
- Using a vacuum kit is time efficient but not using is cost-efficient.
- Not using the machine will make it more effective.
- Pouring out the gravel and fish is a bit messy and harmful for the fish.
- The process helps break the compact gravel and install organic soil.
Now you have the steps to follow how to clean the tank without vacuum kit:
#Step 01– Prepare the new tank
Take a clean container. Transfer 50% of the tank water to the new tank. You can do the task using any siphon or cup. Make sure both the tank environments are the same.
#Step 02– Transfer your fish
Use a net to transfer your fish to the new tank. You might want to use your hands for moving fishes with blowy fins. Using the net for them may harm their fins and tail.
#Step 03– Unplug
It is time to unplug the aquarium. Take off the heater, air pump and filter. This time you need to remove the decoration accessories too. Do not forget to turn off the lights in the aquarium.
#Step 04– Clean your gravel
Now is the time for the real task. You can use a pan to take out the dirty gravel and pour it into a sieve for cleaning. You can use your hands and running water to do the cleaning.
If the tank is not heavy, you can pour down the water and gravel to a holding pan and do the cleaning. Fill the pot with water and use your hands for cleaning.
Keep in mind that you should not clean the whole gravel. You need to keep some of the algae there for the environment. It will help the nitrifying bacteria to recolonize your tank.
#Step 05– Plug back and refill
Once your gravel is clean and dry, put them back with the parts kept unclean. Redecorate the tank and set the heater, filter and air pump again. When everything is set again check the temperature and ph to get them at a perfect level.
#Step 06– Introduce fish into the tank again
When you think the tank is back to its healthy environment, put the fish back. And you are good to go.
To conclude, the ecosystem in a fish aquarium somehow works in a self-amending feature. They solve their organic problems. Like, if you are having algae problem in your fish tank, the sucker-mouth fish will do half of your cleaning work.
For the rest, you have to put your effort. If you want to be cost-efficient, you go with manual measures. On the other hand, using a vacuum cleaner will make your work easier. Whatever means you chose, you have to work effectively to keep the beauty intact. Good luck!