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Author Topic: vacuuming gravel  (Read 1214 times)
lreiden
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vacuuming gravel
« on: July 11, 2011, 10:33:56 AM »

last time I used my gravel vacuum I feel like I didnt do it correctly.  I have one of the smaller ones that you have to manually push up and down in order to create suction...has anyone else had problems with these types?  I felt like I did more harm than good last time by stirring up the debris from the gravel and it took a while for it to settle.

Should I remove my fish from the tank when I do this, since I have two little goldies in a 10 gallon right now?  I could take them out maybe and put them in a smaller container for a few minutes?  (Using the tank water)

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Nossie
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2011, 11:24:42 AM »

You do make the device suck out the water, right? I use to take mine (I have the same kind as you do for my smaller tank Smiley) and simply scoop water into it while plugging the hose-end with my finger and letting it fill up. When you put the tube-end into the tank, the hose-end into the bucket and unplug it, the water will flow out on its own using gravity, this way it'll be more gentle to your fish and it won't stir up the water as much in the start.

Now, you need to actually suck out the debris using the gravel vacuum. You should simply bury it in the gravel and let it suck it up about half way into the tube, then if needed, shake it gently to make the gravel fall out easier. Again, gravity will put the gravel back in the tank while the water will suck out the debris. Don't leave any to stir around in the tank, try getting as much as you can out of it! And go systematically allover the bottom to make sure you've cleaned the gravel well! Otherwise, using the vacuum isn't going to help much if the sludge will simply be left to float about Tongue

Don't take your fish out, even if it'll be into another container for only a few minutes, it'll be unnecessary stress.
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lreiden
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2011, 02:37:14 PM »

...it could be that I'm just blonde and really dont understand how to use it, even after reading directions  Shocked
Guess I'll be making a trip to petsmart to get another one and/or to have them show me how to do it. lol.
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Nossie
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2011, 09:14:14 AM »

The one you have is just fine! I'd love to show you how to but... argh, I'm a bit far away xD
Here's a video:
(Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.) (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.) | (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)

Ignore everything but the part about vacuuming the gravel.
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laurencasualty
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2011, 11:40:47 AM »

I'm feeling the same way lol. Like yes the vacuum is getting up stuff but there is soooooo much stuff that it still ends up with gross little particles everywhere in the water -.- how much water is safe to take out at once with this thing b/c im gonna have to remove A LOT to get most of the yuckiness  Huh Also the gravel fills up in the tube rather than falling back out, I guess b/c of the high pressure of the vacuum. Is it still working properly in this case or do I need to restart it when this happens (I feel like the bigger chunks of uneaten food won't be able to make it through all that tightly packed gravel)?? And yeah I do NOT have any fish right now lol if that's important
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scrivens345
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2011, 11:51:51 AM »

suck on the end of the tube Grin
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laurencasualty
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2011, 02:14:41 PM »

Lol you don't have to on mine. And I don't want a mouthful of fish water D: hahaha Roll Eyes
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Skwishee
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2011, 02:18:58 PM »

I have a gravel cleaner, that has two tubes, one inside of the other and I have to push to get a suction. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but I find gravel cleaning really easy now.

One tip I can think of, hold the whole tube so it is just under water and when you move the inner tube up and down, as you go to push up, hold your hand over the end, this will force the water inside the tube to go into the hose. Do this a few times and you will have suction in no time  Smiley

If I didn't put my hand over the end, I think I would be there for ages! Plus because you will be holding the tube just below the water, you shouldn't disturb the gravel at all, because you'll be no where near it  Smiley

As for gravel going to far up the vacuum tube, I usually have my hands positioned so one is holding the top of the vacuum tube and shakes vigorously to get gravel to fall before it's too far up and my other hand is usually in the tank water, holding the gravel vacuum steady and occasionally gently wafting Lucky out of the way when she's decided now is a great time to hover over the gravel I need to get to XD

Also Lauren you will be surprised how much dirt does get picked up, as I clean the gravel I often see dirt dart up rather quickly away from the gravel! Don't worry about taking too much water out, as long as there is enough water for the fish to be comfortable it's fine, I often end up taking out around 70/80% of my tanks water on a weekly basis, just to get a decent enough clean!

Hope this helps!
« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 02:24:48 PM by Skwishee » Logged
laurencasualty
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2011, 03:13:40 PM »

I thought you had to like dig the tube around in the gravel :/ lol
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Nossie
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2011, 04:10:14 PM »

You shouldn't clog the cleaner with gravel, which I'm sure you noticed Wink You should dip it in the gravel so that the gravel is about half-way up the tube and then lift it and shake a little (like Skwishee said).
You need to clean a little bit at a time to make sure you clean it properly, if you take too much at once and clean bigger areas you'd probably miss a lot more dirt than you'd clean out!

And whenever you'll have a bigger tank, it'll be much easier to clean the gravel without emptying the tank in the process. It's one of the bad parts about having a small tank. (The community 20 gallon at my parents' place is even too small to get the gravel cleaned properly without emptying it too much.)
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laurencasualty
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2011, 06:21:19 PM »

Lol nossie I know I shouldn't be clogging it up with gravel, im just having issues with preventing that from happening. Its possible I just need more practice  Smiley
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Nossie
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2011, 03:43:17 AM »

I pointed out a little technique for you to try out there so... maybe that'll help Tongue
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Skwishee
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2011, 05:43:27 AM »

I usually let the gravel come about a third of the way up, maybe less before I shake it, so I can move on to the next patch, I have to do gravel cleans as quickly as possible because of the small tank XD
I have no idea how I'm going to do it in the bigger tank, there will be so much gravel.....

I know what you mean though Lauren, once when I wasn't paying attention the gravel nearly reached the top of the tube >.<
It took a lot of shaking but it did come back down!
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GoldFishNoob
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2011, 10:31:57 AM »

I had a hard time with this type of vaccuum too. Except mine has the "flapper" *shruggs wierdly* in it. The first time I used it was a fiasco, but over the next couple tries I figured out it's secrets. XD I don't have alot of gravel in my tank so I just remove all the decorations, pile the gravel up in one spot so I can get it all right there. It takes some figuring out.

I'd suggest one of these (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.) I have the medium 5" for 5-20 gallons. You can get one with a manual hand pump so you don't have to do the up and down motion but they tend to be rather large and I can imagine in a 10 gallon it would'nt take long to suck all the water and your little fishes right out of the tank lol. The instructions are easy to read and understand. The only issue I found with these is like the guy said in the video, gravel can get stuck in the blue part if you let the tube get too full.

*ponders making a vaccuum video of her own*
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 10:49:05 AM by GoldFishNoob » Logged
laurencasualty
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2011, 01:33:30 PM »

That's basically what I have except it has a hollow rubber ball I need to squeeze to get the flow started. I think I just need mote practice and to try out the tips I got (:
On a side note, a had a terrible nightmare last night, about sucking up a fish with the vacuum and it getting stuck, and dropping a little one about the size of my Eva on the floor, and my dad making me turn off the filter because "it doesn't have to run all the time"..... Horrors Sad Sad lol
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GoldFishNoob
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2011, 02:34:12 PM »

Oh dear lol

What I would suggest also is to keep the waste water bucket as low as possible, stick the vaccuum tube (The plastic one) in the water and get the air bubbles out, then press the vaccum tube to the side of the glass so it's straight up and down, then squeeze the ball, that's what I find gets it going quick. ( Minus the ball part of course. XD ) It takes some getting use to, just try the tips people here give you and see which one works best for you.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 02:36:22 PM by GoldFishNoob » Logged
Skwishee
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2011, 06:06:28 PM »

Interesting... See my gravel cleaner is like this one (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.) Of course my LFS had it cheaper than pets at home  Wink

So as you can see there's one tube inside of the other, which I have to sort of 'pump' the smaller one up and down, to get any suction going!

Good luck Lauren!
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laurencasualty
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2011, 10:17:59 PM »

lol that's different, and thanks
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Nossie
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2011, 04:15:32 PM »

Skwishee: The bigger tank will have a lot more water in it comparing to the current one, and most likely a far, far smaller gravel-water ratio Smiley
When I clean the 25 gallon at my parents' place, I usually have to take almost 70% of the water to get it all cleaned up (there's a lot of gravel there.) but in my 83 gal, it takes no more than 50% tops, even with the increased bottom area Smiley

So the depth of the tank matters a whole lot when cleaning it out Smiley
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Skwishee
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2011, 07:09:29 PM »

Does the size of the gravel cleaner make a difference to how much water is removed?
For example in a large tank, if you use a small gravel cleaner one week and then a larger one another week, would they take out different amounts of water, or the same?

I'm contemplating getting a larger one for the bigger tank, otherwise I think I'll be there for ages with my tiny gravel cleaner XD
I think I'll be checking out your maintenance thread on tips for it as I imagine a bigger gravel cleaner will work differently...
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Nossie
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2011, 12:21:22 PM »

No. But the bigger the cleaner is, the harder it is to fit it in a small tank, and if it's too small, it won't work with a bigger tank Wink The hose might be too short and you'd have to dip your arm into the water to get the job done.
The things that matters are: The almighty gravity, and you. That's what pulls the water out of the tank, it has a certain force to it depending on how high up the tank stands, and of course, the higher it is, the better it works with cleaning the gravel Smiley And of course, you decide when you don't want to remove any more water Smiley

Problems like too short hose can easily be repaired by just buying some plastic hosing at a gardening shop or at a pet shop.
About how wide is the cylinder of your gravel vacuum in diameter,  and how high is it? For the 100 liter tank at home we use a pretty small one, roughly 20-25cm high and about 4-5cm wide Smiley
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Skwishee
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2011, 07:04:08 AM »

My gravel cleaner is tiny! The diameter is 2cm and when fully extended it's height is around 46cm.
The hose itself is pretty long, a little bigger than 4 foot or so?

I remember my dad had a siphon with a pump-squeeze ball, so depending on the length and size of the air tubing, I could always swap them over. I'm pretty sure the air tubing will come off this gravel cleaner with no problem...

The stand with the tank isn't too high either, from what I remember. In fact Lucky's tank being on top of my drawers is much higher up! I have to put the mop bucket on a chair for the hose of the gravel cleaner to reach it properly XD

Also are there any ways to stop the gravel cleaners flow, while I empty the buckets? I don't like having to bother people, but at the same time I can't hold my thumb on to it and go and empty the bucket at the same time XD Just wondering if there's some way around it....
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Nossie
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2011, 10:05:27 AM »

Some gravel vacuums have a kind of vent up top that will stop the water flow, but just in case, always keep a bucket under it even if the vent is closed!
I don't actually use the vent since my fiance is happy to carry the buckets away as I fill them so I don't have to stop the flow at all Smiley
Other than that, there really isn't a way around it, as long as there's water in the hose and cylinder, gravity will pull the water down.
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Skwishee
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Re: vacuuming gravel
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2011, 02:54:49 PM »

Hmm I shall look out for one with a vent! I think that'll be helpful, seeing as my partner and house mates are often busy doing things XD
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