Tip of the Day | Clean your Substrate

Today’s aquarium tip will help you get keep your tank even cleaner. Do you know where all of that fish waste goes? What about the waste from your plants and invertebrates? That’s correct! All waste that doesn’t get sucked into the mechanical filter eventually succumbs to gravity and ends up in your substrate! In order to clean out your substrate, make sure you use a gravel cleaner and/or stick the end of your siphon tube as far down into your substrate as possible when performing your routine 20% water changes!

This is a great way to get a lot of those nitrates out of your tank and promote oxygenation. Personally, I start my siphon and immediately stick the tube that I’m using as far down into my substrate as possible. The amount of waste that I pull out of the substrate is amazing, but watch out! If you just let the siphon flow you will suck up all of your substrate down into your waste bucket. Make sure that you have your other, downstream hand on a lower portion of your tube, and crimp off the flow of water before you start losing your substrate. The substrate will then empty back out into the bottom of your tank. Since the waste is a little bit lighter than the substrate it should remain up in the water column of your siphon tube. As soon as all of the substrate is back on the bottom of your tank, release the clamp that you had on the downstream portion of your siphon tube. As long as you have kept the other end of your tube in the water, the flow will re-start and the waste from your substrate will be sucked into your waste bucket. Next, move on to the next spot!

When I do my water changes, I do this first, going from spot to spot until I’ve gotten down into almost all of the substrate that is in my aquarium. Then, when I’m done cleaning the substrate, I just let the siphon tube vacuum up the rest of the necessary water.

Do you clean your substrate? Tell us about it. Leave a comment below.