“ Brand: Pets at Home / Type: Fish Tank / Aquarium Cleaners / Water Treatments „
While other gravel cleaners may be referred to as aquarium Hoovers, this one gets the title of a Henry from me, because I really do think it is the best you can buy. There is nothing fancy here, just a plastic tube and a bit of hose, but this gravel cleaner really does the job. You might think your gravel is clean, but run this over it and you will not believe the filth that comes up.
HOW IT WORKS?
This is very very simple. You just sink the hole unit in the tank, then leaving the plastic tube pointing into the gravel, place a finger firmly over the unattached end of the hose, lift it out of the water and drop it into a bucket, placed on the floor or otherwise much lower than the tank. Gravity will cause the water in the hose to run into the bucket, and this creates a suction action that continues to pull water from the tank. The plastic bit itself confines this suction over a small section of gravel, lifting the gravel part way up. The gravel being heavy sinks again, the dirt and waste products being lighter are lifted away with the water. Even in a tank that appears clean the amount of --- poop and other rubbish is unbelievable. The whole process also aerates the gravel, giving the beneficial bacteria, who are aerobic a boost. Used regularly this will keep your tank in top condition.
This is not a miracle product, it does have drawbacks and involve some work. You end up getting fairly wet,and if you are not careful, your floor may as well. I always lat some old cloths down around the bucket. If you leave the bucket unattended for one minute to answer a door or anything else, the syphon hose that was slowly filling your bucket will increase in speed to quickly spill over the bucket and all over the floor. Yes I know water is meant to drain at the same speed regardless of whether you are watching or not, but this falls under mystical powers of inanimate objects to annoy people! At any rate, leaving this to syphon alone will not properly clean the tank. You need to keep moving the plastic tube over different sections of gravel. occasionally a small bit of gravel may get lifted and stuck in the hose. This usually requires taking the whole uni out and smacking it against the bucket a few times, reversing the water flow, or in worst case scenarios using a hose to force the rock through.
There is a risk to using this in tanks with small fish. I once vacuumed up a neon many years ago. Thankfully the poor thing survived the experience, I just scooped him out of the water bucket and back into the tank and have been much more careful ever since. You really must be careful not to get the end near small fish. If you keep Kuhlie loaches like I do, it is a good idea to poke about the gravel with your fingers before putting this over a section. In our large tank I do not have to be so cautious as all the fish are much bigger.
In spite of a few problems, I really do recommend this. It is the best product I have found to keep the gravel clean and the price is reasonable at £5.79 for the smallest version up to £8.99 for the largest, which is the one I own. I do consider this essential kit for the tropical tank, but even more so for goldfish who are very large waste producers. So if you are setting up an aquarium, add this to your ever growing shopping list! I've always found it amazing how much I have spent on extras when setting up a tank!