How To Clean Aquarium Gravel

You’d agree that everyone deserves to live in a clean environment, including your fish. However, to get such an environment, you will have to keep their home clean; you know they can’t do it themselves.

In the same way, a cleanroom is likely to give you peace of mind, it is like that for your fish. They will thrive and live well when kept in a clean aquarium.

The gravel is a significant part of the aquarium that should be kept clean. If you didn’t know, gravel is the pebble or stone placed at the bottom of the aquarium, usually for decorations, but they do more than just that.

Here you will find out what aquarium gravel is, why it is essential to your fish, the essence of keeping it clean, and how to clean aquarium gravel.

Let’s get started!

What Is Aquarium Gravel?

How To Clean Aquarium Gravel

As you read earlier, aquarium gravel is pebbles or any material placed at the bottom of the aquarium. They settle on the aquarium floor and do not stay afloat.

You can also refer to aquarium gravels as a substrate, coming in various shapes, sizes, and colors. These gravels have different varieties depending on how big or small the aquarium is and the type of fish you want to keep.

Types of Aquarium Gravel

Here are some of the best aquarium gravels you can choose from

Before deciding on the type of gravel you want, look through the buyer’s guide to guide you in making the best decision. 

Why Aquarium Gravel Is Important

Most people believe the gravel in the aquarium is just for decoration, but that isn’t the case. In fact, these gravels tend to serve a lot more purpose than that. 

So, carefully go through why aquarium gravel is essential and why you need to pay close attention to them.

1. Home for good bacteria

This is one of the primary reasons your aquarium needs gravel. It serves as a home where good bacteria can breed.

These bacteria keep the aquarium safe for your fish by fighting against harmful bacteria and other harmful organisms like nitrates and ammonia that might be found in the water. The gravel gives room for the good bacteria to grow and remain sufficient for the well-being of your fish.

2. Improves your fish home

The gravel gives your aquarium a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere for your feel. You can say it makes your fish feel at home. This is because the gravel serves as a place where they can hide or rest.

The gravel also holds a bit of food that your fish can nibble on if they are not in the mood to swim a bit higher. It also controls the reflection in the water, which can be stressful for your fish.

3. Suitable for growing water plants

Gravel makes it easy for you to keep plants in your aquarium standing; plants need to be well rooted to stand. If you are going for an alive aquarium plant, you need the gravel to help it stay alive.

Vermiculite gravel is a good choice for your aquarium; it helps your plant grow by offering its necessary nutrients. Moreover, a plastic aquarium plant is also a great choice; it is best to go for gravel that can hold your plant firmly and would prevent it from falling.

4. Improve the look of the aquarium

Gravel does an excellent job of giving your aquarium a beautiful and appealing look. It brings out your fish’s color and makes it look more radiant if you match your fish with suitable gravel.

A good match would be a goldfish against sliver gravel; it makes the gold color of the fish appear glossier. Another way it improves the look of your aquarium is by hiding the amount of dirt and waste produced by your fish. 

If you have to see how much dirt is formed at the bottom of the aquarium, you might not be pleased to keep it. It also hides rotten food and a dead plant. Basically, sweeping all the dirt under the “carpet.”

Why You Should Clean Your Aquarium Gravel

Cleaning your aquarium should be a top priority if you keep one. You must understand that it should be well maintained for the well-being of the fish.

Cleaning your gravel is highly essential as it plays a vital role in ensuring that your fish are kept in good health and unlikely to die from a disease. It also allows you to remove waste, old food, rotten plants, and other dirt that have settled in the aquarium, preventing the good bacteria from growing as much as they should.

It might not be the most straightforward task, but you would need to put any effort into creating a safe environment for your fish. 

Clean your aquarium gravel today!

When Should You Clean Your Aquarium Gravel

Pay attention to the aquarium’s condition; watch out for a change of color or any funny smell caused by fish waste and other specks of dirt. Other signs that it is time to wash the aquarium grave; include;

  1. You notice a terrible odor coming from the aquarium.
  2. The ammonia level is more than 0 PPM.
  3. Your fish appear to have low energy. 
  4. The gravel appears dark with a lot of discoloration.

How To Clean Aquarium Gravel

Cleaning your aquarium gravel can be done weekly or bi-monthly, depending on your schedule and what works for you. You should pay attention to the signs that tell you when to clean it, such as the foul smell and the likes. 

Also, decide on the method you would be using. Do you prefer a vacuum kit or without a vacuum kit, or would you instead create a DIY that works for you?

Once the toy has settled on what method you want, get them together and begin the process. 

1. How to Clean Aquarium Gravel with a Vacuum Kit

  • Remove the aquarium heater, filter, and heat pump.
  • Ensure there’s a bucket with you, then place it under the aquarium.
  • Dip the kit inside the aquarium. Make sure the siphon vacuum tube is close to the bottom of the aquarium.
  • Move the siphon tube back and forth, and ensure the water flows into the bucket.
  • AT the point the water level begins to reduce, when it drops by 20 to 30%, turn the tube up, make sure it is still inside the water when you do this.
  • Take the tube out, and let it flow into the bucket.
  • Don’t remove the water completely; keep at least 45% of the water you need because of the good bacteria already in the aquarium.
  • Continue to move the siphon tube inside the aquarium until the water looks clear of any debris.
  • When you are sure the aquarium gravel is clean, plug back the filter, heater pump, and heater.
  • You are done.

2. How to Clean Aquarium Gravel Without a Vacuum Kit

  • Move your fish from the aquarium into a new tank, and add some water from the aquarium into it. This will keep the fish in the same condition.
  • Remove the heater, filter and water pump, and any other decoration in the aquarium.
  • Keep some of the dirty gravel aside to keep some good bacteria.
  • Pour the gravel into a sieve.
  • Pace it under running water or a hose.
  • Wash thoroughly.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals, detergents, or soap on the gravel; they are harmful to your fish.
  • Mix the dirty gravel you set aside with the clean gravel so that the bacteria can spread to the clean gravel.
  • Refill the tank with the water you kept aside.
  • Plug back the filter, heater, water pump, and other decorations
  • Return the fish.


Following the steps would make it a lot easier to keep your aquarium clean. You can always add other ideas that might work for you.

Suppose you know anyone else that owns an aquarium or might want to keep one. In that case, they could definitely need this information, be a dear friend and share it with them.

The guideline has been made easy to follow and understand.

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