Cleaning the substrate 

The majority of waste matter in the aquarium settles into the substrate and must be removed on a regular basis, ideally twice a month. Using a gravel cleaner removes debris which in turn, reduces the build up of organic pollutants and harmful bacteria. An excess of waste in the substrate can lead to disease for some species of fish, bottom-feeders in particular are affected.

Routine maintenance - use a gravel cleaner to keep your substrate clean

There are a number of gravel cleaners on the market ranging from a basic siphon tube to a system powered by the water from your tap to empty, then refill your aquarium. These cleaners are placed into the substrate once the water has started to siphon out. The suction lifts the gravel and spins it within the cleaner tube and as the cleaner is raised the gravel falls back to the base while the lighter waste is sucked away. Other cleaners available include both air pump and mains powered vacuums. These versions work in much the same way at the gravel cleaning end but they differ in that the water is filtered and returned back into the aquarium rather than removed. 

Some fine substrates, sand for instance, are unsuitable for a gravel cleaner to be effective.  If this is the case simply siphon the waste from where it collects on the surface and agitate the sand to prevent it from forming stagnant pockets.

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