How to Clean Fish Tank Gravel

Written by sandra ketcham
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How to Clean Fish Tank Gravel
Clean the gravel in your fish tank every two weeks. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A clean fish tank ensures optimum health for your fish and provides them with a safe environment in which to swim and grow. One of the most important parts of cleaning out a fish tank is cleaning the gravel. Food and waste tend to sink to the bottom of the tank and become trapped beneath the gravel. Proper cleaning of your tank's gravel is essential to the health of your fish, and should be done approximately every two weeks.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Container for holding your fish during the cleaning process
  • Fish net
  • Plastic gravel cleaner tool with a hose attached
  • Bleach
  • Large bucket

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  1. 1

    Place some water from your tank into a bucket or other container. Using a fish net, gently remove your fish from the current tank, and place them into the temporary holding container.

  2. 2

    Drain approximately half the water from your tank, and shake the plastic gravel cleaner up and down in the tank water to create the suction needed to pull the water through the hose into a bucket.

  3. 3

    Using the hose attached to the gravel cleaner, work your way around the tank, sucking up small amounts of gravel into the cleaner. Shake the gravel cleaner up and down vigorously in the water to stir the debris and loosen any waste caught between the rocks of your tank.

  4. 4

    Examine your gravel for a build-up of algae. If algae growth is significant, soak some of the gravel and any larger rocks kept inside the tank in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. Avoid soaps and detergents. because they can leave a residue that can be toxic to your fish.

  5. 5

    Rinse the gravel and other items extremely well, and return them to your fish tank. If a noticeable amount of debris remains, consider repeating the cleaning process or cleaning your gravel more frequently.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not place your fish into a container that is filled with new water. The shock could kill them.

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