Why am I so bad at gravel vacuuming? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Why am I so bad at gravel vacuuming?

I feel like I really stink at cleaning my tank. I have read how its supposed to work, I've watched videos, but I just can't do it right. Are there any particular types that are just like stupidsimple and I couldn't possibly do wrong, or any tricks I may not have realized. I'm either sucking up gravel, or even if water is flowing there seems to be no suction, and my gross substrate just stays gross.
I don't know how I could possibly be bad at this. But I am. Help?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 06:18 PM
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Don't worry. I can't do it right either. That's why I need snails.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quinn View Post
I feel like I really stink at cleaning my tank. I have read how its supposed to work, I've watched videos, but I just can't do it right. Are there any particular types that are just like stupidsimple and I couldn't possibly do wrong, or any tricks I may not have realized. I'm either sucking up gravel, or even if water is flowing there seems to be no suction, and my gross substrate just stays gross.
I don't know how I could possibly be bad at this. But I am. Help?
Where is your tank? I've found that tanks at different levels clean differently. I've found the ideal appears to be between 2'-4' off the floor. I have trouble gravel vacuuming.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-07-2013, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Most snails are quite messy, so my current ones are just adding to the gross.

My tank is on the kitchen island, so it's fairly high up.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 03:21 PM
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how are you starting it.

when it's sucking you jab it down into the gravel and pull up so the gravel can fall out before it gets sucked away. You'll still end up sucking some up but if you're leading into a bucket you can just fish the gavel out with a fishnet or empty over a strainer if you want the little bits back.
xD
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-08-2013, 06:30 PM
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Bummer

Let me tell ya. I can gravel clean very well. In my 55 gallon anyway. Holy cow was my split 3 way 10 gallon a nightmare today. Knocked the divider loose had to quickly grab my most rambunctious boy in cup and finish. I don't want to have to cup them every time I clean but looks looks I'll have to or get 2 more 10`s or a 20 to split. Was a real pain to deal with today.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2013, 07:12 AM
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I tried using the gravel vacuum's and finally just took the tubing off of it and use it without the vacuum attachment thingy. Even when I could get it going right, I would mess the soil layer up underneath the sand and make a bigger mess.

Stone took me to the hardware store and got me 3 different sizes of tubing to use. I use the really small if it's a smaller tank (1 to 10 gallons) and the slightly larger if the tank is larger. The smaller tubing sucks slower and I keep my finger over the hole and lightly stir up the sand as I go to suck the nasty out. It takes longer to do but does a much better job in my opinion. Finger over the hole also protects any nosy fish, shrimp or snail who comes to supervise what I am doing and keeps bigger pebbles from going in the tube, although I do wind up getting something stuck in it but blowing on it hard usually gets it out fairly easy. I just suck on the tubing to get it started, just be careful not to get a mouthful of water.

I have 3 different sizes of the vacuum cleaners that get zero use.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2013, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
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Are there any particular types that are just like stupidsimple and I couldn't possibly do wrong
You could get a water changer from Python or aqueon. I normally use a pump to drain my tanks, but for the small ones that is just not practical so I use the python. With the water changer, you can control the degree of suction by adjusting the flow of water from the faucet, as to not drain too fast. There is also a ball valve on the changer that you can use to adjust or even stop the suction without running to the faucet.

I'm assuming its a small tank - I think you ought to consider switching to sand. Then, you can simply clean up the waste with a turkey baster since it will rest on top.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2013, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe I'll try just the tubing today and see how that goes. Or just turkey baster, because I don't really need to do a water change. Except I don't think I can bring myself to put my mouth anywhere near my fish stuff

It's supposed to start by being pumped up and down in the water, it's just a regular cheapo siphon/vacuum. That works almost never, o I picked up some other tips through research (because I'm so bad I had to research ) which have helped, but sometimes I use my turkey baster on the end to help start the suction. I get the theory behind the technique I guess I just can't execute it right, because I try to pull it out and let the gravel/sand fall away, but a lot of the time I'm sucking it up and it occasionally gets jammed which is a pain, or I just feel like I'm losing so much gravel. I guess I can just put it back, but it seems like its getting to be such a friggin process at that point, and cleaning that would take 15 minutes takes 30 with all the trouble it gives me.

And it is a 10 gallon, so not a small tank by betta standards, but yes not a giant tank. Def not changing substrate though. Besides the fact that I've already spent more than enough $$ on these set ups (and don't seem to be stopping ), it's pretty densely planted, it has floramax substrate, with what was supposed to be a Tahitian moon sand top, but it's mostly mixed in at this point, and I really don't want to tear it down. The gunk does mostly sit on top, which is why I can tell that I'm not getting it clean the way I want, because I can see it. Thanks for the python suggestion, will read up on that one too. I saw it recommended some places, along with the battery operated ehiem quick vac, that doesn't work as a siphon, but was wary about if they actually work better since they have larger price tags.
I also have tried to turkey baster it, which is still sort of tricky and sooo sloowwww, I just figure there must be a better way! I love my snails but boy are they messy beasts

Thanks for the input guys!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-09-2013, 08:22 AM
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I have heard good things about the eheim thing for that purpose. Yes it's pricy though.

A 10 gallon is plenty big to use a python with.

If the tank is heavily planted, then I would not be so concerned about the waste, except for aesthetic reasons. Do you have trumpet snails? They eat fish waste.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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