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El Pez

Gravel Vac

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I was pondering last night of a better way of cleaning tanks and came up with this

[Power Head] <- tubing - [cartridge with foam insert to collect waste] <- tubing from gravel vac [gravel vac itself]

If my understanding is correct, you could clean your gravel without ever taking water out of the tank. Sure you'd still have to do water changes ever week but this way you could thoroughly clean your gravel without having to stop become too much water has left the tank. The cartridge could be made out of some kind of cylinder cut vertically then rejoined with a hinge of some sort so you can easily insert foam blocks then lock the cylinder back into place.

Maybe if i have some time this summer ill try to create one.

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mm... i think it's a great concept, but it kinda defies the point of cleaning the tank.

if you've got enough poo and other debris in the bottom of the tank making it unsightly, it's probably time for a water change anyway.

this method you're talking about will only remove the poo which doesn't do anything about the nitrates.

in my opinion, if you're going to remove the poo, you might as well clean out the "toilet". :rofl

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true, but your gravel could be completely clean and you could still do a water change afterwards and the result would be nothing decomposing in your gravel making your water all murky.

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true, but your gravel could be completely clean and you could still do a water change afterwards and the result would be nothing decomposing in your gravel making your water all murky.

That is more work than I have time to do.

I can completely clean my bottom with a water change and still have to wait for as much water to be out of the tank before I can refill. There is another good reason to have little to no gravel in the bottom of a goldfish tank.

Even in my 10 gallon tropical tank I don't have to worry about getting to much water out before I am done cleaning.

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It's not a totally dumb idea to think up but I do think 98% of people would do a water change. Then on the other hand there are all kinds of things on the market to help clean a house... and a that a lot of people buy off late night t.v.! Like that dish scruber that you put batteries in and the brush spins in a circle. Why in the world would someone need their pot scruber to spin in a circle??? Why not just use your hand and a scrub sponge or a scruber on a stick? That way soap suds won't slap you in the face from the spinning. hahaha! Thats just one example. I do think the whole water change would be the way to go but I do like your idea.

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I remember years ago seeing a pre-made device like you mentioned at a local pmart store. I think it was made by PennPlax. I tried it, but all it did was grind up the poo and other debris to such a degree that it passed right through the filter bag (which was just a fine mesh bag, like the media bags that would go in a canister filter. Not to mention it had a tendency to suck up the gravel and jam up the impeller.

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It's a good idea for people who are dealing with Ich. You'd want to suck up all the nasty parasites, but you'd not want to keep changing water and having to add more salt to keep the salinity levels at a certain level, and then running out of salt really quickly. My local shop only sells one type of salt that states what's actually in it, and it's the most expensive one. The other salts don't say if they have additives - they are cheaper, but I wouldn't risk it. I have to buy the most expensive one and I wouldn't want that to run out really quickly.

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It's a good idea for people who are dealing with Ich. You'd want to suck up all the nasty parasites, but you'd not want to keep changing water and having to add more salt to keep the salinity levels at a certain level, and then running out of salt really quickly. My local shop only sells one type of salt that states what's actually in it, and it's the most expensive one. The other salts don't say if they have additives - they are cheaper, but I wouldn't risk it. I have to buy the most expensive one and I wouldn't want that to run out really quickly.

Home Depot..blue bag solar salt

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It's a good idea for people who are dealing with Ich. You'd want to suck up all the nasty parasites, but you'd not want to keep changing water and having to add more salt to keep the salinity levels at a certain level, and then running out of salt really quickly. My local shop only sells one type of salt that states what's actually in it, and it's the most expensive one. The other salts don't say if they have additives - they are cheaper, but I wouldn't risk it. I have to buy the most expensive one and I wouldn't want that to run out really quickly.

Home Depot..blue bag solar salt

:rofl That fixed that problem right up! :rofl

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Maybe just me, but if you are gravel vacuuming & it takes longer than a decent weekly water change either you have too much gravel OR you aren't doing it right! Doing my weekly water change I can get the gravel real clean & even dig into all the nooks & crannies.....still I have more water to remove. I always do really decent water changes though, 25% to 30% is my MINIMUM water change!

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I have seen something like you are describing. It had a bag attached to it and did not take water out of the tank.

ETA: Here is a link to something you are talking about. Click here.

Edited by goldfish7

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I MAY be weird, but I kinda LIKE doing my weekly water changes! :unsure: (Dare I say.......doing water changes is actually RELAXING to me!!) :blink:

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I understand the arguments for the need of weekly water changes and vacuuming, too much gravel, allowing too much gunk to build up, etc., but I also understand where you're coming from and think you might have a good idea. You're not saying that this will replace water changes; you're just saying this will enhance tank maintenance. It makes sense to me and your design seems more efficient than the product linked to in Goldfish 7's response (Nothing against you Goldfish 7! You were just making a reference!) as the filtering portion of the device is just a lot better.

I have a UG and have a good 2" of fine gravel. I like gravel. I want gravel. That's just the bottom line to my preference. So, for a UG, this set up makes for a fine working system and the size and amount of gravel is essential to make a UG work properly. So, there can be justifiable times where a lot of gravel is appropriate. This setup, though, is designed to prevent most of the gunk from getting down under the UG, so you might argue, again, that there is no need for such a device. But, gunk still, eventually, gets through, even if it's not nearly as much as with a lesser layer of larger gravel. I also remove at least 50% of the water with each water change and I usually can get the gravel clean enough with that amount of water removed, but it's not completely clean and I know that.

Bottom line, I think, is this: a device like this would just give that, sort of, feeling of security in knowing that your substrate was really, really clean without having to replace lots and lots of water or tear your tank completely apart; at least nearly as often. Plus, let's face it. If we had a device like this as part of our regular cleaning program, it would make having gravel a much more acceptable option as there would be a way to more thoroughly clean it!

How about a piece of pvc pipe with threaded caps on each end that have been retrofitted with threaded nipples and glued/sealed in place to attach the tubing to for the filter?

Edited by Lynda Von G

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