How to Clean Aquarium Rocks

The ideal way to clean aquarium rocks is by putting extra effort on a regular basis. This works more effectively than by just a lot of scrubbing. Some feces, decaying matter, and even uneaten food you give to your fish can settle at the substrate of your aquarium, and algae can coat your entire tank. If you keep these contamination and debris out of your fish’s habitat, you can provide a better environment for them.

With that said, here are two popular methods of cleaning aquarium rocks.

How to Clean Aquarium Rocks Using Vacuum Kit

Step 1: Disconnect Electric Devices

Air pumps, filters and heaters should be unplugged first, leaving only tank decorations, plants, and fish in place. In general, this procedure should be relatively quick and should not cause undue stress to your fish.

Step 2: Submerge Your Vacuum Kit

Get an old bucket and of course, your aquarium rock vacuum kit. Submerge the vacuum kit in your tank after placing the bucket below the aquarium level. Check if the siphon vacuum tube is completely inside the tank.

Step 3: Up-Down Motion

You can then move the tube inside the water in small up-and-down motions about 2 to 4 inches above the rocks until water flows through the tube into the bucket below.

Step 4: Start Vacuuming

After you’ve created a flow, move the tube over the entire gravel surface to ensure you’ve gotten all of the gunk. Simply move the rock vac deeper into the surface for more thorough cleaning of your tank. The tube may suck in a few pebbles, but they will still fall back once the tube is raised.

Step 5: Turn Rock Vacuum Tube Up

When the water level has gone to around 25 to 30 percent of the water expelled, indicating that your tank is around 75 percent full, start turning your rock vacuum tube up while inside the water. Afterwards, discard it from the tank and allow it to drain with the tubing.

If the tube fills up before you achieve the targeted water level, simply unload the rock vac and keep vacuuming until you achieve the targeted level.

Step 6: Reconnect Electric Devices

When you’re satisfied that the rocks are reasonably clean, clear the cleaning area and reconnect the air pump, filter and heater in the tank.

How to Clean Aquarium Rocks Without Vacuum Kit

Step 1: Get a New Tank

Prepare a clean tank in which to keep your fish when you tidy the rocks. Then, using a siphon or a cup, transfer about half of your water to the storage tank. This should guarantee that your fish are kept in much the same conditions that they are accustomed to.

Step 2: Fish Transfer

When transferring a new fish in a new tank, use a net.  Nevertheless, if you have a fish with flowy fins, such as bettas, you may have to transfer them using your hand. Fish with flowy tails and fins tend to easily get tangled in the net and you do not want to harm your pet during the transfer process.

Step 3: Remove and Disconnect

You would then have to disconnect air pumps, filters, and heaters. Unlike when using a vacuum, you need to remove all decorations and plants. If you have aquarium lights, these should also be removed.

Step 4: Clean the Rocks

Here, you can use two ways:

The first one is to take the dirty rocks out with a cup or a medium-sized receptacle and put it in a strainer to clean. The second option is if your aquarium is really not that big, drain the remaining water and carefully place the rocks into a holding pan.

Whichever case, make certain that you do not clean all of the gravel. The uncleaned portion will help maintain nitrifying bacteria alive and will recolonize your tank when it is put back.

Step 5: Reconnect and Refill

Once the rock is clean and dry, combine it with the unclean portion and reintroduce it into your tank. Insert your devices and decorations, then reconnect the electronic components. Start preparing safe water in optimal conditions for your aquarium and fill it up, ensuring that the water is at the proper ph and temperature.

Step 6: Return the Fish

Transfer back your fish the same way you moved them before.

How Often Should You Clean Rocks in a Fish Tank?

Normally, you should clean the rocks thoroughly every two weeks. However, the frequency with which you clean your aggregates will still be determined by the dynamics of your fish tank. Dirt accumulates more quickly in smaller, plant-less, and overloaded aquariums. Furthermore, try to change 10 to 20% of the water on a weekly basis.

If your tank is densely planted, you can skip the bi-weekly rock vacuuming and instead, do it once a month. However, you have to ensure that dead plant leaves that decompose on gravel are not contributing to the problem.

Aggregates in overcrowded aquariums will quickly become dirty as a result of food waste from feeding more fish. This is especially important if you have wasteful fish or waste-producing species, such as goldfish and Oscars.

Simply put, unless you have a fairly clean tank, a light biweekly gravel vacuuming is required, and you can wash your substrate once every month.

How Do You Remove Algae From Rocks?

Easily clean your rocks with a siphon vacuum kit, and the brown layer will most likely be expelled fast and easily. Furthermore, in new tanks, silica algae would almost certainly clear out on their own. You can put algae-eating fish like suckermouth catfish alternatively, and they’ll take care of the rest.

Algae may occur in the bottom of your tank from time to time, but it may or may not occur in other tank areas. Substrate algae, silica algae, or brown algae are all names for the same alga. The algae begin as brown spots on the rocks and then spread to other areas of your aquarium. Fortunately, extracting brown algae from your gravel is relatively easy.

Can You Use Bleach to Clean Your Rocks?

You can definitely use bleach when dealing with algae on rocks and it’s a very easy procedure. Fill a bucket with a chlorine bleach solution. This would be one part bleach and nine parts water. After that, you need to soak in the diluted solution all your rocks and decorations.

Scrub the items with a sponge or a soft-bristled brush. After that, place them in a bucket of clean water, soaking them for another 15 minutes. Allow them to fully dry before reintroducing them to your tank. Plan ahead of time because the drying process will take up to two days.

How to Clean New Aquarium Rocks?

You’ll need waterproof gloves, two aquarium buckets, an aquarium strainer, tap water, and a water dechlorinator to clean new aquarium gravel.

When washing new aquarium rocks, it’s advisable to wear waterproof gloves. Cleaning new aquarium rocks in batches of no more than 5 pounds is also a good idea. Attempting to rinse a large number of aggregates at once may not remove all of the grits. Also, avoid flushing small pieces of pebbles or debris down the sink; otherwise, the sink may clog. Then, take about a pound of aggregates and put it in your aquarium sieve.

Take note that several aquarium enthusiasts strain the rocks over a clear or glass bowl to observe the water quality and prevent pieces of gravel grit from rushing down the drain.

Hold the sieve under a fast-flowing stream of tap water while thoroughly washing the gravel. To disperse larger substances shake the sieve under flowing water. Place the rocks in your second bucket once it has been thoroughly rinsed. Redo until all of your rocks have been washed through a sieve.

Fill the second bucket with “sieve-rinsed” rocks until the water covers it by an inch. As the water enters, swish the rocks around. Allow the aggregates to settle for a couple of minutes before inspecting the water. The water should appear clear and clean, with no floating dust or debris. If the water isn’t nice and clear, the process is repeated.

Once your new aquarium rocks are washed and cleaned, you will now need to soak them in a dechlorinated water.

Fill the empty bucket halfway with tap water and add the dechlorinator according to the label’s instructions. Pour sufficient dechlorinated water into the bucket of clean aquarium rocks to cover it by a couple of inches. Swish the clean rocks around in the dechlorinated water. Allow the clean rocks to soak for a while in the dechlorinated water. It should only take about 20 minutes.

Washing new aquarium rocks correctly is an essential step in maintaining high water quality. Despite the fact that manufacturing companies may advertise new aquarium rock as “pre-rinsed” or “pre-cleaned,” packs of new aquarium rocks frequently contain dirt and debris, or grit. These microscopic particles should not enter an aquatic environment.

An aquarium filter, one might believe, can remove these small particles. Some of it might. The rest, on the other hand, accumulates to the tank’s bottom, only to be stirred back whenever the rocks are disturbed. The small particles may end up back in the water column, clouding the tank.

Once the tank is installed, cloudiness caused by inadequately cleaning new aquarium rocks can be difficult to remove. Additionally, the dye used to color new aquarium aggregates can discolor tank water. Colored rocks can be a sight to behold. Tank water that has been tinted is not. As a result, it’s best to thoroughly clean new aquarium gravel before putting it in.

How To Protect Aquarium Rocks From Too Much Algae

You cannot totally stop algae from inhabiting your aquarium rocks. Hence, preventative steps are still the safest treatment for everything. You can prevent algae growth in your aquarium by following these next simple tips and tricks.

To begin, pay careful attention to the lighting schedule in the tank. Keep in mind that algae thrive in natural light. As a result, don’t leave the tank near the window or direct exposure for more than 2 hours.

Any aquarium lamp is in the same boat. Don’t have it on for more than 8-10 hours at a time. This should be enough for plants, but not enough for algae to spread, which is precisely what we want to prevent.

The algae will deplete the aquarium’s essential substances, necessitating regular maintenance. If you see algae growing too quickly, try to adjust about 15-30% of the tank regularly.

Alternatively, you might use advanced chemicals to remove nitrates and phosphates without having to change the water as often. To aid the digestion of the fish, use high-quality foods, especially those containing prebiotics.

In terms of the atmosphere, it’s best to keep the temperature no higher than the recommended maximum degrees for your fish. Any animal or plant will not thrive in a temperature that is too high, but algae thrive in warm water.

Try using more organic elements for the substrate, such as river rocks, quartz sand, or synthetic pebbles. They won’t change the chemical composition of your tank’s water, and they won’t increase the pH, which encourages algae growth.

Excessively high currents in the tank should be avoided at all costs. In fast-moving conditions, many forms of algae thrive. Use a separator for your filter if your fish want a faster flow. This will break down the movement of water and redistribute it more equally.

Pick your plants with care. Because of their rapid growth rates, which leave nothing for algae to feed on, the tougher plants are often preferred. Using organic fertilizer sparingly and carefully; if you use too many, algae will easily spread.

Keep an eye out for algae on your plants. If you notice this, either remove the entire plant or reduce the areas affected. It’s important to act quickly to prevent algae from growing in the tank.

To fight algae, you’re probably familiar with the idea of adding shrimps and or other algae eaters to the tank. In tiny tanks, they can be extremely powerful, only to a certain point. They will likely consume algae anytime they feel like it, so maintaining consistency to keep algae at bay can be difficult. Nonetheless, they are an effective preventative measure.