Placing gravel in a fish tank doesn’t necessarily for decoration purposes only, but also it’s recommended because of the benefits it could provide for the fish. First is gravel provides a place for beneficial bacteria that’s responsible for eliminating waste.

Second, with the presence of gravel, fish can feel that they are inside their natural habitat. Thus it will make them happier and comfortable.

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Fish can be sensitive and meticulous with their environment; that’s why it is important to have the aquarium cleaned up.

When you decide to tear a dirty fish tank down, then there may be beneficial bacteria that might’ve gone. Do not completely break down the aquarium unless in terrible condition.

Cleaning the fish tank gravel is easy, and it will only take you around 30 minutes to clean it all up. All you need is to prepare an algae pad, razor blade, gravel vacuum, bleach, bucket, lime remover for aquariums, filter media and brush, chlorine remover, and paper towels.

Recommended Algae Pads

Algae can grow rapidly in the aquarium due to direct sunlight, water with high nutrients, overfeeding fish, and the waste products of the fish. But some algae are healthy for the fish because it gives them sufficient nutrition.

However, excess growth of algae can be dangerous to fish and plants. To cure the rapid growth of algae, you must have a useful set of algae pads.

Seachem Laboratories Algae Pad

Seachem products are efficient in the market by providing the best fish and tank supplies. These sachet pads are dual-surface pads made for acrylic tanks. It is designed to remove algae effectively as they have micro-abrasive technology with a durable scrubbing side.


How To Clean Fish Tank Gravel

API is also one of the best fish tank suppliers, and this algae pad can remove unwanted algae swarming up the aquarium. It has a durable scrubbing pad.

This cannot be used on dry surfaces. Do not put excess pressure on the pads to avoid breaking and scratching the aquarium. With API products, it will be easier to keep your aquarium safe and healthy.

Cleaning The Fish Tank Gravel

The first thing you have to clean is the inside glass with an algae pad for the residue left on the glass. Use the razor blade or the algae scraper to scrape off the residue. Next is to clean the decoration and rocks once the inside glass is already clean.

Remove the rocks, plants, and decorations and clean them with soaps. You have to be careful when using soap because it can harm the fish if there’s a soap residue on these decorations. This will also cause more algae in the future. Warm it with warm water after washing it with soap.

The bleach solution is used for stubborn residue that cannot be removed. Let them soak in the bleach solution for 15 minutes, and then scrub it off afterward.

Wash them thoroughly until there’s no smell of chlorine. You can also add a de-chlorinator in removing chlorine.  Live plants, however, are not tolerant of bleaches, so you have to soak them in only 2 minutes.

Clean the gravel after making sure that the decorations are always clean. Use a water siphon to remove the debris. If you are looking for a good-quality siphon, there are many available in the market. The grave vacuum wouldn’t suck the gravel, so be sure that the entire debris is removed.

Replace the water with dechlorinated water, but at the same temperature as the previous water. Plugin the aquarium heater during the water change.

Now that you’re almost done with cleaning the inside glass, decoration, and gravel, it is time for you to fix the outside glass by using a dash of vinegar instead of ammonia because ammonia might intoxicate fish. Once everything is cleaned, wait for two weeks before cleaning the filter.

Types Of Algae

To get rid of the algae building up to the aquarium, you must also know the type of algae you have. Knowing the basic information about algae would help you know how to deal with and remove them.

Blue-Green Algae

Blue-green algae are commonly called slime, and they can appear because of the excess phosphate and nitrate in the water. Therefore, they couldn’t be considered algae but cyanobacteria.

Good water can help unless there’s a phosphate source in it. In removing these rapidly growing bacteria, erythromycin can do a better job. Use it mildly so it will cause less harm to the water.

Red Algae

So far, red algae are the strongest and toughest algae to remove, and it usually sticks on live plants. When you clean the live plants in the bleach solution, they will be removed.

Green Algae

Green algae, commonly known as beard algae, are the most common algae you can see in the aquarium, and this is caused by the microscopic algae growing in the suspended water. This could also be a result of direct sunlight and the residue from the quick dissolving flake foods.

Even if you have changed the water quickly, it will still not give a solution to remove them. The best thing that you can do about it is to use a diatomic filter and ensure that the water doesn’t contain any ammonia, nitrite, or phosphate that can promote algae’s rapid growth.


A clean fish tank can always make a fish happy and lively; that’s why it is important to keep their habitat clean. Apart from these how-to’s above, there are also many alternatives that you can do in cleaning the fish tank gravel.

Once you’ve gotten the tank into shape, always be sure that you’re cleaning the tank every month by replacing the water and the media, and soak them up in a disinfectant solution.

Taking care of your fish tank will not make your home beautiful, but it will also make a lovely home for your aquatic friends.