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Re: Battery Powered Gravel Cleaners

Cavan asked about the battery powered gravel vacuums.

I've tried the model which has the little sock that hangs on the side--it's 
like the Hagen one but marketed under a different brand name.  The suction 
of the vacuum never seemed too strong, but there are other problems.  It'd 
work great if the sock (packed with filter floss) actually trapped the 
debris, but it only stops large stuff and the impeller breaks up the dirt 
and stirs the finer particles into the water column.  The power vac 
actually degrades the environment further rather than improving it IME.

I think a far better (and cheaper) solution is to do *large* water changes 
as often as you need to until the detritus is under control.  This ensures 
that the dirt is being removed from the tank and not just stirred up.  Do a 
change every day if you have to.  So long as your water is properly 
conditioned, it won't hurt the fish or plants.  However, you might consider 
building up volume over a few changes if your fish are not used to large or 
frequent water changes.  Use a soft brush to gently stir the debris on the 
tenellus and other plants into the water column where the water changes and 
main filter can pull it out.  Also, consider using one of the small 1-inch 
dia. gravel vacs (non-powered) to do the changes.  It takes a lot longer to 
remove the water, but it also gives you much more time to suck up debris.

BTW, my large water change theory assumes the use of tap water.  R/O would 
make it an expensive option.

Chuck Huffine
Knoxville, Tennessee  USA
mailto:grendel at usit_net