In the spring and summer, your aquarium gravel can turn yellowish and sticky.
That can cause problems for a variety of reasons, including: • Lack of oxygen • Poor drainage • Too little water • Not enough air • Lack or poor nutrients • Too much carbon dioxide.
If your gravel is sticky and not cleaning properly, it can also trap bacteria and fungus, and contribute to water pollution.
If the gravel is too yellow or yellowish, you may want to replace it with an alternate gravel.
The best gravel wheelsets are made from organic and sustainable materials.
If you are unsure which gravel to buy, check out our guide to gravel.
How to Clean Your Aquarium Grits and Shallow Water The best time to clean your aquarium grits is between 8 to 12 weeks after your aquarium’s arrival, depending on the type of gravel and water.
If that’s too late, consider a cleaning brush.
To clean aquarium grit, gently scrub it with a cloth or sponge until it starts to clear.
Then, use a cotton ball to rub the cleaned grit against the underside of the aquarium to dislodge the dirt.
Do not use abrasive brushes, as they will irritate your skin and cause permanent damage.
To get the most out of your aquarium, avoid water that is too clear, and avoid high-pressure or steam systems.
To remove aquarium grit from your gravel, follow these steps: Fill the aquarium with filtered or purified water and bring it to a boil.
Set aside about half the gravel in the aquarium, leaving about half in the tank for the next step.
To quickly remove the gravel, pull it out of the water by pressing a sponge or cotton ball against the bottom of the gravel.
Remove the gravel by pulling it with your fingers, or with a damp cloth.
Use a cotton brush to clean the gravel to remove any excess grit.
Repeat the cleaning steps until the water is clean.
If there are any loose gravel particles in the water, remove them with a sponge.
Do this again, using the cotton brush on the gravel for a couple of times to remove all the gravel particles.
When your gravel has been thoroughly cleaned, return it to the aquarium for a new cleaning.
If it still appears sticky or yellow, it probably needs more gravel.
To thoroughly clean aquariums, start with a fresh aquarium, and let the aquarium sit for at least three weeks before removing the gravel from it.
If all of the pH is above 7.0, it may take longer to completely remove the grit.
If this happens, you should do this every three to six weeks.
If not, the pH will be lower and the gravel will eventually settle out.
How much gravel should I add to my aquarium?
Most aquarium gravel is fine.
But some gravel can be a bit too fine, so you should experiment with how much you add to your aquarium.
If no one is around to inspect your aquarium and help you, add about two to three pounds of gravel per gallon of water.
For example, if you have one gallon of aquarium water and two gallons of gravel, add one pound of gravel to each gallon of freshwater.
If both tanks have gravel in them, add two pounds of sand to each.
If each tank has at least two gallons, add three to five pounds of sediment to each tank.
For aquariums with a mixture of gravels, add up to three times the amount of gravel you want per gallon, or about 2,000 to 3,000 gallons.
For more information on aquarium gravel, read How to Choose the Best Grit for Your Aquaria.
Do you have questions about gravel?
Read our answers to some common aquarium questions.