Tank Cleaning


New Member
Dec 7, 2020
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Does anyone else feel like their tank is never truly clean? I made the mistake of buying white substrate so you see everything. I’ve done 3 tiny cleanings this week just siphoning out poop and other things so the tank doesn’t look as dirty. Today I did a really in-depth clean and took out all my decor and about a 50% change and no matter how much I siphoned there was still so much crud in the water. I know now it’s just settled back down but isn’t truly gone.
Am I doing something wrong?? Water parameters are fine and tank appears clean but it bothers me knowing how much crap has just settled back down in/on the substrate.

could I be cleaning more effectively?

edit: I have a 29 gallon tank and do weekly water changes of about 5 gallons.
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Aficionado
Tank of the Month!
Jul 22, 2020
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I felt exactly the same way when I started my first tank, with pale, almost white gravel!

Have a read of this article, helps to explain what mulm is, why we shouldn't be scared of it, and written by our very own forum member, @AbbeysDad :)

This video is also really helpful in showing how to gravel vac most efficiently, without draining half your tank water before you've even halfway cleaned the gravel - including how to start a syphon without sucking on the tube and getting a mouthful of gross tank water;

But in short, don't try to get your aquarium perfectly clean and mulm free. There are good bits in there too, so while you want to remove the worst of it, you don't actually want the gravel to be sparkling clean like new with no mulm at all. Trying to get a tank to look pristine at all times is more harmful than a bit of mulm or some algae on the glass :)

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