If you asked someone a few years ago for the best floor in aquascaping, you would most definitely have heard “gravel”. Times have now changed, and a new and familiar material shares the spotlight today — sand. The fact that it comes in so many colors, textures, and sizes makes sand a familiar and versatile friend that easily makes the aquarium the center of attraction in your room.
Some Recommendations for Sand Vacuum Cleaners
After some sifting, I found some excellent vacuum cleaners that work wonders for your tank. Here they are.
1) Genuine TERAPUMP Aquarium Cleaner
You might choose sand or gravel for your tank, based on what suits your eye the most. The TERAPUMP vacuum cleaner has the advantage that it can work with whatever you choose — be it gravel or sand. If you have more than just one tank, this is definitely a strong recommendation.
The PVC material used in the tubes of this device makes it sturdy and long-lasting. It is also BPA-free and effortless to use. Therefore, the fish will be happy that you got it.
The TERAPUMP comes with two different types of nozzles. The long nozzle is for the debris in the tank such as uneaten food, waste, and gunk, the other shorter one being for draining the water of the tank.
While operating at an impressive rate of 1.5 gallons of water per minute, the TERAPUMP has an inbuilt special filter that keeps sand and gravel from entering and blocking the pump. It comes with an enormous suction tube, so it is ideal for 10 gallons or larger tanks.
The technology used in the pump is patented and efficient. It also makes life easy with easy cleaning and emptying of waste containers. An added advantage is that TERAPUMP Aquarium Cleaner is exceptionally lightweight and easily portable. Therefore, you can move it around or between your tanks very quickly.
- Easy to operate.
- Works both kinds of substrate, gravel, and sand.
- Waste and water are both easy to drain.
- Filter auto-protects itself from sand and gravel.
- BPA free and safe to use in tanks.
- The pump technology is patented and one of its kind.
- The nozzles offer both easy cleaning and replacing of water.
- It does not get into the corners for cleaning.
- It is best suited only for water changes less than 15%.
- In smaller tanks, it might be too powerful for the task.
2) EHEIM Quick Vac Pro Automatic Gravel Cleaner and Sludge Extractor
Many vacuums nowadays have a gravity-dependent siphon system. However, the quick vac pro comes with a battery-powered vacuum. It obviously offers much stronger suction and thorough cleaning. For those that are particular about spotlessly clean gravel, this is an ideal pump. It makes it easy to clean the tank and change the water very often. Even every week! Since it is quick and easy to operate, you can clean the entire tank very often without much hassle.
It needs 4 AA batteries and promises about 4 hours of run time when run continuously. Because it does not have a hose, its design allows it to function like a real vacuum and less like a siphon.
The device functions up to 3 feet underwater. It sucks in water through the bottom and passes it through a series of superfine mesh encased inside a cartridge. Cartridge entraps the residual dirt and slime and releases clean water into your tank. The cartridge itself can be washed and cleaned as often as necessary. Once cleaned, the cartridge is back to its original capacity, and you can deploy it as usual.
The process of using this vacuum cleaner is more like a vacuum cleaner than a water changer. Please note that if your tank is very deep, such an electronic filter may not be ideal. This vacuum cleaner can be fully submerged only up to 3 feet, thereby limiting its use for deeper tanks.
- Extreme ease of use.
- The power of suction is stronger than gravity-based devices.
- It has no power-cord, thereby safer.
- Operates with batteries.
- No Hose and bucket hassle.
- Costs more than other filters.
- Extra care is essential when dealing with fine sand; one must hover the device higher.
- The impeller can be easily clogged.
- EHEIM Quick Vac Pro cannot use it to change the water.
3) SunGrow Aquarium Gravel Cleaner Kit with Priming Bulb
Another aquarium vacuum offering versatile use without the need to change water is the SunGrow. It works well for both saltwater and freshwater tanks alike.
It works with a very easy-to-use hand pump. One end goes in the tank, the other end, the end of the discharge tube into the bucket. You then use the hand pump to get the process going, flowing from the tank to the bucket.
You do not have to worry about the fish being sucked up into the discharge water since the nozzle comes with a safety net. Your sand and gravel are also safe for the same reason.
The pipes of the system are durable with plastic material. Nozzles are attached with nets so that the fish remain safe. Thus, the system is protected from wear and tear and keeps the fish where they have to be.
The added advantage of SunGrow is that you can also use it to change the water. Just dip the nozzle in the tank and work the hand pump. Remove all the water you want to change, and you are good to go. It is also effortless to assemble and disassemble, making the entire process easy and doable for everybody.
Like the other products, it is also BPA free and safe for your fish and you. It also gets to every corner in your aquarium because of the effective siphon pump. Its tiny shape and disassembled form make it very easy to store away when complete the tank cleaning.
- Siphon flexible can get to corners.
- Fast and easy to use.
- Easy to clean and store away.
- Strong and durable.
- Filter protects the fish and substrate from draining away.
- Cheap and easy to use.
- The SunGrow may drain too much water because of its speed.
- Effective only for small aquariums.
Buyer’s Guide: Why Sand?
Sand has its own niche in the world of aquascaping as it comes with a multitude of advantages over gravel. Why, you ask?
1) Because Sand is a Natural Cleanser
Sand grains are small. They trap debris in their vacuum pockets and prevent them from floating about and muddying your aquarium’s water. The collected debris at the bottom of the tank easily vacuum or removed using a powerful filter. Alternatively, one can use a gravel vacuum slightly above the sand bed to remove the debris, all of which are straightforward processes.
2) Sand Is a Micro-ecosystem in Itself
Adding sand to your aquarium gives it a natural and rustic flare. Your guests will certainly appreciate not only its natural beauty but also the micro-ecosystem look and feel that sand gives your fish-tank.
3) Sand Brightens Your Aquarium
Sand comes in many colors. Whereas white sand gives your aquarium a peaceful, calm aura, darker shades such as yellow lend it a warmer impression. Having open sand-areas in your aquarium causes it to appear brighter and airier.
4) Your Fish Love Sand
Certain species of fish need to live out their instincts to be happy. For instance, many species that live at the bed of the river or the ocean need to forage for their food. Catfish, for example, are a borrowing species. They will injure easily on harder floors, such as rocky or pebble-filled floors, which affects their feeding behavior. In such instances, sand is an ideal substrate to line the bottom of your aquarium.
5) Sand Loves Your Plants
Like fish, many plants prefer to dig their roots into the sand instead of gravel. From a texture perspective, sand also holds the roots of the plants much better than gravel or other rocky material.
How Does a Sand Vacuum Cleaner Help?
Despite there being many decoration items for your aquarium, nothing beats sand or gravel. They are, for most people, the first go-to pieces of deco in an aquarium. It is partly because sand and gravel are environments where a fish is accustom to living. They sift through sands to find their food. The downside of the sifting is that the aquarium quickly gets dirty.
Although the sand is a much cleaner alternative to gravel, it needs to clean regularly. It is especially true if you own bottom-dwelling fish such as loaches who often ruffle through the sand. It is why it is essential to have the right tools and implements to keep your aquarium alive and spotless. An aquarium vacuum is a must-have in your toolbox.
An added advantage to owning a vacuum is the health of your fish. Decomposing waste and residue shaken up by the fish gives the water a faint coloration and increases the water’s toxins, which harm your fish.
Thanks to the aquarium vacuum cleaner, cleaning these toxins is easy. It will replace the hassle of changing the aquarium’s entire contents and separately cleaning the substrate with one simple device. It saves time and the potential damage that your aqua-ecosystem might have incurred with intensive cleaning.
How Do You Choose a Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner?
There are two popular kinds of sand vacuum cleaners. The first needs you to remove your aquarium’s water using a special fish tank siphon, then refill your fish tank with cleaner water.
The second method is much cleaner and more straightforward. All you have to do is install a vacuum mesh in which entangles all the particulate matter. The cleaner water is then released back into the tank.
Not only does the cleaning reduce your workload massively, but it also reduces the workload on your other devices such as the filtration system and protein skimmer. As a bonus side-effect, you have to change the water much less frequently than otherwise.
Regardless of the technology, it is vital to have a cleaning system for your aquarium. Depending on the size of your tank, fish, and cleaning habits, you can choose the cleaning equipment that suits you best. What remains of prime importance is that your fish are happy and have a clean home to live in!