Eheim Automatic Gravel Cleaner

February 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm 2 comments

I recently bought an Eheim Automatic Gravel cleaner from charterhouse-aquatics.co.uk. It arrived swiftly, was well-packed and available for the best price that I could find at the time.

I recently upsized and now have a 200l tank with dimensions of 100cmx40cmx55cm. I like to do a 10% water change on a weekly basis. I have a small-medium smooth-edged gravel substrate. Previously, I had used a manual gravel cleaner/syphon. However, as I moved to a larger and deeper tank, I found the manual gravel cleaner fine for syphonning water but less effective as a method of cleaning gravel. In the course of removing 10% of the water and juggling buckets, I was becoming less successful at covering anything llike a reasonable percentage of the gravel at the base of my aquarium.

I decided to look for something to make life easier. I researched a number of powered vacuum cleaners for aquariums. I wasn’t looking for anything to actually remove water but something that could be used periodically to remove decomposing leave litter and other waste that my fish had no desire to eat. Additionally, I wanted something which would reach the base of my tank with ease and without actually having to submerge it. I decided to opt for the Eheim Automatic Gravel Cleaner which filters water and returns it to the tank (having retained any debris). It can also extend to a depth of 60cm.

The Eheim Automatic Gravel Cleaner is easy to assemble and comes with 4 Duracell batteries to power it (I cannot comment on battery life at this stage). After opening the box, it was only minutes before it was ready for use. On its first use, I spent several minutes cleaning about a third of the base of my tank. Then I detached the Eheim filter mesh and rinsed it under the tap. ‘Stuff’ came out of the filter mesh so there was clearly debris in the tank which could, over time, have affected water quality. On returming to my aquarium, I noticed a visible difference between the gravel which had been cleaned with the Eheim Automatic Gravel Cleaner and the remaining gravel.

There are a number of positive things to note regarding the Eheim Automatic Gravel Cleaner. These include: ease of set-up; minimal noise and disruption to fish; given substantial size it is lightweight; it has a washable filter; and, above all, it is effective. It will clean gravel to a depth of 1cm and so does not effect beneficial bacteria in deeper gravel.

On the negative side, this device is more difficult to use on a coarse sand substrate. It is, as its name suggests, more suited to cleaning medium-sized gravel. Another point for consideration might be that if you are looking for a seriously powerful clean, you may prefer a mains powered cleaner.

Overall, I have found the Eheim Automatic Gravel Cleaner to be a very useful piece of aquarium equipment. Undeniably, it is not essential as there are manual options available. However, it has certainly made my life easier and given me more time to enjoy my fish.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Monevator  |  February 21, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Nice review. I tend to go for the old stocking in a bucket approach myself with freshwater tanks, with a wide bore attachment to a tube. (Filter the water through the stocking then pour back into the tank).

    Reply

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