First tank - DH has dumped all the gravel in unwashed

(11 Posts)
OscarDeLaYenta Sat 20-Aug-16 23:43:28

We have a 210 litre inbuilt tank, which we intend to be freshwater tropical. We are still buying the kit and setting things up, and haven't got as far as filling it with water, so fortunately have not added any fish yet.

DH read 'somewhere' that there is no need to pre-wash gravel, and that you can simply cycle the filter to clean it. So he has dumped all our unwashed gravel into the tank.

I can find no evidence of this at all - everywhere I look it says to wash gravel first.

What do I do? Is it possible to fill the tank and then clean with a gravel vacuum? Is there is any way to not have to take all the gravel out of the tank?

BeacauseImAnElf Mon 22-Aug-16 10:32:32

I think it depends on the gravel. In our first tank the gravel was very dusty so I washed it then discovered after putting the water in I hadn't washed it well enough. There's was no way a filter would have cleaned it. So I had to scoop it all out and wash it again.
We got different gravel for our new tank and it only needed a quick rinse (but it did say on the packet to wash it)

OscarDeLaYenta Mon 22-Aug-16 11:51:47

Thanks. This was/is really dusty sad.

Why on earth DH decided to ignore the 50+ other websites he must have encountered saying 'first, wash your gravel' and rely on the single source, that he can no longer find which said 'just dump it in', I have no idea. This is going to be a real bugger to sort out angry.

SoleBizzz Mon 22-Aug-16 11:52:53

Because he is lazy and doesn't care.

OscarDeLaYenta Mon 22-Aug-16 12:24:23

More complicated than that. He isn't lazy and does care. But has a strange relationship with evidence and thinks he knows better. But that's another problem for another day. Right now I need to focus on this sodding gravel.

So, no way I can use a gravel vacuum? Even if have to do it several times over a period of time?

BeacauseImAnElf Mon 22-Aug-16 13:42:48

I ended up washing ours in the shower for what felt like hours. The second lot I did in a bucket with the hose. I found doing little batches in a colander worked best. Our gravel cleaner would have taken forever.
Good luck

plutoisnotaplanet Mon 22-Aug-16 15:08:29

Depends if you are fish in or fishless cycling?

If fishless, you're fine because you'll be doing an 80% water change at some point anyway, so before you take the water out stir up the gravel as much as you can so you take a lot of the dust out with it. Your tank will be cloudy for a few weeks though presuming you're doing weekly 50% changes once the fish arrive.

If you're doing a fish-in cycle then yes you need to take it all out and clean it otherwise it will make it really hard to check on the fish health during the cycle as it will be so cloudy.

If yu decide to leave the gravel in, put a bowl upside down in the bottom of the tank and while you fill it, aim the water at the bowl. This will stop the water disturbing the gravel too much and should keep your water clearer, but it will still be murky for a while I'm afraid.

If you choose to take the gravel out, poke small holes in the bottom of a bucket and put the gravel in the bucket. put bucket in shower tray and run shower head over the gravel bucket continuously for an hour. Shake the bucket continuously during the process until the water coming from the bottom of the bucket is clear. Your arms will probably fall off and you'll never want to set up a fish tank again for as long as you live grin

OscarDeLaYenta Mon 22-Aug-16 15:19:29

Other than gravel, there is nothing in the tank. I didn't let DH fill it up with water until I knew what I needed to do with the gravel. I was certainly intending to do a fishless cycle first.

Sounds like I might be able to wing it... So fill up with water and give it a good stir, then do 80% water change. Is it better to give the gravel some time in the water before stirring and changing? Should I switch the filter on for this bit, or leave well alone for now? I'm assuming that I don't need to bother adding any of the chemical stuff to the water for these initial water changes (as we are fishless)?

Thanks pluto smile.

plutoisnotaplanet Mon 22-Aug-16 15:56:21

Yep, 80% water change and then re-fill. NOOOO Don't let tap water touch your filter EVER! Chlorine will kill your lovely beneficial bacteria if it gets in your filter sponge and will completely slow or halt your cycle sad

You'll be doing another 80% water change just before you get your fish too so hopefully that will be enough.

I'd fill the tank today, let it soak and stir it up tomorrow smile

OscarDeLaYenta Mon 22-Aug-16 16:57:14

Shall I take the filter out for the initial wash and change, or put the chemical stuff in now (even though this water will be wasted)? This is brand new filter and other than take it out of the box and put it a completely dry tank, we have done nothing with or to it.

Thank you so much for your input!

plutoisnotaplanet Tue 23-Aug-16 08:19:09

nah take the filter out until you're ready to start cycling, no point wasting conditioned water on a gravel rinse!

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