Cleaning made SIMPLE
The gravel cleaner is a simple gadget. It is merely a hose with a nozzle on one end, a plastic tube whose diameter is at least twice that of the hose. It is used like a regular siphon, with the nozzle jammed into the substrate. The grains of sand or gravel will then spin and tumble as water is siphoned off. Since the grains are heavy, only the dirt is sucked out with the water to the other end of the gravel cleaner. The sand or gravel fall back to the bed, clean and devoid of organic waste. After about 30 percent of the water has been siphoned, the tank is refilled with fresh water. There’s no need to do the entire substrate bed; one can continue next week. Weekly substrate cleaning will eventually achieve a completely clean tank in few weeks. The important thing is partially deloading the tank of gunk. The key is the big diameter of the nozzle, which has a siphoning force less than that of the hose. The substrate merely tumbles and spins while being sucked. If it was just the hose, it would have picked up the substrate. The gravel cleaner is a simple tool that should be available in most fish stores at a reasonable price. If not, you can construct one yourself. With a gravel cleaner on hand, there is no need to worry about cleaning substrate.
Sample of a gravel cleaner