Cleaning Detritus In Saltwater Aquariums

This is probably the least glamorous aspect of owning an aquarium. Cleaning it, you know. Yeah, we all hate aquarium maintenance but we gotta do it. Today I got around to putting some deep thought into my detritus cleaning techniques. I’d like to share them with you.

What am I working with?

First let’s start off with describing what I’m working with here. I’ve got a 75 gallon reef aquarium with a bunch of live rock and about 2 inches of substrate on the bottom.

The substrate is a mixture of crushed coral, sand and some other stuff, it’s not real coarse but not real fine either.

Live rock clearing

I like to start the detritus cleanup process by detaching one of my Koralia powerheads from the side of the aquarium and using it to blow off the live rocks. This helps to get stuff out of the rocks and crevices where junk will normally build up. Sometimes I’ll even just take both Koralia powerheads and just point them downwards in the tank straight at the live rock for a couple hours.

That loosens up all the junk in the live rock and keeps the water active, letting the canister filter and protein skimmer clean all the junk out of the water.


After that is done, and most of the stuff has settled to the substrate that isn’t going to get sucked up by the canister filter, I’ll get to work with gravel vacuuming. For this process I like to detach the in-aquarium intake from the canister filter and hook up a gravel vacuum to the intake. I’ll fire it up again and then vacuum up the substrate.

This process helps to get most of the junk out because I’m first clearing the live rock and then polishing with the vacuum. I have had very good luck with this process.

Good results!

In addition to this process, keeping some phosphate removing media going inside a reactor, keeping a few good snails in the aquarium, and keeping the canister filter clean, I’ve been very successful in keeping my aquarium free of nuisance algae as of late. Yeah!

About Luke

the owner and caretaker of a 75 gallon aquarium in his home studio. Good times.

, , , ,

One Response to Cleaning Detritus In Saltwater Aquariums