Top Fin Gravel Vacuum
Tadpoles eat a lot - and they poop a lot. Keeping that gravel clean is a key part of maintaining a healthy environment for your tadpoles. The Top Fin Gravel Vacuum can help with that task.
The gravel at the bottom of the tank has an important job to do. It holds and gathers up all the poop and other random junk of the tank so it doesn't all float around every time a tadpole swims past. However, over time that gravel can get full of the junk. You don't want it to just sit in the tank and give off unhealthy chemicals that the tadpoles have to live in. This is where a vacuum helps out.
As part of your water changing routine, instead of scooping relatively clean water off the top of the tank, instead siphon off the worst of the worst from the bottom. That way you remove water to allow you to add in new water, plus you remove gunk at the same time.
The way a siphon works is through gravity. Put the tank up somewhere higher than the floor, if it isn't already. Put a pail or bucket down on the floor, at a lower level than your tank. Put one end of the vacuum hose into the tank, being careful not to get any tadpoles in the hose. Press it into the gravel there. Put the other end of the hose down into the pail.
Now carefully pump the pump part to draw water up and over the crest of the "hump" the hose is making as it moves out of the tank and down to the floor. Once the water gets past there, gravity should take control and start streaming the water down into the pail. Since the tank-end of the hose is pressed into the gravel, that water should be full of debris. This is great! You're removing old water and cleaning at the same time.
Remember that tadpoles need fairly stable water so don't take out more than 25% at a time.
Once you've taken out the amount of water you want to, you have to stop the flow. One way is to lift the pail up. When the gravity equalizes, the water will stop flowing. Then lift the hose-end out of the pail and the water on both sides will return back down. Be gentle about then lifting the hose out of the tadpole tank, so it doesn't stir up a ton of gunk there.
We find the Top Fin gravel vacuum inexpensive and easy to use. Whatever brand you end up going with, make sure you do clean your tadpole tank regularly. They'll thank you for it!
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