Gravel Vacuum Cleaner 

Your #1 Labor-Saving Device with Professor-Approved Footnotes

 
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Clawed
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Misc Frogs V

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Cat-N-Around Cat Club 2007 Annual Show
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Hawkeye Cat Club 2005
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Parrot Pictures
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Dave's Parrots


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Iguana Q&A I
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Iguana Training
Iguana Update
Cool Iguana Pics
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Misc Lizards
Misc Lizards 2
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Misc Lizards 6
Misc Lizards 7
Misc Lizards 8
Misc Lizards 9
Misc Lizards 10


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Misc Snake Pix
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Sulcata
Water

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Live Foods
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Br Shrimp I
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Shrimp II
Crayfish 1
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Dandelions
Daphnia
Earthworms
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Fruit Flies
Ghost Shrimp

Glass Worms

Grindal Worms
Infusoria
Mealworms
Microworms
Rosy Reds

Super Worms

Wax Worms
White Clouds

 

Decorating
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Driftwood
Gravel
Plastic Plants
Rocks
Slow Growing Plants

Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
How to Add New Fish
How to Keep Healthy
Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
Frozen Foods
Green Water
Nasty Chemicals
Overfeeding
Power Filters
Rift Lake Salts
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Mini-Tank
2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
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Java Fern IV
Java Moss
Moss Balls
Onion
Vermiculite

Watersprite

Different Watersprite

LA
Fisheye view of a working gravel cleaner.

Importance:  Several specific inventions advanced the progress of mankind.*  Rather than bore you with the history of the entire world, we’ll just list the Top Ten:

     The wheel;
     Fire (tamed);
     Movable type;
     Sliced bread;
     Peanut butter;
     The light bulb;
     The transistor;
     Air conditioning;**
     The gravel vacuum cleaner;
     And possibly the computer.  The jury is still out on this one.

*And womankind.
**Some say the two-hole outhouse, but humor has no place in this treatise.


Each individual ranks these inventions in importance according to his or her own world view.  Aquarium keepers of several aquariums (especially those that keep 100 or more) would definitely rank the gravel vacuum cleaner somewhere in the top three.

Basic Design:  Archimedes (a far-sighted Greek) invented the Gyro and the siphon long before there was gasoline (probably petrol in Greece) to “borrow.”  Not to impugn Archimedes (who did a lot of important work), but he stubbed his toe on the threshold of immortality when he failed to make that final leap which would have perfected his mere siphon and achieved the fine tool we know today as the gravel vacuum cleaner.

LA
Ta-Da.  Easily in the top three inventions ever.

Patent Info:  Our U.S. Patent Office officially describes this fine piece of machinery as “A siphon with a bigger thingy on the end.”   The original Owners Manual said to 1.  Stick the big end in an aquarium, 2.  Suck on the little end, 3.  Stick the little end in a bucket,  4.  Spit* in the bucket (optional),  5.  Repeat if necessary.  

*Our research has shown that this effluent contains many vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and micro-nutrients available only in expensive health food stores and on the internet.  It gives you a healthy, shiny coat and makes your fingernails grow.

Detractor(s):  We put the (s) in parentheses because we only know of one detractor of the gravel vacuum cleaner.  However, in the entire world there could exist another.  John* (just a nom d'guerre for literary purposes) says, “Paint the bottom of your aquarium black.  That way you won’t see the build up of that harmless ash and waste your time stressing yourself and your fish by removing it.”  

*John, an excellent inventor in his own write is so obviously ticked off that Archimedes beat him to the principles behind this invention.

LA
Pre-World War Two gravel cleaner.

Ye Olde Gravel Vacuums:  Way back when we heated our aquaria with Bunsen burners, you could find gravel cleaners that took out the “lumps.”  You can still find these in three basic versions:
     Squeeze-powered,
     Battery-powered; and
     Pneumatic-powered.
You see the squeeze-powered version above.  You stick the action end in the gravel and squeeze the bulb till your hand grows tired.  Water and stuff* flow into the bag.  The water flows thru.  The bag collects the stuff* which you then wash down your drain.  The battery version eliminates all the sweaty squeezing -- another rung up in the evolution of the aquanuts aquanauts.  You would hook the pneumatic version to your air pump and reduce your battery bill to nada.  This left you holding a sack of stuff.*  Then you had to make your legally required water change.

*Stuff like happens, you know.

Their HUGE Disadvantage You still had to change the water.  What’s up with that?  First you clean the gravel.  Then you change the water?  Why not do it all at once?  That’s where today’s gravel vacuum cleaners come in handy.  You perform the two jobs at once.  Just like Certs.

LA
You can find them in a variety of sizes.

One Size does not Fit All:  You can find Short GVCs,* Medium GVCs, Long GVCs, Shorter GVCs, Longer GVCs, and Honker (three feet) GVCs.  Both the American and metric versions work equally well.  Use the GVC that fits your needs best.  As for the bucket, we recommend the white ones.  You can visibly measure your work by the amount of stuff in your bucket.**

*Gravel vacuum cleaners in case you've forgotten.
**Since we clean dozens of tanks a day, we use a series of PVC tubes which all drain into our Des Moines stuff removal system.  Voila.  No buckets to carry.

LA
Some brands have added a bit of a flange to help you get into those hard-to-reach corners.

LA
You really need a longer tube if you take care of several aquaria.

Big Disadvantage No matter what size GVC you get, the hose is never long enough.  So, Aqualand suggests you stick on a longer hose.  “One great step for a man* ... etc.”  Rather than fight over patent rights, we donate this info to the world.  Six-footers work best for most people.  We use our 12-footer most.  The 25-footer reaches our high tanks.  Just remember, the longer your hose, the slower your water flows due to friction.  If you just want to drain a tank fast, use a short-hosed GVC.

*Yeah, or a woman.

LA
The gravel cleaner for the serious hobbyist.

Faucet Power:  Back in the 17th century Giovanni Venturi came up with the Venturi principle (narrow tube, accelerated flow, etc.) which was not really perfected until the 20th century by Clemens Herschell who connected it to a faucet so we could empty and fill water beds.  Then Monty Python's brother said, “Let’s try that in an aquarium.”  The rest is history, as they say in Eureka, CA.  You can clean tanks and FILL tanks with these beauties.  And you can easily clean those hard to service low tanks.  Even more efficient than Certs.

Disadvantage?  Of Course:  Once again, we find the hose a little short.  You can add a garden hose.  However, most garden hoses blow out after filling 500 or maybe 1,000 tanks -- usually (but not always) where you bend it over to clamp off the water flow.  So we use one of those 100-foot rolls of 5/8 inch internal diameter tubing that Tetra makes for ponds.  With various patches and splices, we can get half a year out of this stuff.

LA
Some curious cichlids and a catfish watching a GVC starting to work.

LA
The GVC lifts out the stuff with the water.  Move from place to place as the effluent clears.

Instruction 2:  The original Instruction 2 sucks, but you don’t have to.  Just insert the bell (big end) plus an extra foot of hose into the water, put your finger on the small end, stick it in your bucket, and release.  Ah, what a relief to see the water and stuff flow into the bucket with next to no effort on your part thanks to Mr. Archimedes and gravity.*

*Invented by Newton or Bacon or one of those English guys. 

LA
GVC removing stuff from goldfish tank.  Lotsa stuff in a goldfish tank.

LA
Baby oscars on Quality Control Patrol.

Bucket Toting:  Remember to switch arms when toting buckets of water or you will soon walk lop-sided.  And never carry your bucket with both arms at the same time.  You can also do curls with your bucket.  Make it a part of your total fitness program.  The GVCs that attach to your faucet eliminate this healthful aspect of tank cleaning.  One last tip for bucket toters:  If you only fill your bucket half full, it will weigh half as much.  Draw a line at the half-full level to remind you.  Option 2:  Draw the line at the half-empty level.  LA

© 2005 LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

515 283-0300

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