Owning and operating an aquarium is a lot more work than people expect. I learned that the hard way when I began this hobby and lost several fish due to my mistakes. I suppose it’s all trial and error.
One of the most important things when keeping an aquarium is cleanliness. And that cleanliness starts with a decent vacuum for your tank.
In this article, I will discuss the Gravel Vacuum by Top Fin.
A Brief History of Top Fin
The Top Fin Brand is one of PetSmart’s top fish equipment brands. You will likely see many items with this product because it is their own. The company sells not only vacuums but pumps, filters, plants, decorations, and more.
The company’s main manufacturer is United Pet Group, based in Missouri. While you will not find the Top Fin brand at other pet stores, you will likely find products on Amazon or eBay.
The company prides itself on providing an array of equipment for fish lovers that are affordable and reliable. The goal of Top Fin, along with any aquarium enthusiasts, is to provide a happy, healthy, and clean home for our finned friends.
Top Fin is a decent product that is more affordable than others and is great for those just getting started with an aquarium. Other products sold by Top Fin include:
- Aquarium Starter Kits
- Tank Filters
- Higher Quality Fish Tanks
- Air Pumps
- Replacement Filter Media
- Cleaning equipment
- Water conditioners
- Fish Food
The Top Fin Gravel Vaccum
The Top Fin Gravel Vacuum is an affordable and easy way to keep your tank clean. This vacuum will separate and remove the dirt and debris from the gravel in your aquarium. I like that the gravel will stay in place as the vacuum cleans. There is also a basket inside the cap that prevents small fish from being sucked into the hose. No one wants that!
The product comes with easy-to-use flexible PVC hoses and a siphon ball. The wide mouth nozzle on the vacuum is good at getting hard-to-reach places like corners. The parts of this product are all made of 100% plastic, giving it longevity and toughness.
How Do You Set up the Top Fin Gravel Vacuum?
- Connect the strainer to the short tube
- Connect the short tube to the bulb
- Connect the longer tube to the bulb
This product is relatively easy to assemble. The parts included are the bulb, the tubes, the strainer, and a clip that holds the tube in place.
The strainer should connect to a short tube, which then connects to the bulb. From the bulb, attach the long tube, which is put into the black tube holder that holds the bucket you use to catch the dirt.
It can be tricky to make sure the parts are fitting together snuggly so they don’t slip off, so be sure you have a proper fit. Once the tube is assembled and the long end is down in the bucket, you are ready to let gravity do its thing.
How Do You Use a Top Fin Vacuum on Gravel?
The thing to keep in mind when using a vacuum is that it does not recycle the water in your tank, so you will need to have fresh water to replace the water that is vacuumed out.
You first want to put the larger strainer end into the tank and give the bulb a few good squeezes until you have decent water flow into the bucket.
Once you get going, the water level will reach a certain point, and you will have to readjust the angle of the strainer and add more water.
Should I Remove Fish When Vacuuming Gravel?
You should not have to remove your fish when you clean the tank. Unplug your filter and simply let the water drain. The vacuum’s strainer will prevent any small fish or gravel from being sucked up.
Your fish may become a little stressed out with the process, but most do just fine. Add extra caution if your fish have long fins and tails, as you don’t want them caught between the gravel and the tube.
How Often Should I Vacuum the Gravel in My Fish Tank?
You generally want to do regular vacuuming at least twice a month, but ideally once a week. You need to remove all of your décor and plants prior to vacuuming. It’s amazing how much debris and waste can settle in around your enclosure decorations.
You also want to consider the kind of fish you have. I have Goldfish, and they are notorious for being huge producers of waste. Plecos are also big waste producers, and it’s almost a disproportionate level when you factor in their size.
If you have a few Plecostomus in your tank, you know that they are almost like little vacuums themselves and will be a great asset to helping keep the tank clean.
Is the Top Fin Gravel Vacuum a Good Product?
The Top Fin Gravel Vacuum is not a top-of-the-line product, but it is sufficient for beginners as it’s user-friendly and cost-effective.
It does a fairly good job of sucking up debris without taking in any fish or gravel. The bucket clip is a good added feature because it can prevent spilling and keeps the hose from moving around too much.
What Are Some Other Good Products by Top Fin?
The company’s two best sellers include;
Top Fin Mini Aquarium Air Pump
This pump is ideal for tanks ranging from five to 170 gallons. It will circulate the water throughout your tank, ensuring a healthy home. It is small and energy efficient and promotes gentle movement of your tanks’ decorations.
It is budget and user-friendly. Air pumps are a great product to have as it helps to create a clean living environment.
Top Fin 100 Watt Aquarium Heater
This water heater is meant for tanks between 10 to 20 gallons. The heater will keep an accurate temperature with an automatic shut-off to prevent overheating. The heater is also affordable and available in many different sizes.