How Do You Install an Undergravel Filter System for Your Aquarium?

install-undergravel-filter-system-aquarium Credit: tux0racer/CC-BY-2.0

To install an undergravel filter system, clean the aquarium and gravel, assemble the filter, place the filter in the tank, cover it with gravel and install any additional accessories before adding water. Installing an undergravel filter system takes roughly 20 minutes and requires the filter system, gravel, water and a tank. Optional accessories include an air bubbler and aquarium furniture.

  1. Clean the aquarium

    Before installing the undergravel filter, rinse out the tank with hot water to remove any chemicals from the manufacturing process.

  2. Rinse the gravel and aquarium furniture

    Place the aquarium gravel in a colander with small holes. Rinse the gravel with hot water to remove sand and silt. Any aquarium furniture or decor should be similarly rinsed with hot water.

  3. Assemble the filter kit

    An undergravel filter system comes with a filter tray and upright PVC tubes. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for inserting the tubes into the base. Place the filter tray with the attached tubes on the bottom of the tank.

  4. Add the gravel and aquarium furniture

    Pour the gravel over the filter tray with a slow, even motion. Rake the gravel across the bottom to create an even layer. Place the aquarium furniture and decor in the tank, using the gravel to secure them in place.

  5. Install an air bubbler

    Air bubblers use a pump to create bubbles and aerate the water. Assemble the air bubbler according to package directions, and place it in a corner of the tank.

  6. Add the water

    Pour fresh water at room temperature into the tank. Pour slowly, so you don't disturb the gravel at the bottom. Test the water for acidity and chlorine before adding any fish.