Your fish tank is only as beautiful as the algae on its glass. Maintaining an aquarium is an ongoing battle that needs time dedicated to it. If you want to keep your lovely, colorful fish healthy, you need to first scrape off the algae, clean out your murky water and make sure the environment is optimal for aquarium fish to survive. Otherwise, you may end up with a lot of dead fish.
Many fish owners become frustrated when cleaning out their aquarium. That’s because they don’t have a simple guide to follow that can lead to a world of ease and satisfaction. If you are one of those, go ahead and bookmark this page.
Table of Contents
- Why Should You Clean Your Fish Tank?
- Types of Fish Tanks Cleaning Tools
- Maintaining Your Fisk Tank
Why Should You Clean Your Fish Tank?
There are three things you need to keep in check when you clean out your aquarium:
Regulating Nitrogen Level
Fish and plants produce waste in the form of ammonia. This ammonia is broken down into nitrite and then into nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite are highly toxic to fish, so you need to incorporate good bacteria into your fish tank so that they can break down the harmful nitrite into fish-tolerant nitrate. You also need to change the water frequently and take out any dead fish quickly so that it doesn’t decompose in the water and produce more toxins.
Removing Dissolved and Particulate Organic Compounds
Organic compounds are made primarily up of carbon and hydrogen atoms. They include sugars, vitamins, proteins, and fatty acids. These can be categorized into dissolved and particulate organic matter. These matters are a natural by-product of fish and contain food waste and other organic matter.
Dissolved matter can pass through 0.2 0 1.0 um filters, while particulate matter cannot. Freshwater plants can keep some of the dissolved and particulate matter in check while the rest can be handled by changing the water.
Often when fish owners add water into their tanks, that water has undergone reverse osmosis to remove all impurities. That also means it is absent of essential minerals that your fish needs to survive. Too little minerals can result in osmotic stress in fish, which can lead to osmosis shock, a fatal condition. Hence, you should first correct your water chemistry before putting the fish inside the tank.
Types of Fish Tanks Cleaning Tools
To keep your tank clean with the correct water condition, here are some tools you need to use:
The Fish Net
Some people tend to grab their fish using their hands in order to remove them from the tank. This can cause the creatures distress as well as damage their delicate fins. To remove fish from the tank, use a fish tank that can gently scoop them out of the water and into a bucket.
Fishnets are available in a huge variety of styles, designs, size, and colors. Choose one that is the right size and shape for your fish.
Algae pad or algae scrubber is a water-filtering device that allows you to rub away any algae on your aquarium glass. These algae pads are non-scratch, so they do not damage your acrylic or glass fish tank. You should get good quality algae pads from pro-fish brands that do not contain soap or chemical residue that can harm your fish.
Aquarium Glass Magnet
Tired of leaning half your body down into your fish tank to clean out the glass? Aquarium glass magnets are the answer to your prayers. The device is made up of two parts: a scrubber and a powerful magnet handle. You hold the magnetic handle outside of the tank and place the scrubber inside the tank. The powerful magnet will attract the scrubber through the glass, and you can easily clean the glass from the outside, without having to lean in. Be careful though, make sure that there is no sediment or gravel between the surface of the glass or scrubber as that can leave a nasty scratch on your aquarium.
Get a nice long-handled scraper to take off the algae from your tank glass. A metal razor is good for cleaning your glass aquarium while a plastic razor is better for an acrylic tank.
A thin film of algae on your aquarium décor or rocks can easily be removed by a flow of warm water and some scrubbing. However, if you have allowed the algae to build up, it can become crusted on the surfaces. For this, you can use chlorine bleach to dissolve the offending organisms.
Fill a bucket with nine parts water and one part chlorine bleach. Soak all the aquarium décor and rocks into the bucket for about 15 minutes. Then scrub them with a soft bristled brush or scrubbing pad and let them soak in clear water for another 15 minutes. Let the items become completely dry before you put them inside the tank.
If your rocks and aquarium decoration are covered with calcium deposits, you can use distilled white vinegar to clean them out. Pour some white vinegar in a large bucket or basin and soak the objects in it for several hours, preferably overnight. The vinegar will soften the calcified layer, and you can remove them with a soft brush. Rinse off the vinegar with cool water and let the item dry completely before putting them back in the tank.
Glass Cleaner Spray
No matter how squeaky clean the inside of your tank is, you won’t be able to see anything if the outside is grimy. Fish tank glass cleaner spray comes in a squirt bottle, and all you need to do is spritz your aquarium glass with them and wipe it down with a soft sponge. With a water change, your fish tank will look crystal clear and sparkly.
Siphon/ Gravel Cleaner
Get a good siphon that can hook up to your faucet and eliminates the need for filling up and carrying heavy bucket-loads of water to and from the bathroom. Then clean up the entire surface of your gravel to remove the accumulated debris. You can use the same siphon to fill up your tank too.
Your fish nets can help you scoop out fish from the aquarium during cleaning; however, they can also be transmitters of disease and infection if they are not cleaned properly. A good quality net soak can help you keep your aquarium net clean from contaminants that it might have picked up from other tanks or the atmosphere. It also keeps the fish healthy and prolongs the life of the net.
Your aquarium filter is responsible for carrying out many harmful particulates from the tank. That means it can get clogged and lose its effectiveness. A filter brush can help you clean out the aquarium filter; choose one that can easily get into all those tight corners.
Disassemble your aquarium filter and clean out its cartridge, canisters, and tubes. Clean or replace your fish tank filter, depending on what kind of media you are using. If your fish tank has a filter that contains carbon, ion-exchange resins or ammonia absorbers, it should be changed at least once a month.
After you have thrown away your water, scrubbed your aquarium, cleaned the objects and replaced your filters, you need to top up the water and make its chemistry ideal for the fish to survive. This is what water conditioners are for. There are several kinds of conditioners that help create beneficial bacteria in your tank, remove chlorine residue that may be left during the cleaning, reduces osmosis stress and ammonia toxicity when handling fish, and promotes plant growth by providing organic carbon to aquarium fauna.
Yes, snails! Get some freshwater or sea snails, depending on what kind of water your tank has and place them inside the tank. These gastropods can keep the growth of algae in check and lead to cleaner sands. They also dig into the sand, upturning it and prevent stagnation. You can go to your local pet store to find out about the different types of snails that are fit for your tank.
Once your tank is clean and filled with water, let your set up run for 24 hours, before introducing the fish. This provides time for necessary bacteria to build up and stabilizes the temperature, pH, and salinity of the water. Your tank may get cloudy because of the bacterial growth, but it will go away on its own. If you are concerned about it, there are water conditioners that can help clean it up.
Maintaining Your Fisk Tank
Aside from cleaning out your fish tank, you should also daily and weekly maintain your fish tank to ensure it remains hygienic between cleans.
These daily activities only require a few minutes and can make a huge difference in your fish’s health.
- Feed your fish just twice a day and after five minutes, remove any uneaten remnants. This will prevent them from decomposing in the water, increasing ammonia content and decreasing the water quality.
- Inspect all your fish every day for any signs of unusual behavior that may indicate the fish may be wounded or sick.
- Use a hydrometer to check the salt density in the water so that you can quickly adjust any changes.
- Make sure the water temperature always remain at the optimum level for fish, as being cold-blooded, they cannot regulate their body temperatures.
These checks should be performed weekly:
- Make sure your water tank has good chemistry and has the optimum level of pH, nitrogen compounds and salt density. You can get your water tested at a fish store or buy a home testing kit that can indicate the water health with the help of colorful strips.
- Quickly check your tank equipment, i.e., the filters, heaters and the light to see whether they are functioning properly. A more thorough check can be done while you are cleaning the fish tank.
Now, try cleaning your tank using these guidelines. Whatever type of cleaning tools you choose to use, make sure they can be used safely on your fish tank. A few minutes of regular maintenance can also do wonders for the health of your fish tank.
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