How To Clean a Fish Tank

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Gather Supplies

Before you can start cleaning your tank, you’ll need to gather your supplies. The most important tool you will need is a siphon. A siphon is a narrow, flexible tube you will use to suck up all of the aquarium gunk from the bottom of your tank.

Siphons come in all shapes and sizes. If your siphon has only one intake hose, then you will need to purchase a Y-connector. If you aren’t sure if your siphon has a Y-connector and you only have one intake, you can test it to see if it sucks up water.

Another important tool you will need to have on hand is a bucket. If you don’t have a bucket, you can use a bucket that you already have in your house to help save the gunk from your fish tank. Just make sure you use an empty bucket, preferably one that’s been thoroughly cleaned.

Scrub the Sides of the Tank

When you’ve finished scrubbing the inside of your tank, you can now get around the outside. The best way to clean the outside of your tank is to actually get in, with swimsuit and all, and scrub it while you’re in the water. This gives you a fresh perspective on things, because it’s easy to miss spots when you can’t see the entire tank from the outside.

As you clean your tank, look closely at the bottom. You’ll want to scrub this area with some force in order to release any built-up grime. Pay particular attention to any clinging algae.

Attempt to clean your tank as often as you can, but if you can’t do it too often it’s not going to kill your fish.

Change Out Water As Is Appropriate

The number of times you need to change your tank water depends on a variety of factors, including how many fish you have in the tank, the temperature of the water, and how big the tank is. The rule of thumb is that the more fish you have, the more often you need to change the water. Since the water temperature influences the metabolic rate of your fish, you will need to change the water more often if it gets too warm. Here are some basic rules of thumb:

One small fish – Change the water when it has been present ⅔ of the total volume of the tank.

Two small fish – Change the water when it has been present ½ of the total volume of the tank.

3-4 small fish – Change the water every 2-3 days.

5-6 small fish – Change the water every 1-2 days.

7-10 medium fish – Change the water every 1-2 days.

10-15 medium fish – Change the water every 2-3 days.

15-20 large fish – Change the water every 2-3 days.

20-25 large fish – Change the water every 3-4 days.

As a general rule, you can change the water approximately every 2-3 days. However, you should change the water when you notice signs of discoloration or any other indicators that the water may be becoming contaminated.

Clean Gravel and Decor

The first thing you will want to do is clean the gravel. You should do this regularly to remove dissolved fish waste and uneaten fish food that cause water quality issues. Unfortunately, most fish keepers do not clean the gravel. So the build-up of fish waste and uneaten fish food over time will cause severe water quality issues, ranging from leaves and twigs to molds and algae growth.

To remove fish waste and uneaten fish food from gravel, you first want to siphon the gravel from one side of the tank to the other using a hose and gravel siphoning tube. If you leave the tube in the gravel, you can direct it as you siphon from one side to the other. This will help you push the gravel into a corner where you can access it with the siphon tube. By pointing the tube to a corner that is in an accessible area, you can prevent being forced to empty the tank.

Pull the water out of the gravel tube gently. If you do it too quickly, you can make a mess. Putting a bucket below the gravel tube will help in this case. If you have a siphon machine, it will help to increase the flow rate.

Replace Water

A dirty fish tank is not only aesthetically unpleasant but also unhealthy. While fish can adapt to a stable environment, cleaning your aquarium is a must because it will not only keep your fish happy but also healthy.

The first step in cleaning your fish tank is to remove all the fish and plants. After the fish and plants have been removed, you can siphon out the aquarium with a siphon. Keeping the gravel clean is also important and one needs to wash it regularly.

If you have many fish inside the fish tank, you may find it difficult to clean half the tank. So many people prefer to keep a small fish-proof container with sand and plants in order to make it possible to choose the fish to be put back in the fish tank.

Maintain Cleanliness

Whether you have a freshwater or a saltwater fish tank, keeping it clean and well maintained is extremely important. You have to remove the solid waste that the fish produce and also take care of its feeding and water requirements. You need to add chemicals to clean the water and watch out for any bacteria that might cause significant problems in the long run. Depending on the type of fish you are dealing with, freshwater or saltwater, you may have other specific cleaning requirements that may be different than what you will come across with other types of fish.

Your fish should not be harmed in any way during the cleaning process so you need to take all the necessary precautions to handle them with the right equipment and material. You should also consider the availability of water for your fish while you are cleaning. Keeping the fish tank clean is not a herculean task and can be done in a few minutes. You just need to be cautious, thorough, and know the details of this process. If you are new to the aquarium business or just want to brush up on your skills, here is a summary of what you need to know about the cleaning process: