How To Clean Fish Tank
Knowing how to clean your fish tank on a regular basis is an important step to keep your fish happy and healthy. Because the fish tank is such a small environment, it doesn't take long for toxic substances to build up within it, endangering the lives of your carefully selected fish. With regular cleaning, ideally about once a week, you can maintain the beauty and overall health of your tank without expending a great deal of effort.
- To clean your fish tank, you will need:
- A clean bucket
- Water siphon or large cup
- Gravel vacuum
- Algae scrubber
- Appropriate chemicals to restore water pH
- Remove ten to fifteen percent of the water in the tank using a large, clean up or a water siphon. If you clean the tank once a week, this amount of water removal should be sufficient to keep it clean. If you clean the tank less often, or if it is particularly dirty, you may choose to remove more water for a more thorough cleaning.
- Clean the interior of the tank. Use the gravel vacuum to clean dirt and detritus from the gravel on the bottom of the tank. Use the algae scrubber on the sides of the tank to remove any algae deposits.
- Clean any plants or decorations. Plastic plants can be removed and cleaned with water if necessary, as can tank decorations. Particularly dirty decorations can be soaked in a ten percent bleach solution, but must be thoroughly rinsed and allowed to dry before they are returned to the tank.
- Replenish the water in the tank. Add water using the siphon or cup, careful not to disturb the gravel, which is likely to stir up more dirt into the water. The water should be the same temperature as the water in the tank.
- Restore pH levels. Add pH balancing chemicals proportionate to the amount of water removed and replaced. For example, if one-third of the water has been replaced, add one-third of the amount you would use to balance a full tank.
Unless you are removing all or nearly all of the water in the tank, it is not necessary to remove the fish, and will likely be less stressful for them if they remain in the tank. Do not use commercial sponges, as they are often treated with chemicals that can kill your fish. Only use sponges or algae scrubbers purchased at a pet store specifically for aquarium use. If your filter is dirty, plan to clean it a few pieces at a time rather than all at once. Beneficial bacteria build up within the filter, and if they are all removed at once, the health of your tank will suffer.