How to Clean Your Fish Tank

aquarium cleaning

Fish is considered to be the cleanest because it lives in water; this can be true especially in the wild where the waters are moving.

A dirty environment even for human beings can cause disease outbreak and the same applies to fish, failure to clean your fish aquarium will most likely stress you fish to the point of death. 

On the flip side though is that there are several methods that you can use to tell whether your aquarium needs cleaning, some of which will be discussed in this excerpt including a discussion on the detailed process of cleaning your fish tank. 

Reasons for cleaning your fish tank 

A clean tank is necessary for the health and growth of your fish, what’s more, is that if you are keeping the schooling types of fish or the betta fish that have vibrant colors then regular cleaning is necessary to ensure that they don’t lose their vibrancy and sheen. Tank cleaning also ensures that nitrite and nitrate levels in your fish tank are kept low. 

Control of ammonia and nitrite levels 

Ammonia and nitrite levels in your fish tank spike because of the waste produced when fish excretes and by the leftover food particles, which then leads to the build-up of bioload. If you are a beginner in fish keeping and fail to clean your fish tank, then, in the long run, you might have to use chemicals, which have many side effects and will most probably affect your fish’s health. 

Clean your water filter 

There are a few misconceptions when it comes to fish tank cleaning and one is that some people are one hundred percent reliant on the filter to do the cleaning for them. However, don’t be deceived to depend on your water filter to clean your water tank, because even during cleaning the filter needs to be washed and if possible replaced with an effective one. 

clean aquarium 1

Complete water removal is not a solution

Removing all the water in your fish tank and replacing it with clean water will help with eliminating toxins in your aquarium water but it is not a safe procedure for your fish. And the reason why during fish tank cleaning partial water changes are done is because of the beneficial bacteria that help in maintaining a stable water ecosystem. 

Your fish tank, therefore, needs a high population of the good bacteria and the reason why it is not advisable to change all the water in your fish tank. 

Benefits of cleaning your fish tank 

Removal of Organic compounds 

If you feed your fish as required then you do have dissolved or particulate organic compounds in your aquarium that need to be removed. They are in the form of hydrogen and carbon such as vitamins, fatty acids, and amino acids. In simple terms, organic compounds are waste just like ammonia, and if you can remember how the beneficial bacteria breaks down ammonia till we eventually end up with nitrates then organic compounds also need to be broken. 

 A clean aquarium tank helps remove the dissolved organic compounds; plants can also help clean the water for you. Whether on land or inside water the functions of plants don’t change and that is why you should consider having some in your aquarium, but if you don’t like dense vegetation then you can invest in the floating plants or the Marimo Moss Balls that are not stationary. 

Replenishes lost minerals 

There are so many things that are not readily apparent by the naked eye and this is inclusive of the restocked minerals in your fish tank. Some aquariums do contain a lot of minerals while others don’t have enough. So when you clean your fish tank, minerals are balanced out in cases where they are too many. 

And where they are not enough, they are replenished; minerals need to be balanced out in your fish tank because if they are either too many or too few, your fish runs the risk of osmotic stress that could possibly lead to death. 

Still, on the benefits of cleaning your fish tank, there are two vital points that need to be adhered to, the first one is that your water filter does contain some of the beneficial bacteria and should, therefore, not be rinsed out in tap water. And since you will be partially replacing your aquarium water, remember to put back all the essential minerals and the beneficial bacteria, which you can get over the counter, so that you don’t gamble with the health of your fish. 

fill aquarium

How frequent should you clean your fish tank

The frequency of your fish tank cleaning is largely dependent on the type and amount of dwellers in your fish tank. This will directly relate to the amount of food that is fed, the leftovers, and the number of toxins released from fish waste given their high or low population. 

How to clean your fish tank 

1. Remove water and waste in the gravel

So initially we stated that you will need to make partial water changes when cleaning your aquarium and that is the first thing that you will do. You will, therefore, remove some of the water from the fish tank and clean the gravel using siphon gravel and one that has an effective hose, that can remove both water and waste. The idea here is to suck up all the waste in the gravel and transfer it to a side bucket.

2. Algae Removal 

Since we don’t want to give the fish a heart attack by wading our hands all over the fish tank, just invest in a magnetic cleaner that will effectively clean the glass windows of your aquarium without getting your hands wet. Aquarium plants can also be rid of algae by removing and washing them in a bucket but without using detergent. 

Most Aquarists do have algae eaters in their fish tanks, so there are chances that they don’t have that many algae in their fish tanks, but should nonetheless be cleaned. 

3. Clean and replace your water filter 

Cleaning your water filter should take the shortest time possible to avoid killing the good bacteria, more so if your aquarium uses the sponge filter. The latter should be cleaned in a container of water and be replaced to retain the good bacteria. 

There are some types of filters that will not need cleaning but rather replacement like the carbon or ion exchange resins and those that have ammonia filters. 

4. Replenishing Water

After cleaning the tank you can now replenish it with water but this will be largely dependent on the size of your tank and the amount of water that you had removed. Fresh and saltwater tanks have different procedures that you need to observe, for example, if you have a freshwater aquarium, you will need o leave the tap water out and exposed to get rid of chemicals and chlorine. 

A water conditioner can also be added to get rid of heavy and toxic metals. For those who have Reef aquariums, they may need to use deionized water

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