How to Clean and Maintain Your Fish Tank
Here is a guide to the key parts of cleaning your Aquarium.
- Cleaning the water
- Cleaning the filtration
- Cleaning the gravel
- Cleaning the other physical things in the tank
- Having a regular maintenance schedule
Let's look into each step:
Cleaning The Aquarium Water
A big part of water health is ensuring that you use your aquarium test kits to understand where your water is at before you start taking any action.
If you are out of time and you want to do something quick for your tank, a 20% water change is the most effective thing to do. Removing some of the old water and replacing it new water helps to ‘water’ down any of the unwanted nasty’s in the water.
20% is the maximum amount of water you should change in a normal water change, sometimes you will need to do more if there is a major problem in your tank, but for normal maintenance 20% is more than enough.
Cleaning the aquarium filtration
The main part of your aquarium filtration to keep clean is the mechanical filtration, or the sponges and filter wool that catch all of the debris inside your tank. Debris like leaves, left over fish food and fish waste.
This should be cleaned or replaced on a weekly basis.
You will also need to keep an eye on other aspects of your fish tank filtration. If it is starting to look dirty it will need to be cleaned and scraped. If you are using noodles or aquarium substrate (generally a white rock or ceramic looking compound) this cannot be washed under the tap water as it will kill all of the good bacteria that you have built up.
You will need to take a bucket of water from your aquarium, pour the aquarium filtration media into the bucket of aquarium water, give it a bit of a clean to try and get rid of any access muck and then put it back in your filter. And if it's an external filter, fill with water from the aquarium so you don’t shock the bacteria with the new water.
Cleaning the aquarium gravel
A lot of leftover food and rubbish from your aquarium can settle in the gravel, so it’s important to clean this gravel and remove all of this rubbish frequently. Ideally once or twice a month.
The best way to do this is to use a gravel syphon, this takes water out of your tank at the same time as removing the debris from the gravel, it works like a vacuum cleaner and picks up the gravel circulates it shaking off the debris and the gravel drops back down onto the floor of the aquarium while the rubbish gets sucked out of the aquarium and into the bucket along with some water.
Aquatic aquarium cleaning
One of the most important parts of keeping an aquarium is maintaining a picture perfect aquarium. There is nothing worse than having an aquarium as a centre piece in your home and being unable to see the fish. There are some great tools to help you scrub the glass and ornaments. These include:
- Algae Pads: Glass Algae Pads, Acrylic Algae Pads
- Multi-Purpose Tools: Rake, Algae Pad, Aqua Scrapper Blades
- Magnetic Aquarium Cleaner
Controlling algae growth
Aquarium Lighting is a big part of this, both naturally and artificially, so controlling this light is critical. As a general rule too much light will create green algae and not enough light will create brown algae.
Positioning of your tank is critical at this point, so make sure that you get the right amount of light in the tank to minimize algae growth – about 8-10 hours of artificial light on top of the natural light you will get from the home is ideal.
A regular maintenance schedule helps to keep your tank clean and clear, our suggestion is that on a weekly basis you do the following:
- Test your water
- Change the filter wool in your filter
- Give the glass a good wipe down on the inside to remove any algae. If any algae is starting to show on the aquarium ornaments, pull them out of the tank and give them a good scrub, but don’t use any detergent or anything just water and good old fashion elbow grease
- Gravel siphon the gravel on a weekly basis, but don’t change any more than 20% of the water, less of the water that changes the better (as long as there are no other issues going on).
If you do this on a weekly basis keeping your tank crystal clean is easy and not a major project once a month.
Written by The Pet.co.nz
Written by The Pet.co.nz Team
A team of specialists with backgrounds in animal nursing, animal care, and all things pet related.