Learn How To Clean Your Fish Tank the right way!
A clean home is a happy home and no more is this the truth for fish. Learning how to clean your fish tank is vital for the health and longevity of your fishies. Fish require a delicate balance of proper chemicals and bacteria in order to survive. If your tank is not regularly cleaned of uneaten food and waste, chemicals such as ammonia , nitrates and nitrites can/will rise which if left unchecked will be detrimental to the health of your fish.
General signs of high levels of these chemicals are :
- loss of appetite
- hiding/limited movement
Fish that are kept under these conditions overtime will sadly have a shorter life span as a result. Improper water conditions places environmental stress on the fish. This imbalance needs to be addressed immediately in order to avoid future complications.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I CLEAN MY FISH TANK?
There are many schools of thought of how often one should clean their fish tank. The answer isn’t the same for all: It truly depends on how many fish you have and how messy they are (how much waste they produce). Typically most tanks should be cleaned once every 2 weeks. You can stretch it to once month depending on the circumstances but 2 weeks is what I go by.
FISH TANK CLEANING NECESSITIES
- Purchase a gravel tube siphoning kit to remove debris from gravel/bottom of fish tank; changing only 15-20% water per cleaning. Its important to note not to remove too much water from the tank. Removing too much water will strip the tank of its much needed bacteria and could cause an issue with bacterial balance.* From my personal experience, I would recommend going with the Python aquarium cleaning system. This item was a game changer for me. You just connect it to your faucet, turn on the water and the vacuuming action sucks up the debris in a jiff. Of course there are many other brands to choose from but I am very pleased with the product.
- Scrub the glass using a regular scrub brush to remove any algae that may have built up. Typically algae will start to grow on the glass when exposed to sun light/aquarium lighting over an extended period of time. A quick brush will leave your tank looking fresh and clean.
- Make sure that your filter is properly working. A quick rinse of your filter sponges using your tank water will do just fine. Do not wash them using tap water as the chlorine from your water will destroy the beneficial bacteria in your filter.
- Make it a habit to check the quality of your water using a master test kit. As all aquatic hobbyists would agree, the API Freshwater test kit is the way to go. It has all you need to ensure your water is properly balanced.
*Here is an additional tank cleaning tip! When I first started cleaning my tank, I would try to get ALL of the gunk/debris from the bottom. At times it would require me to remove roughly 40-50% of the water! This was too much so I learned to section off parts of my tank for each cleaning. For example, each cleaning I would vacuum only 1/3 of my tank rather than attempt to suck the entire bottom. Don’t worry if there is still debris. Don’t make the mistake I did and try to get it all. Just wait until the next cleaning in a few weeks!
REFILLING THE TANK
Now that your fish tank is clean, its time to refill it. Now there are two ways you can go at doing this:
- One way is to purchase a few large buckets and fill them with water from your tap. NOTICE: You will need to treat the water since most tap water contains harmful chemicals such as ammonia and chlorine which WILL kill your fish. You will then need to buy a Primer (one I used) which will neutralize the chlorine/nitrites/ammonia, making the water safe for your fish.
- RECOMMENDED: The second method would be to invest in an ROI water filtration system. They are roughly $100 which I believe is well worth the cost. An ROI filtration system strips your tap water of all unwanted chemicals (i.e. chlorine and ammonia), leaving it pristine for your fishy friends. Water quality should not be overlooked if you want your fish to live a long and happy life. I am glad I decided to make the purchase and I have noticed that my fishes’ colors are more vibrant and they seem to be more lively than before.
*NOTE: Some people may recommend adding live bacteria to your tank after a water change but I don’t feel its necessary. Especially if you own a bigger tank, there is plenty of bacteria in your fish tank already.
And there you have it! Keeping your fish tank clean is THE vital key to keeping your fish happy and healthy. Stay posted for more helpful aquatic care tips!