Water can quickly get contaminated and harmful to your aquatic pets if you fail to maintain it regularly and properly. This is why, as an aquarium owner, how need to learn how to clean aquarium without disturbing the ecosystem inside your fish tank. Also, cleaning your aquarium does not mean that you have to remove all the water at once. There are proper ways to do so.
If you are a beginner in tending your aquarium, you might think that cleaning it would be a breeze. It is honestly quite a feat for the aquarium owner, especially if you own a large one. There are many reasons you should clean your aquarium, but the most fundamental reason is that your pet fish will not die of contamination. Here are the steps on how to clean aquariums properly.
Things You Need
Here are the supplies you will need before starting to clean the tank:
- Algae pad or scraper (it is better to use a magnetic cleaner)
- Siphon gravel vacuum
- New filter media (this is optional)
- Large bucket (for aquarium cleaning purposes only so that household chemicals won’t get into your tank)
- Prepared water (saltwater or freshwater, depending on the species of your fish)
- A used clean cloth or towel
- Heater and powerhead for saltwater aquarium
- Salinity probe for saltwater aquarium
- Water testing kit
Large aquariums are almost impossible to move, so you will need a siphon to allow you to take the water out of the tank. You will also need a bucket to bring replacement water to your tank. Moreover, make sure that you unplug all the electrical items in your aquarium, especially the filter, heater, and pumps. After that, also remove large ornaments and decorations.
Do all of these slowly so you do not stir up the debris at the bottom of your tank. You may remove artificial plants but not live plants. Doing so might disturb the root growth.
Steps on How to Clean Aquariums
You must replace around 10 to 20% of the water in the aquarium every two to three weeks. This is the most effective way on how to clean aquariums. Use a siphon gravel vacuum when performing this step to suck the waste through the tube and into the bucket. The gravel should be able to fall back into place.
Make sure to use your thumb to block the tube end to slow down the siphoning process. The primary goal in this step is not only to remove the water but also to clean the gravel by removing waste that fell into the substrate.
One of the easiest ways to clean your tank is through a magnetic algae cleaner. This device consists of two magnets, and a soft felt covering. One magnet should be placed inside the aquarium, and the other magnet should be outside the aquarium. All you have to do is drag the outer magnet on the aquarium’s glass, which allows the inner magnet to follow its lead to remove the algae inside the tank. That is how to clean aquarium algae in the most natural way possible.
For acrylic aquariums, make sure that you choose a cleaner that will not scratch its surface. Moreover, in cleaning the large ornaments and decorations that you have removed, get a bucket of the water you siphoned out and clean the same with a soft felt brush. Do not use soap and other strong cleaning products. This might kill your fish and non-artificial aquatic plants.
Cleaning the Filter
This step depends on the kind of filter you use. You might need to change or clean the medium in your water filter regularly. The most common filter is the sponge filter, and all you have to do to clean it is remove and rinse it with the bucket of water that you removed from the tank.
More importantly, do not run the used filter under tap water as it might altogether remove the beneficial bacteria that has built up inside your tank. These are considered necessary for your tank, so leave them be.
If your tank filter contains ammonia absorbers, carbon, and ion-exchange resins, you need to replace them after a couple of weeks since this can no longer absorb materials. Include the tubing of the filter in your cleanup. Use a filter brush for this purpose.
Adding water depends on whether you own a freshwater or saltwater tank. For freshwater applications, leave the tap water out for 24 hours before cleaning your tank to allow the chlorine to evaporate entirely. It would help if you used a water conditioner to remove chlorine, heavy metals, and toxins that might kill your fish. Preparing your water in advance can also help set the water to room temperature.
For saltwater preparation, you need to observe three parameters: temperature, salinity, and pH level. If you have a reef aquarium, you need to purchase RO/DI water (reverse osmosis/deionized water) from your local pet store. However, you may purchase a system that produced RO/DI water if you are feeling fancy.
You may only use tap water if you have an excellent supply. This should only be used for fish-only aquariums that you already tested for TDS (total dissolved solids). The reading should be zero, but it is still adequate as long the number does not reach ten. Always remember to leave the water overnight before putting it in the aquarium. This will allow the salt to dissolve completely.
Those are the straightforward steps on how to clean aquariums easily. Doing so should not be considered a chore, since washing your aquarium clean should be routine and regular maintenance. Partial water change is the key to maintaining your aquarium without entirely hauling it and disturbing its already established ecosystem. This is not difficult, follow these simple steps and you are good to go. Get more tips on aquarium care.