A clean and hygienic fish tank looks great and provides a nice and comfortable home for your fish. A fish tank naturally becomes dirty over time as food and fish cause a buildup of waste. Cleaning the fish tank will eliminate the buildup of debris and chemicals, providing a safe home for your aquatic pets. Below is an outline of steps you should follow when cleaning your fish tank.
1. Prepare Your Working Area
Before you start any maintenance on your aquarium, you need to thoroughly wash your hands and rinse them to prevent the introduction of perfumes, lotions, and other toxic chemicals to your aquarium. You can wear gloves to protect your hands and the aquarium water from contamination. Ensure all supplies are meant for aquarium use only, including siphons, buckets, and sponges to further reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Be sure to collect all the required cleaning supplies before starting the cleaning process.
2. Clean the Acrylic or Glass Walls of the Aquarium
Algae or any other buildup must be removed from the inside walls of the aquarium. You can use an aquarium glass scrubber and scraper to remove stubborn debris and algae. The sponge-like area of the scrubber can eliminate algae and dirt buildup on the flat panes of glass. If you have stubborn buildup in the corners or edges of your aquarium, you can clean them using the scraper. Ensure that specialized scrubbers are used for acrylic aquariums to prevent the risk of scratches.
3. Clean Décor and Accessories
Decorations like rocks, artificial plants, and other accessories will collect algae and waste, making your aquarium dirty and unsightly and contributing to an unhealthy living environment for your fish. Remove all decor from the aquarium and scrub them in hot water using an alga pad to lose the debris. You can also disinfect them using a mixture of water and a 3% bleach solution to remove dirt and kill germs. Non-porous accessories should be soaked in the bleach solution for 15 minutes, rinsed, scrubbed, and air-dried. You can soak them in a de-chlorinator to eliminate any residual bleach.
4. Clean the Filter
The maintenance and specifics of cleaning the filter will vary based on the type of aquarium filter you have. Remove the filter from your aquarium and place it in a bucket containing aquarium or dechlorinated water. The process will eliminate all excess waste without killing the beneficial bacteria or affecting the aquarium’s balance. Avoid using bleach, chemicals, or hot water because they kill beneficial bacteria. Use aquarium or dechlorinated water to scrub areas of the filter that have buildup. After everything has been cleaned and replaced, you can place the filter back into your aquarium.
5. Clean Aquarium Gravel by Siphoning
Clean the gravel using a water siphon to eliminate the debris. Different types of siphons are available, but they all work the same. The gravel vacuum will stir up the gravel and eliminate any existing debris without sucking up the gravel. Ensure the entire surface of the gravel is thoroughly vacuumed to eliminate all debris.
6. Add Fresh Water
Perform a water change by using dechlorinated water to replace the water eliminated by the gravel vacuum. Ensure your replacement water is at the same temperature as the aquarium water. Be sure to unplug the aquarium heater during your water changes to prevent it from being exposed to air as the levels of the water drop. A 25% water change is ideal for your monthly water change during aquarium cleaning.
7. Add Your Clean Decor and Accessories Back into Your Aquarium
After you’ve vacuumed the gravel and verified that aquarium accessories are free from any trace or scent of bleach, they can be returned to the aquarium. You can add the new pretreated water to replace the removed dirty water. After attaining an optimal water level, you can restart the filters and heaters if necessary.
8. Clean The Outside of The Aquarium
After everything has been placed back into the aquarium, the outside walls may have water spots and spills that require cleaning. Use a glass cleaner sprayed onto a towel to wipe the outside glass and eliminate any water spots, fingerprints, or mineral deposits to guarantee a pristine and clear view. Any spills on the floor should also be cleaned. Your aquarium is now clean and ready for ultimate viewing and comfort.
Like other pets, your fish need commitment, love, and care. And one way of keeping your fish healthy and happy is cleaning the fish tank regularly. You should also perform water testing and water changes to ensure you give your fish the best environment possible. With regular care and maintenance, your fish tank will be a beautiful and healthy habitat for your fish.