If you want your freshwater fish friends to stay healthy and happy, you’ll have to make sure that the conditions of their environment remain optimal. In other words, keeping your fish tank clean allows the ecosystem in it to thrive. For instance, if the water in your aquarium isn’t replaced as much as it should be, you might as well say goodbye to the fish, coral, and other marine invertebrates that are living inside it.
Cleaning a fish tank is not a difficult job. In fact, it’s possible to do it without exerting too much time and effort. To prove this point, check out this guide to learn some easy ways to clean a fish tank.
Freshwater Fish Tanks
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that you have all of your cleaning supplies ready. The best way to cover all the bases is to keep your own checklist of the items you need for the job and to prepare your workspace and tools ahead of time.
The types of tools that are typically used for cleaning your freshwater fish tank should include the following:
- Algae magnet or scrubby pad to remove the filth that sticks to your aquarium’s glass;
- Water testing kit;
- Water conditioner to be used for treating tap water with chlorine;
- Infrared thermometer to verify the new water’s temperature;
- Filter media such as sponges, cartridges, and more for changing filters;
- Siphon gravel vacuum that doesn’t need batteries to operate;
- A bucket that could hold 19L of liquid;
- Glass cleaner that’s safe to use for aquariums;
- Shoulder-length aquarium gloves.
Tips for Aquarium Maintenance
- Determine the Amount of Water That’s Needed to Be Changed
It’s important to decide how much water you need to remove and how often you need to change it. It’s best to change at least 25% to 50% of the water every week. Before you can make your decision, be sure to consider your aquarium’s nutrient accumulation rate or the bio-load. If you want to have the water’s phosphate and nitrate level at the minimum, you’ll need to make large (over 50%) or frequent water changes.
- Prep your New Tank Water
Next, be sure to prepare your new aquarium water the night before you plan to clean your fish tank. Keep in mind that the water from your faucet can contain unwanted substances such as metals, chlorine, and toxins that can present serious health hazards to your fish. Moreover, its temperature won’t also be ideal for aquarium use.
To ensure chlorine evaporation and to maximize the effectiveness of your water conditioner, fill up your bucket with water before adding the water conditioner and let it sit for a night. By the next day, the water will be safe for your fish tank and its temperature will be perfect at room temperature.
- Prep your Tank
Keep in mind that you’ll need to position your water heater properly by making sure that it stays in place and fully submerged while the water is going to be siphoned out. Failing to do so will potentially cause your heater to overheat, break or crack. However, if it’s impossible for you to keep the heater from being exposed during the clean-up process, you can simply turn it off for short periods. While you’re at it, don’t forget to turn off your filter as well to keep it from running dry. In case you’re not aware, your filter can run dry when its intake tube becomes exposed to water levels that are low. The last thing you want is for air to enter into the filter because it can potentially cause your system to malfunction. The bottom line is, you’ll need to make sure that no piece of your aquarium equipment gets exposed when you’re attempting to replace the water.
- Use the Algae Pad to Clean the Sides of the Fish Tank and the Decorations
In case you’re wondering, algae develops when the nutrients that are in the water become exposed to light. Don’t be surprised if you find algae sticking to the sides of your aquarium or on the decorations you have in your tank. If an algae problem is left unattended, your fish will suffer because the water won’t be clean enough for them to survive. Therefore, having all traces of algae removed is a must.
Be sure to put the gloves on before you attempt to get rid of the algae that are found on the sides of your fish tank. Doing so will protect you from allergic reactions that the synthetic salt mix may potentially trigger.
To remove all traces of algae, carefully run a dedicated algae pad along the glass and scrub as little as you can. Next, lightly scrub the decorations. If you’re having a hard time doing so, you can carefully take the decorations out so that you can easily scrub them clean. Never use the sponges or scrubbers that you’ve been using in the kitchen as these could carry residue from detergents or other harsh chemicals that would harm your fish. Another thing that you should never do is to clean your decorations with boiling water or bleach because both would kill all the good bacteria in your fish tank and poison your fish.
- Siphon the Old Water Out and Clean the Substrate
The next step is to have the old water siphoned out directly into a bucket that’s being exclusively used for aquarium cleaning. As mentioned earlier, a dedicated bucket is highly recommended to be sure that it’s free from any type of residue that could possibly come from toxic cleaning agents and detergents.
While you’re getting the water out via a siphon, try to remove as much waste as possible from the gravel. If you have sand for the substrate, you get rid of the waste by holding the hose part at least an inch from the surface without disturbing the sand. To create a mesh that allows debris to enter while keeping the small fish from being sucked up, place a stocking that has never been worn on the end part of the siphon. You can prevent your siphon from clogging if you use it an angle that allows the aquarium’s substrate to back out.
- Clean Your Filter Media
Don’t shock your fish by replacing your filter media every time you change the water. Doing so will cause you to upset the chemistry of the water in the aquarium. Change your filter media every 3 to 6 months or when its performance drops.
The best way to clean the filter media is to give it a rinse using the tank water in your bucket. Never use tap water unless you want to get rid of all the good bacteria that are in your filter.
- Add the New Water
Before you replace the old water with the new aquarium water, be sure to check if the temperature is suitable for your tank. Keep in mind that any drastic changes in the water’s temperature can kill the fish in your aquarium. The best tool that you can use to check the temperature is an infrared thermometer.
Once everything is checked, you can start refilling your fish tank. Make sure that you leave enough space between the water and the top of your tank to help you fish breathe. You’ll need to observe the water for a few hours until the water becomes clear.
- Clean the Outside of the Fish Tank
Lastly, spray a glass cleaner on a rag before you use it to wipe down the exterior parts of your fish tank. If you need to have mineral deposits removed, you may use a solution with distilled water and white vinegar.
Pompano Beach Aquarium Service
For the best aquarium maintenance, water feature maintenance, aqauarium services, and more around the Pompano Beach area, contact Crystal Oceans today! We also service the surrounding areas such as Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale, Lighthouse Point, and Delray Beach! We are your one stop shop for all things related to water features in Boca Raton and aquarium services in south Florida.
- Aquarium installation
- Aquarium maintenance
- Coral reef inserts
- Fish tank & aquarium lighting
- RO water delivery
- Services for custom aquariums in South Florida
- Water Feature Maintenance
- Service Plans
- Salt & freshwater system upgrades
Have any questions about our service? If so, contact Crystal Oceans today!
Give us a call at (954) 289-9337 for the absolute best in aquarium maintenance and water feature maintenance in Boca Raton.