This article was co-authored by Doug Ludman and staff writer Dan Hickey. Doug Ludemann is the owner and operator of Fish Geeks, LLC, an aquarium services company located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Doug worked as a professional aquarist at the Minnesota Zoo and Shade Aquarium in Chicago, and has worked in the aquarium and fish care industry for over 20 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior from the University of Minnesota.
What To Do If Your Fish Tank Water Is Cloudy
There are 11 excerpts from this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
How Often And Much Do I Need To Change My Aquarium Water And Clean My Filter?
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Freshwater fish make very low maintenance pets…until it’s time to change the water. Water changes may not be the most fun part of owning an aquarium, but it is an important task because it allows you to monitor debris and toxins in the water.
Fortunately, you don’t need to change the water all at once, and once you have the process, the process is a breeze. In this article, we’ll show you how to do partial water changes and maintain your tank to keep your fish, water chemistry, and beneficial bacteria healthy and happy. When you’re ready, dive in!
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How To Clean A Fish Tank
This article was co-authored by Doug Ludman and staff writer Dan Hickey. Doug Ludemann is the owner and operator of Fish Geeks, LLC, an aquarium services company located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Doug worked as a professional aquarist at the Minnesota Zoo and Shade Aquarium in Chicago, and has worked in the aquarium and fish care industry for over 20 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior from the University of Minnesota. This article has been viewed 529,047 times.
Before doing a water change in your freshwater aquarium, prepare a bucket of treated water to replace the water you are going to remove. Next, use a gravel siphon and bucket to remove debris from the tank substrate. After the siphon has sucked about 30 percent of the water, stop your tank and check for damage. If there is no damage, take the temperature of the remaining water in your tank, then make sure that the pre-treated water is about the same temperature before adding it to your tank. To find out how often you should change the water, read on! When it comes to cleaning, your fish tank is like your kitchen sink: it’s about staying in front of the mess. Poor conditions (think: algal blooms) result in stressed animals that are more susceptible to disease. Regular maintenance and small water changes, in turn, will help your fish live a happy and healthy life.
So, how do you clean a fish tank? We show you how to clean your freshwater aquarium and make sure that the animals in your tank live their lives.
Fish Tank Cleaning Supplies Step by Step Instructions The Importance of a Clean Tank How Often Should I Clean My Tank? Frequently Asked Questions
How To Add Water Conditioner To The Fish Tank
Before you start scrubbing, here is a list of supplies you need for proper cleaning of the fish tank.
Here’s the good news: You don’t have to remove your fish from the tank during the cleaning process. In fact, it is better to leave them inside, since the movement will stress them and in the worst case, injure them. Move around them slowly and carefully while cleaning.
Put on this oversized t-shirt and gather all your things in one accessible place. Then wash your hands and face well. “Scrubbing”, as veterinarians often call it, can help prevent harmful substances from entering the aquarium water. Be sure to wash off the soap thoroughly.
When you clean your aquarium, debris circulates around the tank and is easier to remove if you let it settle to the bottom instead of sucking it into the filter. So go ahead and turn off the filter during cleaning.
Loving The Life: How To Tell If Your Fish Are Happy
Why disconnect the heater? When you change the water and scrub the heater, remove it from the water and expose it to air – if you do this while it’s hot, the machine could catch fire. Unplug and let it cool before moving on to the next step.
You need to start working on the walls in the aquarium first. There are many products that you can use to clean or scrape the walls of your aquarium: scrubber pads, razors, etc. The most important thing to remember is to choose a device that works with the content in your tank. If you have a glass tank, you can use hard, sharp tools to do the job. However, if your tank is acrylic, using a tool like a razor blade can scratch your tank – not exactly the aesthetic you’re going for.
Pro Tip: If you’re not sure what material your tank is, choose tools made for acrylic tanks, as they will be gentle on any surface they touch. Some tools, like the Aqueon ProScraper Blade, come with razor blades and plastic attachments to fit any tank.
An algae pad like Lifeguard’s Aquarium Algae Pad is a good tool to start with. Remember to buy a cleaning pad specifically for the aquarium. Other types of cleaning pads or sponges may contain soaps or chemicals that can harm your fish. Again, choose a woven pad for a glass or acrylic tank, depending on the type you have. Even your old toothbrush can do the trick!
Setting Up A New Aquarium
Depending on how your algae is set up, a scrub with an algae pad may not be enough. If stubborn algae remains after scrubbing, you can use a blade (an aquarium razor blade for glass tanks; or a plastic blade for acrylic aquariums) to carefully remove the rest.
Now, it’s time to deal with the decorations. Remove artificial plants, decorations and large rocks that have significant algae growth. You can do this in the sink or in your dedicated aquarium maintenance bucket with your algae scrubber and warm water.
Do not use soaps or detergents as they are very difficult to wash off completely and can be fatal to aquatic life.
After scrubbing, if your decoration still looks dirty, you can make a solution of 1 part bleach, 9 parts water and soak all the decorations in it for 15 minutes. Remove from the bleach solution and rinse everything again under running water. When you’re done, let your decor air dry, which will remove any bleach residue. You know they are ready to return to the tank when there is no smell of bleachy chlorine.
How To Repair Aquariums With Silicone Sealant
Next, we need to clean out the gravel – you know, the little rocks in the bottom of your tank. Here’s why: as the tank ages, it accumulates detritus, or the decaying remains of leftover food, fish waste and decaying particles. This detritus is so good that it can be settled among these small rocks without causing health problems for your feathered friends.
A gravel vacuum will be your best friend for this step. This is a device that removes a lot of dust from that dirty aquarium. Gravel vacuums usually consist of a plastic siphon attached to a length of tubing. All you have to do is submerge the siphon in the water to create suction that pulls the water from the tank through the tub into your bucket. (If you’ve ever seen fuel pumped out of a gas tank, it’s basically the same process).
How much should you vacuum? It depends on how dirty your tank is. You know your gravel is clean when the water coming out of the siphon is not cloudy and grey/brown.
Is it all over? Do not throw away the bucket, you will use the water that you have drained in the next step.
Aquarium Do’s And Don’ts
Pro tip: If you grow houseplants or have a garden, don’t pour dirty tank water down the drain – use it to water your plants! This nutrient-rich water is essentially a liquid fertilizer and will give your aquarium water a useful second life, while your plants will be very happy.
First, wash the filter pad or sponge in a container full of tank water. (You can use water from your tank.) Using tank water helps keep out the harmful bacteria that keep your water clean. Washing regularly in the sink with tap water kills, or at least disrupts, those good bacteria.
If it is time to go into your filter and replace your filter media, such as carbon, ceramic or other products that make the filter proper, now is a good time to do it.
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