How to clean your Aquarium
Susan Horton, DVM
should you clean your aquarium?
No matter what type of filtration you have, you will need to regularly
clean your aquarium. In a balanced, stable aquarium uneaten food
or fish waste turns into ammonia. “Good” bacteria then convert
these pollutants into non-toxic “nitrates”. Without regular
water changes, the “good” bacteria will not be able to keep up
with the accumulation of uneaten food or fish waste and the
ammonia will quickly reach a dangerous level.
often should you clean your aquarium?
There are many different opinions as to how often a tank needs to be
cleaned. In general, the more often you clean your aquarium, the
healthier your fish will be. In new aquariums (less than 3 months)
we recommend a 1/3 to ˝ water change every two weeks. As the
aquarium becomes older a water change once a month should be
sufficient. We do not recommend you take more than ˝ of the water
out at any one time.
should I clean my aquarium?
always take a minute to monitor your fish. Look for any signs of
illness or stress. Clamped fins, loss of color, lethargy or tiny
white dots (ICH) are all signs of stress. If you see any of these
symptoms, proceed with your water change and consult your pet
store about water testing.
equipment and wait ten minutes for your heater to cool down before
starting to siphon any water out.
During this time
you can clean any algae off the glass so it will be siphoned out.
Always use aquarium-approved products when scraping algae. Many
other products will scratch the glass or could introduce harmful
chemicals into the tank.
Always use a
“gravel cleaner” when siphoning water out of the tank. Never
siphon water off the surface of the aquarium because waste
accumulates at the bottom of the aquarium. By using a gravel
siphon, you will be able to lift up gravel and get rid of the
waste without removing any of the gravel or the fish. If you need
to see a demonstration of how to use a gravel-cleaner, stop into
your pet store and ask for a demonstration.
Siphon the water
into a bucket that is only used for the aquarium to prevent any
type of accidental contamination.
Before dumping the
water out, clean the foam part of your filter in the dirty water.
This way you will not harm the beneficial bacteria growing on the
sponge. Replace any of the other cartridges that need to be
cleansed (carbon should be replaced one a month). If you need to
replace both the carbon and the foam we recommend you do this
three to seven days apart so your filter will keep some of the
Refill the tank one
bucket at a time with tap water. Try to get the temperature close
to the aquarium temperature. Add any water conditioners necessary
into the bucket. Gently pour the water into the aquarium. Repeat,
until the tank is filled. Wait five minutes and plug your
equipment back in.
NEVER USE SOAP OR
ANY HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS ON THE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE OF YOUR TANK.
IF YOUR FILTER
DOESN’T START BACK UP, MAKE SURE THE IMPELLER IS CLEAN OF GRIME.
NEVER CHANGE MORE THAN 50% OF THE WATER AT ANY ONE
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