Cleaning an aquarium can be an easy and difficult task altogether; it all depends on the size. If you are a beginner, you may be tempted to think that it is easier to clean a small aquarium than a larger one. This assumption is incorrect.
The larger the aquarium, the easier it is to clean. This article is going to tell you everything that you need to know about cleaning your aquarium. You should know that for healthy fish, it is imperative that you regularly clean your aquarium and maintain the conditions optimal.
Before we look at the steps that you should take to clean your aquarium, let’s first look at the importance of cleaning it.
Why it is Necessary to Clean your Aquarium
Three reasons come to mind when talking about reasons for cleaning your aquarium, and they are referred to as the ‘Three Rs’
I. To regulate the cycle of nitrogen
For those who don’t know what the nitrogen cycle is, this is the process through which bacteria converts ammonia to nitrate. Ammonia is harmful to your fish, and so it is very important to convert them to nitrates.
II. To remove dissolved organic compounds
Organic compounds are basically the by products that come when the aquarium is full of regularly fed fish. These organic compounds need to be removed, otherwise they might pose a very big problem to the fish in your aquarium.
III. To replenish important minerals
When fish are in an environment with insufficient minerals, too low or too high, they may experience something known as osmotic shock which could lead to untimely death. Cleaning your fish tank ensures that this isn’t the case and provides your fish with a suitable environment for living and thus a longer life.
Cleaning Your Aquarium In Five Simple Steps
The first step is to gather all the equipment and supplies that you will need. Below is a list of the needed items.
- Siphon Gravel Vacuum
- A piece of cloth
- Water testing kit
- Heater and a powerhead salinity probe
If you own a big aquarium that is too big to move, you will have to siphon water out of the aquarium. This means that you’ll need to have a bucket for carrying the replacement water.
After assembling all the needed items, the next step is to carefully unplug all electrical appliances in your aquarium inclusive of filter, pumps and heaters.
Also, remove large ornaments and decorations. Do this slowly to prevent arousal of debris that are underneath the aquarium. Do not remove live plants so as not interfere with their growth.
2. Removal of Water
The rule or removing water with your aquarium is that you have to replace about 20% of your water every two or three weeks. The siphon gravel vacuum in conjunction with a hose will be used here.
The siphon should suck small amounts of gravel. When it reaches at the tube, the gravel will fall back with the water going to the bucket. Use your thumb to slow down the siphon process.
This step is not only important in removing the water but also cleaning the gravel by removing lots of wastes that may have fallen to the substrate.
3. Removing Algae
The third step is to remove algae found in your aquarium. The simplest way of going about with this process is to use a magnetic algae remover. This equipment consists of two magnets each having a soft covering.
Place one on the inside with the other one you’ll be holding on the outside. Drag the magnet on the outside and thinner one will follow it, dragging with it algae that has stuck on the glass. If your aquarium is constructed using acryl, choose magnets that wont scratch it.
If there are some algae stuck on large decorations that you removed in step two, use a piece of cloth or bristled toothbrush to scrub them off. Don’t use soap in the process as it can be harmful to the fish.
4. Cleaning Your Filter
Next to clean is the fish tank filter. Depending on the quality and type of filter used, you will be required to change the medium in your filter once in a while. One mistake that you shouldn’t do is to run your filter under tap water. This is because it removes the important bacteria present that is useful.
Filters that contain ammonia and carbon absorbers or ion resins will need to be replaced every couple of weeks because the absorbent property will be worn out. Ensure that you clean every part of the filter including the tubes. A filter brush is used here.
Mechanical filters such as filter fibers and ceramic rings need to be rinsed and returned back quickly to prevent the loss of bacteria colonies.
5. Replacing the Water
We are now to the final step; replacing the water. Your aquarium needs a top up of water. Type of water to be added depends on whether you own a freshwater or salty water aquarium.
Fpr fresh water aquariums, it is recommended that you prepare the water in advance, preferably a day before. This is to allow all the chlorine found in the water to evaporate.
Ensure that the temperature and salinity of the water is similar to the previous one to avoid a sudden change in your tank. After all this is done, you can clean the exterior of your tank using a clean piece of cloth for clear visuals.
Cleaning your aquarium shouldn’t be a difficult task. The secret is to have it cleaned regularly. This will ease your job greatly. Moreover, fish are delicate creatures and need special maintenance. Once you’re used to it, you will find it very simple and enjoyable.
Do not forget to prepare your water in advance if you have a fresh water aquarium. This is to ensure that all chlorine has been eliminated. Once you follow the above-provided steps, everything will be okay. You can now enjoy the view and mental benefits associated with aquariums.