Cleaning Your Fish Tank Properly.

How To Properly Clean Your Home Aquarium.

The most neglected part of the aquarium hobby has got to be cleaning the tank itself. No one wants to do this, not even the most dedicated fish keeper, but it needs to be done.

Set yourself a schedule of routine cleaning and stick to it, your fish will be healthier and your tank will be more in balance preventing algae buildup and other problems.

Cleaning really isn't that difficult when you have the right cleaning gear. While this may seem like alot of supplies most of it is very cheap at a hardware store. In fact only the algae scraper, blade scraper, and algae magnet will be found at an aquarium store:

  • Long handled algae scraper and pad
  • Long handled metal blade scraper
  • Plastic siphoning tube (any plastic tube will work from hardware store)
  • A bucket which is only used for aquarium purposes
  • White vinegar(this is non toxic to aquatic life)
  • Clean dishcloth
  • Paper toweling
  • Filter brushes
  • Filter pipe brushes
  • Algae magnet
  • Sterilizing tablets
  • An old toothbrush

Setting up a cleaning schedule is very important. The algae magnet should be run across the viewable glass once every day or two. An algae magnet adheres to both sides of the glass can can easily be run across the glass panel from the outside to clean the inside of the glass pane. This takes a mear ten seconds and algae buildup on the viewing panel can distract from your beautiful tank and can be difficult to remove once it accumulates.

Other tank cleaning can be done once every week or two most aptly at the same time you might do a partial water change that way a great deal of the particles that cleaning might dust up can be removed with the water change.

Use the scraper to clean the back glass, often it is just a matter of reversing the scraper so that the pad side is showing. For a real good cleaning use the toothbrush for difficult areas that the scraper can’t reach.

Vacuum the detritus and other particles out of the gravel. This can be done with just a plastic siphon tube make sure the tube diameter isn't so large that it builds up enough suction to suck up the gravel itself. This will remove any uneaten food or rotting vegetation before it starts to spoil the tank water.

Whatever filter you are using will need to be rinsed on during cleaning as well. If you have a large canister filter you can defer this to every three or so times you clean your tank but the popular trickle filter sponges need to be cleaned every time. Whenever you rinse out the filter sponge or other filter media do not rinse it in tap water. Rinse all filter media with excess tank water from your water change tap water will kill the bacteria in the filter that actually does most of the filtering.

A part of cleaning that is overlooked is the hood and lights. Filters and other circulation pumps splash water on lights and equipment above the tank, this water evaporates and leaves a residue behind that blocks light and looks dirty. Clean these with a damp cloth and white vinegar that will not harm your livestock.

Over a period of time you may find that your tank ornaments will have built up a coating of algae or debris. To clean these, either brush them or simply remove them from the tank and rinse off the debris and algae.

Now you must clean the outside of the tank and the stand. This can be cleaned with ordinary household cleaners but I don't recommend that. If any of these cleaners accidentally makes it into the water it could contaminate the whole tank. Usually using the a paper towel with white vinegar is more than enough to clean these surfaces but if you need the extra cleaning power of standard cleaners in some spots be very very careful.

The tank is now clean, your tank looks better and your fish are healthier. Your not quite finished however, rinse your utensils and store them somewhere where they wont get contaminated with any other cleaners.