Fish tanks are fragile ecosystems that can easily become toxic if not taken care of properly. It is not only important to keep your fish tank clean to maintain a healthy living environment for your fish but to help reduce that “funky” smell often associated with an uncleanly tank. So let’s talk about how you can clean your fish tank the right way. These steps are compatible with both cold water and tropical tanks.
Change the Water
Ideally, you should be cleaning and replacing at least 20% of tank water every two weeks. To begin, turn off all pumps, filter systems, lights, and heaters. You can use a gravel cleaner as a pump to create a suction that filters out dirty water into a bucket. Replace with tepid tap water that has been pretreated with water de-chlorinator and live bacteria. Live bacteria can be found in liquid form to be easily poured into the tank. This helps regulate the water and give it what it needs to help decompose fish waste.
Tip: When cleaning the water avoid removing fish from the tank. This can cause them stress and they might become ill.
Clean the Gravel
There are many tools to help you clean the inside of your fish tank. A gravel cleaner, for instance, will remove debris from the gravel at the bottom of the tank. It uses the same suction as you used when removing the water to lift the gravel into its funnel to clean then deposits it back to the floor of the tank. Use a magnetic algae scraper to wipe away built-up algae on the sides of the tank.
Clean the Filter
Your fish tank’s filter should be cleaned each time you replace the water. Rinse the filter out in the bucket of water you removed from the tank. Never clean the filter out under tap water, it will rid the filter of the good bacteria it needs to maintain the chemical balance of the tank.
You now have a clean tank and happy fish!