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It is crucial for the health and wellbeing of your fish that you keep your fish tank spotlessly clean and the water pure and balanced. Fish tank water is a living environment, full of fish, bacteria and other living organisms. However, the tank will need to be cleaned regularly to ensure that environment is safe and healthy for your fish.
How do you properly clean a fish tank?
First make sure your hands and arms (up to the elbows) are free from dirt, soap, residue or lotion of any kind. Unplug any filters and lights and begin by cleaning all the external components (glass, doors, etc.) and removing and cleaning any toys and artificial plants and rocks. Use a manual substrate vacuum (or siphon) to gently remove debris and residue from between the tank gravel. Remove and rinse the fish tank’s filter media in the bucket of collected water from your tank. Be very careful of using tap water, as any chlorine in fresh tap water can eliminate the good bacteria from the filter media. The waste water from cleaning your tank will be full of nitrates, which, when poured into your garden, can make for wonderful fertiliser.
When refilling your tank, first pour tap water into a bucket, get it to the same temperature as your tank’s water and then add a dechlorinator (like bone charcoal) to prepare the water to go back into your fish tank. Be sure to rinse all of your tank décor in this water as well to neutralise it. Add the treated water to your fish tank. Replace the filter and pour some water over it to prime it. Reconnect the filter, lights, and replace any doors and covers that were removed prior to cleaning.
Check that everything is functioning properly and that your fish are happy.
How often should a fish tank be cleaned?
The number of fish in your tank and the amount of fish poop they produce should determine this, but don’t leave the fish tank for longer than two weeks before you spend the necessary time and energy cleaning it. Waste materials and bacteria can build up in the tank, creating an unhealthy environment for your fishy friends. Regular tank cleaning will ensure they stay healthy and happy and just keep swimming!