How To Clean And Maintain A Fish Tank

How To Clean And Maintain A Fish Tank

This film will show you the basics of keeping your fish tank clean and healthy, including cleaning the aquarium filter and the gravel.

Step 1: You will need

  • an aquarium
  • a plastic gravel cleaner
  • a magnetic algae scraper
  • a bucket
  • water dechlorinator
  • aquarium bacteria
  • aquarium bacteria
  • a water testing kit

Step 2: Water removal and gravel cleaning

You should replace 20% of the water in your tank approximately every two weeks. You can do this at the same time as cleaning the gravel, by using a plastic gravel cleaner with a hose attached. Start by shaking the gravel cleaner up and down in the water to create a flow of water from the tank into a bucket. Suck up a small amount of gravel at a time into the gravel cleaner. Debris will be sucked out into the bucket, but the gravel will just fall back into place. You can control the flow of water by placing your finger over the end of the hose. Stop when you have removed about a fifth of the water from the tank.

Step 3: Filter cleaning

Ideally you should also clean or replace the filter medium in your tank's filter every time you do a water change. The filter medium is usually a sponge, which you should rinse out in the bucket of water you have removed from the tank. Never clean it under tap water, as this will kill the bacteria in it. Your aquarium requires a certain amount of live bacteria to process the fish's waste.

Step 4: Algae cleaning

If any algae has grown on the inside of your tank, use a magnetic algae scraper to remove it. Attach the magnets to either side of the glass, and slowly scrape the inside of the tank. This will loosen the algae, which will then be filtered out of the water by your filtering system. Do this while you still have 20% of the water removed to prevent spillage.

Step 5: Water replacement

Your tank should now be topped up with clean tap water. Pour this into a bucket first and add some dechlorinator to make the water safe for your fish. Slowly pour it into the fish tank up to the fill line. Add some live bacteria to the water to replace the bacteria which has been removed. Aquarium bacteria comes in liquid form so it can simply be poured into the tank. You can now put the tank's lid back on and turn the filter and light on.

Step 6: Water chemistry

Aquarium fish require specific water conditions in order to survive and flourish. The levels of chemicals like ammonia and nitrate must be controlled in your tank. You can either test these levels yourself with a home test kit, or take a water sample to your fish retailer for testing. If necessary, the water chemistry can be altered by adding chemicals to the tank. It is also vital that bacteria levels in your aquarium are maintained, as the health of your fish depends on them.

Good tank maintenance will keep your aquarium healthy for years to come. With regular cleaning and water changes, it shouldn't ever be necessary to empty the tank for cleaning. Happy fish-keeping!