How to Clean a Fish Tank
Even if you have the most powerful filter in the world, water changes are still a requirement. (Personally, we change our water every 3 weeks). Here are step by step instructions on how to clean a fish tank:
1. Unplug the heater and filter. If using an air pump, unplug and remove the air stone from the water.
2. Remove large ornaments and plastic plants. Lift slowly as not to stir up the fish waste underneath. Important note – if you have live plants, never remove them as you will disturb root growth.
3. Rub the inside of the glass with an algae scrubber or clean facecloth. Slow, light circular motion works best. Although the glass is tempered and can resist pressure, you don’t want to challenge the strength by pressing too hard!
4. Using a gravel siphon, remove 25% of the water into a large bucket. To be more specific, move the siphon end through the gravel in a twisting and circling motion. This will further enhance the vortex sucking up the detritus on the bottom. If the gravel layer is thick, make sure to dig past the top layer retrieving tiny particles that get wedged deep down.
5. Rinse the filter pad and rub off algae growth on the ornaments inside the bucket of fish water you just removed from the aquarium.
6. Place filter cartridge/media and ornaments back into the tank and filter respectively.
7. Empty the fish water bucket into the bathtub. Fill the bucket with tap water. Move the thermometer from the aquarium into the bucket and adjust the water temperature accordingly to match the temperature of the aquarium.
8. Add water conditioner and aquarium salt according to the direction on each package. If your aquarium is still in it’s cycling period (first 3-4 months) add living bacteria supplement too.
9. Swirl your hand in a circular motion inside the bucket to help the salt dissolve quickly. Avoid dumping salt right into the aquarium, it can cause haywire in the internal organs if ingested. This is why it’s important to dissolve it first.
10. Fill the aquarium back up slowly. I like to use a water jug, it’s easier to lift then a big bucket and prevents spills.
11. If using a power filter (the kind that hangs on the glass) fill it up with water.
12. Plug in the heater and filter and arrange ornaments to your liking. Keep the lights off for a few hours, darkness is calming for your aquatic inhabitants as they adjust from the stress of the water change.