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How do I clean my dirty fish tank ?

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How do I clean my dirty fish tank ?

Post by alexmtl on Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:14 pm

I remember my Dad cleaning out the goldfish bowl. He would scoop the goldfish up and settle him into a little cup as he scrubbed the sides of the bowl clean. The plastic plant was massaged clear of the algae, and viola ! everything sparkly clean and new again.

How do I clean my aquarium when it gets dirty ?

Canada Aquaria hobbyists are here to answer your questions to ageless queries in the aquarium hobby. You may have an aquarium recently set up to be the perfect hearth for the cute pretty fish that you, or your kids, marvelled at in the fish store. What do you do to clean and maintain the aquarium ? After a few weeks, what can you do about the "dirty" look to the tank...
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Re: How do I clean my dirty fish tank ?

Post by alexmtl on Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:54 pm

Cleaning a Dirty Aquarium

As a beginning aquarist, you may ask, how often do I need to clean the tank. Simply, your maintenance schedule should include weekly water changes (25 to 50% depending on the fish), vacuuming gravel (usually done at the same time as the water change as you extract the water through the vacuum), and removing leftover food, decaying plant leaves, and debris. Monthly you should consider trimming the plants back, scraping or cleaning the glass of algae or biofilm, and rinsing out the filter medium.

Depending upon the size of the tank, you have about 30 minutes to an hour each week, and a little more each end of the month as you make the habitat more aesthetically pleasing. Some of these tasks are more essential than others, specifically the water changes. The key to aquarium, and fish health is the water quality.

Each year you should consider a major cleaning where you do a more thorough job and inspection of all components: heater, filters(s), canopy and hoses. The larger the tank, the more stable the water conditions however, the longer the time to stabilize. Consider your aquarium like a living system. The more you take the time each week to care for it, the more beauty and wonder it will present to you. Aquariums are a real joy and return the tranquility and peace that a busy world cannot reciprocate.
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Re: How do I clean my dirty fish tank ?

Post by alexmtl on Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:01 pm

Some people may think aquariums take a lot of time. However the expectation is not unlike most other pets. You still have to change the hamster litter and maintain the bird cage.  

There are no hard and fast rules. Consider yourself an artist who tends to the menagerie of life that can be a beautiful portrait of aquatic life.

You will find a schedule that you can manage. If you are not able to change the water each week, consider replacing a cupful a day or a large water change every few weeks. Whatever you can manage, you can do according to your schedule.
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Re: How do I clean my dirty fish tank ?

Post by alexmtl on Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:12 pm

Water Changes

It is as simple as going to the Dollar store and getting a large plastic pail. Do not use plastics that have held detergent or cleansers as the residue can be poisonous to the water life. A large plastic bucket is the basic tool for water changes. Some aquarists will condition their water (dechlorinate) with store bought conditioners which remove chlorine (or chloramine). Other will let the water stand for a least 48 hours to release the chlorine. Remove at least 15 to 25% water each week and replace with new water.

Vacuuming

You can buy water vacuums at the LFS (local fish store). These are siphons which clean the gravel and remove water at the same time. As you suck up the gravel the dirt and debris in the gravel is removed with the water into the waste bucket. Replenish the water removed with fresh clean water. Tidy up any displaced ornaments or plants.

Removing Algae
Algae forms when there is too much light or too much food (excess nitrogen). If you reduce the amount of food or light you can make your job or algae removal more manageable. Removing algae from the glass can be done by using the magnets that you can purchase at the LFS. For me, I use old credit cards and get my whole arms wet, but others may prefer the easier magnet scraper. Start by rubbing downwards in an even slow motion. You can with practice remove algae very efficiently in a few strokes once you get the feel of the scraper.
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