Too much algae, cloudy water, sick fish, that’s not exactly what you expected to happen when you got your aquarium! To prevent this, you need to clean the filter and the fish tank. Tedious and hard work? Not at all if you follow this step-by-step guide!
Step 1: Clean the Inner Glass
Regardless of how clean the water is, if the glass is dirty, you won’t be able to enjoy a lovely aquarium. Therefore, ensure that the algae are scraped off the glass. Apart from that, other materials such as a simple cleaning pad will cause scratches, so be careful! Try an algae scraper or sponge: they are specially made for this purpose.
Step 2: Remove the Water From the Tank
After step 1, pour clean water into the aquarium when you’re done with the inner glass. If not, you will never completely clean the water. Of course, you want to avoid overfilling the tank, so pump out some water first. How much exactly? For a tropical aquarium, drain about 10-20%, but not more than this. For a cold water fish tank, it can be 1/3.
Remember to switch off any electrical appliances like lights or heaters. After all, water and electricity don’t make the best combo. It is particularly crucial to turn off the filter: if the water level is too low, the filter will suck in air. This will cause the filter to form bubbles or overheat.
Step 3: Cleaning the Bottom
The bottom glass can get dirty quickly: food residue, feces, and other debris accumulate between the stones. Luckily, even that is pretty easy to clean with a gravel vacuum cleaner. However, make sure you select the correct size.
Are you unsure about the size? Not only will an oversized cleaner suck dirt, but it will also collect the stones. On the other hand, one which is too small will occupy you for quite a long time. Don’t hesitate to ask a pet shop assistant for advice. They will know better which gravel cleaner is right for your aquarium.
Step 4: Cleaning the Decorations and Caring For The Plants
Debris also settles quickly on the decoration. Scrub them off with an algae cloth or a new soft toothbrush. If needed, remove decorations from the aquarium to make cleaning a little smoother.
The plants also have to be cleaned, trimmed, and/or replaced. Once that’s done, it’s time to introduce freshwater to the aquarium!
Step 5: Cleaning the Outside
That’s it; the inside is finally done. It s time to take a look outside! Thankfully, the outside is super easy to clean: all you need is water and a sponge. Make sure to use a sponge designed explicitly for aquarium glass and not an abrasive one. This will cause scratches!
Should the Filter Be Cleaned Too?
Perhaps you noticed that many step-by-step instructions fail to explain how to clean the filter. Why is that? Well, because it’s best not to clean everything in one go. This will interfere with the aquarium’s water quality. Allow at least a few days for the fish and the water to adjust before cleaning the filter. Besides, there will still be tiny bits of dirt after cleaning that floats in the water. Hence, the filter can also collect this dirt before you wash it.
The outside of the filter can be easily cleaned with a cleaning pad. The inside should also be occasionally cleaned. To do these, place the filter in a water bucket. Open the filter and pull out the medium so that it can be thoroughly washed. Once done, close it and hang it back up.
Do you have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!