How to Thoroughly Clean my Fish Tank Aquarium. By Lev Ingman

How to Thoroughly Clean my Fish Tank Aquarium. By Lev Ingman

In the long run, the most important thing that aquariums need is proper maintenance. The frequency that maintenance should be done is dependent on several factors. These factors are:

  1. The size of the tank
  2. The size and type of filtration and the frequency with which you clean the filtration
  3. The number, type, and size of fish
  4. The amount of food that you feed
  5. The amount of time that your lights are on, and the amount of direct light that the tank is exposed to
  6. The regularity with which you perform service, and the quality of the routine maintenance

The larger a tank is, the less susceptible it will be to fluctuations, and the easier it will be to care for. A twenty gallon tank that is stocked with fish is much more susceptible to rapid fluctuation that a two hundred gallon tank simply because a larger quantity of water can distribute changes over a large volume.

The more filtration you have, the less often you will need to do major maintenance. Doing minor maintenance to the filtration will also help reduce the need for major maintenance. For example if you were to change your filter pads every week this would help trap more waste and reduce the amount of organic matter that dissolves in your water. If you clean your protein skimmer regularly, it will remove more waste from the tank. If you change your chemical filtration more frequently it will also absorb more organic waste from your tank. Generally the more filtration the better, and the more often you do minor maintenance the better.

A tank full of puffers will get dirtier faster than a tank full of tetras. This is because puffers are much messier eaters (They will chew on something, spit it out, chew on it again). To many peoples surprise, goldfish are another example of a very dirty fish that creates a lot of waste very quickly. If you stock a tank with lots of fish, you will need to do major maintenance more often, especially if they are large messy fish.

If you feed too much, the leftover food will dissolve and reduce your water quality. Only feed as much as your fish can eat in 1-2 minutes and try not to have too much food land on the bottom. It is better to feed less twice a day than to feed a lot once a day and have leftovers floating around.

If you are not home, do not leave your lights on. Fish do not need the lights on for more than a few hours a day, so do not worry about it. Lights make algae grow so minimize them. Do not put your tank in direct sunlight because you will get algae problems.

Be consistent with your maintenance. If you do not do a water change for six months, you cannot just do one huge water change and expect for everything to be better. You have to play catch up to make up for all the water changes you missed, and this is very stressful on your fish. Clean your filter pads regularly, change your carbon, clean your skimmer, vacuum your sump and your gravel and do all the little things because it will reduce the amount of work you have to do in the long run.

In regards to major service, you should do between 10%-30% water changes either weekly of bimonthly. If you have a reef tank or a discus tank you are better off doing weekly 10% water changes. Smaller more frequent water changes are generally better, but often times it is difficult to do this every week. Most people do a 20%-30% water change every two weeks. You should also vacuum or stir your gravel and siphon debris, poop, and other waste out of your tank. Keep an eye on your nitrate levels because it will give you a good idea of how often and how large of a change to do. The higher your nitrate is the more of a water change you will need to do. Now if you do not do a water change for 6 months do not do an 80% change and expect your nitrates to go away. You many actually end up killing your fish from stress. You have to catch up by doing 20% every week until the nitrates go down. Slowly reduce the waste levels down to normal and everything will be happy!



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