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Sunday, October 17, 2010

How To Clean A Freshwater Aquarium And Make It Last Longer Between Cleanings

Cleaning aquariums is a daunting task in the aquarist field but it is a must to keep fish alive.

If your aquariumlooks likes the one on the right, it is time to clean it!

Here are some tips on how to make each aquarium cleaning last just a little longer so you don't have to clean your aquarium as often:

1) Remove all the fish from the aquarium. The water will get cloudy and it makes it difficult for the fish to breathe and swim in the water. It also creates stress for the fish to be in a messy and disturbed environment.

You can place them in a bucket in the meanwhile. If it is cold, you may want to place a heater in the bucket so that the water doesn't get too cold. You will want to fill the bucket with water from the aquarium.

2) Each time you clean your aquarium, clean it thoroughly.
a) Clean the gravel with a gravel vacuum. Your gravel vacuum will remove water while it is cleaning your aquarium. I recommend doing a 25-33% water change every time you clean the aquarium. The messier it is, the more you water you will want to take out while not exceeding the 33% for a normal aquarium cleaning.

b) Take all plants out and scrub them down with an algae pad.

c) Take out any and all aquarium decorations and use a small brush to clean out the little crevices.

d) Clean the glass off with a magnetic cleaner or an algae pad. Make sure to get all the residue off the glass.

You may use Salt to clean your aquarium and/or aquarium decorations; Salt is a natural abrasive and will not harm the fish if you use it on these items.

3) Now that you have cleaned everything, place the plants and aquarium decorations back into the aquarium however you wish.

4) Fill the water back up to the top of the aquarium. The water may appear cloudy for a while after cleaning the aquarium  but if you have proper filtration, it should take around an hour to an hour and a half to clear. 

If you are unsure if you have adequate filtration,please check out my blog: What To Do About A Cloudy Fish Tank

If your water still appears cloudy after a couple of days after cleaning the aquarium, please check out this blog: How To Get Rid Of Cloudy Water In Your Aquarium

5) Before you add the fish back into the aquarium you need to add the necessary chemicals to make the water safe for the fish to return to. The chemicals you need to add are: water conditioner, Amquel +, Salt or stress coat, and nitraban. Nitraban helps collect particles in the water and reduce the amount of water changes as well.

6) Give your aquarium about an hour to clear up. Most of the debris should be cleared up within that time frame.

7) Don't change your filter cartridge until after you have completed the previous and have replaced everything back into the aquarium. Now that the water has cleared up, change your filter cartridge. By changing it after the water has cleared, you get a little more usage out of the newly installed filter cartridge.

8) Now it is safe to add your fish back into the aquarium. Your fish can now enjoy a newly cleaned environment.

If you have questions or need more detailed instructions, please feel free to ask in the comments section of this blog or e-mail me.

Hope this helps!


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