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How to clean your aquarium the right way

A dirty aquarium can be an annoyance for any fish owner. However, the process of cleaning a tank is intimidating to some due to all the steps and differing opinions on how you should clean.

To clear up any questions and make it easy for you to manage your tank, here’s how to clean your aquarium the right way.


Manage water quality and algae

You need to test your water once a month to ensure the nitrate levels are below 50 ppm (parts per million. There are plenty of affordable and easy-to-use water testing kits that will show you the level of nitrates in your tank. If you’ve determined that the nitrates are at the correct level, you need to change 30 percent of the water once a week to maintain that balance and not have to do any extreme water changes.

Before you start cleaning, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly to avoid introducing any harmful bacteria into the tank. Then, you can take an algae scraper to remove algae from the tank. If you have any algae on the lid and décor, simply rinse it off and scrub with a toothbrush. Just make sure not to use any harsh cleaning solution because it will contain harmful chemicals.

Note: It’s important to clean your entire fish tank on a consistent schedule in accordance with your water testing.

Vacuum the substrate

Before continuing, shut off all your equipment, as it can become damaged when not running in water. Afterward, make sure all your décor items are out of the tank and vacuum one-third of the substrate. You’ll want to use a siphon for this process, as it’s much easier than using a cup or pitcher, and you’re less likely to stress out your fish or accidentally remove one.

Clean your filter and refill the water

You should clean your filter at least once a month, no matter what type your tank has. This is because filters are like trash cans, and you need to empty them of their waste consistently. However, the cleaning process will look different depending on the type of filter you have. For example, a sponge filter needs to have the foam portion rung out.

Next, you should add clean and fresh water back into your tank. To do this, fill a bucket with the water that’s the same or similar temperature as your tank water should be. Then, put in a dechlorinator as well as any liquid fertilizers you want to add.

Make it shine

After this process, you’ll notice that your tank looks murky from all the debris kicked up. If you turn your equipment back on, everything will clear and settle in around an hour. Lastly, clean the outside of your panels with either acrylic- or glass-safe aquarium cleaner.  

Now that you know how to clean your aquarium the right way, you can have a clean and beautiful tank to show off whenever you want!



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