Keeping a sparkling clean aquarium with magnificent fishes swimming inside is like decorating the house with a miniature ocean.
The colorful corals and beautiful plants add a touch of aquatic elegance to your room. Besides, it’s always soothing to gaze at the lively fishes playing in the water.
If you want to preserve this amazing condition of your aquarium, then there is no alternative to cleaning. That’s because the fish tank gets dirty over time with murky water, overgrown algae, floating filth, and the buildup of nitrates and metabolites.
With our “how to keep a fish tank clean” guide, cleaning your fish tank will feel like a cakewalk!
How To Keep A Fish Tank Clean – Know Step By Step
1. Make Sure The Nitrogen Cycle Is Healthy
Every fish tank needs to have a healthy Nitrogen cycle. It refers to the process of converting ammonia into Nitrate using beneficial bacteria.
Aquarium wastes release toxic ammonia into the water, creating an environment in which the fishes cannot survive.
Having a healthy Nitrogen cycle will ensure the toxic wastes transform into much less harmful Nitrate so that your fishes get to breathe and swim freely without dying!
The best way of cycling a fish tank is by adding ammonia into an empty aquarium to allow bacteria colonies to grow before adding the fishes. While Nitrate isn’t quite as harmful, you’d still have to keep its level to a minimum. It can have an adverse effect on the aquatic creatures if the concentration exceeds 40 mg/l.
2. Use A Proper Filter
If you want to keep your fishes alive by removing harmful substances, using a proper filter is necessary. In fact, you should make sure to keep a high-quality filter stay on the fish tank almost all the time.
A filter that offers the combined functionalities of chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration systems will be perfect for getting the best results. It can even improve the Nitrogen cycle by producing Nitrite from harmful ammonia.
After installing the right filter, you should regularly check the filtration system to make sure everything is in order. It’s a good idea to keep the filter clean as well.
3. Change The Water Regularly
When keeping fish tanks, you will have to make sure to change the water periodically. The water slowly but surely gets contaminated with the accumulation of various filth, making it appear dirty. It will feel like housing a swamp instead of a miniature ocean which isn’t all that appealing.
Dirty water is harmful to the fishes as well. Ideally, the water should be changed once or twice a week. You should remember that you’d have to change only 20-30 percent of the water. Changing everything will make the environment too unfavorable for the fishes.
Furthermore, you must allow the water to sit for at least 48-72 hours before adding it to your aquarium.
4. Feed Your Fish Correctly
We get it, you love your fishes but overfeeding them is never the right way of showing affection! You can end up killing your precious pets that way. They won’t be able to eat everything, so there will be a lot more leftover which can block the filters.
Moreover, the decayed food bits can make the water unsanitary and promote algae growth. Your tank will get dirtier quickly as there will be more feces caused by overfeeding. That means more cleaning for you.
So, you should limit how much you feed your fish and make sure to use high-quality food for them.
5. Regularly Test Aquarium Water
It’s vital for the water composition to be safe for the fishes so that they can survive and flourish. That’s why you should regularly test the water to make sure everything is at the optimum level. The most important parameters of testing water composition are Nitrates, Nitrites, pH, and of course, Ammonia.
At any given time, the amount of Ammonia and Nitrite must be zero in your fish tank. That’s because they are extremely dangerous for fishes. The amount of Nitrate should be below 40mg/l. If you change the water regularly, you won’t have to worry about testing the Nitrate level as much.
6. Maintain Low Fish Density
It’s nice to have an aquarium lively with lots of fishes swimming around, but you should never overflow the tank with too many fishes. It can have a negative effect on the environment for several reasons.
Fishes love to swim, but they won’t get to do that if there isn’t enough room. The species of fishes that move in schools will need more room for swimming. Furthermore, just like any other living beings, fishes grow bigger over time and take more space later.
Some fishes tend to claim territories and become aggressive to others in order to defend their areas. So, you’d have to give them enough room to allow them to act naturally. Stuffing too many fishes in a small aquarium will only shorten the lifespan of your aquatic creatures.
7. Keep Bottom-Feeders & Algae-Eaters
If you’re having trouble controlling the growth of algae, then it’s time to change your strategy and bring in bottom-feeders and algae-eaters. Snails and some fish species love to munch on these aquatic organisms.
The bottom-feeders will make sure to eat any food that fell to the bottom of the fish tank to keep the floor clean. Make sure to choose the right species of algae-eater by checking what kind of algae you’ve got growing inside your tank. They will help with your problem in addition to making your aquarium more diverse.
8. Perform Fish Tank Cleaning
The fish tank itself deserves to be cleaned every once in a while. A little bit of elbow grease will be super useful in cleaning the tank. Algae has a way of reaching every space. You can use a scraper to remove the excess spread of Algae from the glass to make it appear cleaner.
With a vacuum cleaner, you’d be able to easily get rid of the debris from the gravel on the bottom. Get rid of the dead leaves from the plants you’ve got inside your aquarium. You will find algae on the decorative items and props, so scrape them off as well.
The exterior of the fish tank also needs cleaning. It will be easier to clean the outer glass using a streak-free cleaner. Once you remove all the dust and fingerprints, the aquarium will look much better for sure.
Tips: How Often Should I Clean My Fish Tank?
Well, the answer depends on a number of factors. The ideal cleaning frequency can be decided upon by inspecting the size of the tank, the number of fishes and their types, and how messy the tank gets.
So, you’d have to check to find out how often you should clean your fish tank. Some people clean their aquariums once every week, while others are content with cleaning once a month or even longer.
For instance, if you’ve got a larger tank, you won’t have to do the cleaning as often. However, if your tank is small with lots of fish, then you’ll have to clean more frequently.
9. Have Live Plants
Life plants can be exceptionally beneficial for your aquarium. They don’t just make your tank more attractive; they also make the environment much healthier for the fishes.
For starters, live plants are a great source of natural food for your aquarium inhabitants. Moreover, they release oxygen into the ecosystem while absorbing carbon dioxide and ammonia, improving the water quality in the process. Besides, they also play a significant role in minimizing algae growth by competing for nutrients with them.
Make sure to choose true aquatic species of plants to get the best results. They also have to suitable for the environment of your fish tank. Plants like Sword Plants, Moneywort, Sagittaria, etc., can be a great addition to aquariums.
10. Take Care Of Aquarium Equipment
Your aquarium requires a lot of equipment to stay functional, like heaters, lighting, filters, etc. They need to be properly maintained in order to keep your fish tank running.
The heater keeps the water warm. You can tell whether it’s working or not just by checking the water temperature. Any unexpected change in the water composition will tell you that there is something wrong with the water filtration system.
Be sure to regularly test the equipment to make sure they’re all working flawlessly. Whenever you discover a problem, you should be quick to fix it.
The purpose of cleaning a fish tank isn’t only for making it look great; it’s also necessary for keeping the fishes healthy and energetic. The cleaning process doesn’t have to be all that difficult if you adhere to the right techniques.
And since now you’ve learned how to keep a fish tank clean from our guide, it shouldn’t be a problem for you.
So, follow our tips, and you will be able to keep your precious fish tank in pristine condition with ease.