How many fish tanks have you noticed where the water is dingy, the glass looks a little green, and you notice a bit of odor around the tank. These are all signs of regular fish tank maintenance is not happening. Luckily regular maintenance is very simple and a job you can handle quickly.
When you buy your first aquarium you should buy your maintenance gear at the same time. If you happened to overlook getting some good cleaning equipment drop back into your pet supply center and pick up these items.
1. Glass Scrubber
2. Aquarium Vacuum
3. Bucket – 5 gallon or larger. (This item can be picked up at any store.)
Here is the bad news about fish tank maintenance. You should do it weekly, at minimum every two weeks. Here is the good news, by maintaining your tank properly the job is fast and easy, your fish and plants survive longer, and you do not waste money on fish medications because your fish are healthy.
The big fear most new hobbyist have is about needing to take out the fish, remove all the gravel and plants, scrub the tank, refill, put the fish back in, and then do it again in a couple weeks. In reality, if you change out around 15 percent of the water weekly, do a general vacuuming, and light cleaning of the glass you will only need to do a full tear down infrequently. The tank will stay clean because you are doing routine fish tank maintenance instead of emergency maintenance.
A full tear down is only called for when conditions start getting out of hand. If you are cleaning the gravel regularly with the vacuum, and only feeding the fish the proper amount, the tank will stay clean for long periods of time.
Let us step down through your three cleaning items and discuss their use.
The glass scrubber is for exactly that purpose. Gently scrub the interior of the glass to remove algae and dirt build-up. If you are doing this weekly you will have very little build-up and the process will be quick.
The bucket is one of the most important portions of your cleaning project. Most vacuum systems are going to suck water out and you need it to go somewhere. Pull the dirt and water from the bottom of the tank, sucking it right out of the gravel. Pull down around 15 to 20 percent of the water. At the same time, you are doing your vacuum, scrubbing, and water replacement makes sure you check the filtration system to make sure it is running smoothly. Replace the filter if it is time.
The only time you should need to remove your fish is when you do a complete water replacement. For these times when you are doing simple tank maintenance simply use caution and allow the fish to move gently out of your way. Fish tank maintenance may not be fun, but it is not difficult either. Routine maintenance keeps the job easy, and your tank spotless.