Fish are great pets. First, they don’t require walks or a lot of attention. Second, they are beautiful! Third, they are incredibly easy to care for compared to other types of pets. However, that doesn’t mean you can overlook them. In addition to feeding your fish once a day, you should also clean their aquarium at least twice a month (if your fish instead lives in a bowl without a filtration system, it will need to be cleaned every week). Over the days, your fish’s waste and food accumulate, which can lead to an unhealthy environment. Fortunately, cleaning an aquarium is not that difficult, no matter what type of aquarium you have.
Here are some tips on how to clean your dirty aquarium to keep your fish happy and healthy.
1. How to maintain your aquarium over the days?
Daily maintenance of the aquarium
Every day, in addition to feeding the fish, you will have to remember to remove the waste with a scoop and to check the water temperature.
Weekly maintenance of the aquarium
Once a week, check the water by testing it to make sure it is not polluted with nitrates or ammonia. Also, take the opportunity to clean the windows and remove the waste at the bottom of the aquarium. Finally, every week it is necessary to change a fifth of the volume of water in the aquarium.
Monthly aquarium maintenance
Every two weeks, or once a month, you will need to clean the aquarium and its components. This can take time, and you have to know how to be organized so as not to harm the fish.
2. Before cleaning your aquarium
The day before the chore of cleaning the aquarium, remember to fill enough containers with tap water, which you will let stand without closing them overnight. This will allow the chlorine in tap water to evaporate. Products specifically designed to neutralize chlorine are also sold in pet stores.
3. The day of cleaning your aquarium
Plan a tank that can contain your fish, and where the water will be at the same temperature as that of your aquarium. This will prevent them from suffering a thermal shock. Once your fish are in the tank, it’s time to unplug the aquarium and its components.
4. The stages of cleaning an aquarium
The cleaning of an aquarium is carried out by following a logical sequence of steps:
- Empty the aquarium: First, remove the decorations, then empty the water, but not completely. You should not change more than 30% of it. Then, using a scoop or small shovel, remove the gravel.
- Clean the windows: To clean the walls, do not use cleaning products or detergents. Indeed, a damp cloth and cotton swabs are sufficient. Scrub the entire glass surface of the aquarium, and use the cotton swabs for the corners.
- Remove algae: If algae and lime have invaded the walls of the aquarium, use a shower squeegee or spatula to remove them.
- Clean the filter: When cleaning the filter, avoid killing the proper strains of bacteria that are present in it, and necessary for the health of the fish. Clean one half of the screen, the other half will be cleaned during the next cleaning. Rinse it under lukewarm running water and wring it out until clean.
- Wash the gravel: To clean the gravel, run it under hot water and drain it well.
- Clean the decorations: Just run them under hot water, but without using chemicals or detergents. If they are filthy, scrub them with a small soft brush.
5. Eliminate algae in an aquarium
If algae do form in your aquarium, take the situation seriously. Start by removing the algae manually or with a shower squeegee if it has stuck to the windows. Then test the water parameters. If necessary, clean the pump and rotor with a toothbrush. You may need to replace 25% of the aquarium water and fast the fish for 3 or 4 days. Fast-growing plants can be added to the tank to reduce the appearance of algae.
6. What if the aquarium water is cloudy?
If your aquarium has recently been installed, wait a few days before taking action, this could be normal, and the situation may recover on its own. Otherwise, try cleaning up decorations and gravel. However, if your aquarium is not new, microscopic algae may have invaded your aquarium. Do proper maintenance, as mentioned above.
7. How to clean a very dirty aquarium?
If you have recovered a very old aquarium and it is clogged with algae and lime, it will practically have to be disinfected with fish in it. Start by emptying it well and removing all its components. Then, fill it with water to which you will add hydrochloric acid and leave to act for 48 hours.
Empty the water, rinse, then fill it again, but this time adding bleach. Leave on for 1 hour. You can take the opportunity to scrape the windows and the bottom with a shower squeegee to remove as many algae as possible.
Empty the aquarium and use a sponge to clean all surfaces thoroughly. You could put a drop of liquid dish soap on your sponge. Then rinse carefully 2 to 3 times to remove detergent residue.
Alternatively, you could also use a steamer to clean the aquarium thoroughly, but without the use of chemicals or detergents. The components of the aquarium, including decorations, could also benefit from a good steam cleaning. Otherwise, just run them under hot water and scrub them with an old toothbrush. Some, if too dirty, will have to be changed for new ones.