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A fish tank can be a beautiful piece of living art, a thriving aquatic ecosystem, and a healthy home for swimming friends, but it won’t be any of those things if it is excessively dirty, grimy, or algae-coated. Fortunately, there are many easy tips and tricks to clean your fish tank and keep it in lovely condition for you and your fish.
Why Cleanliness Matters
While cleaning an aquarium is never the most pleasant chore, there are several reasons why it is important to clean your tank regularly and keep it in good condition.
- Health – A dirty tank can harbor bacteria, fungus, viruses, and other threats to your fish. Furthermore, a dirty tank may have an unbalanced pH, and the gasses and nutrients in the water will not be at the optimum levels for the health of the tank’s residents.
- Function – When a fish tank is filled with floating debris and excess waste, the filter, pump, and other essential mechanisms can become clogged and sluggish. When this equipment stops working, the environment will be dangerous, even deadly, for the fish.
- Viewing – A fish tank is not nearly as enjoyable if it has murky, dirty water and its walls are coated with slime and algae. It can become difficult to see the colors of plants and fish, and a very dirty tank may even put off foul, unpleasant odors.
10 Easy Ways to Keep Your Fish Tank Clean
It doesn’t have to be hard to keep a fish tank clean and fresh, and there are many different ways you can keep your tank in good condition.
- Use the Right Size Tank First, be sure your tank is the proper size for the fish you keep. If your tank is too small, the fish will be stressed and the tank will get dirty much faster. Your tank should not be overly large, however, or the fish will be uncomfortable and it will be much more space to keep clean.
- Choose the Best Filter Your tank’s filter will keep the water clean as it screens out debris and waste. Choose the proper filter size and strength for your tank setup, and buy the best option your budget can afford. A filter with chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration elements will be best.
- Feed Your Fish Appropriately Offer your fish the highest quality food so their digestion will be more efficient, and only feed them the proper amount of food on a strict schedule. Any food uneaten after 5-10 minutes should be strained out and removed so it does not foul the tank.
- Change the Water Regularly Slight water changes on a regular schedule can help keep your tank clean by removing dirty, spent water and replacing it with clean water. To keep the tank balanced and your fish comfortable, only change 10-20 percent of the water every 2-3 weeks.
- Welcome a Cleanup Crew Add a natural cleaner to your tank when you welcome a resident snail, oyster, or shrimp to your aquatic habitat. Some species of fish will also nibble algae and help keep the tank clean. Keep several of these residents in the tank to help keep it tidy and fresh.
- Scrape the Glass Algae can easily be removed from the sides of your tank with a simple scraper or razor blade. Scrape the sides regularly to keep algae growth to a minimum and you’ll more easily be able to see all the colors and details of your tank.
- Trim Plants Live plants can be beautiful and functional accents in your fish tank, providing places for bashful fish to hide and offering a natural source of nutrition. If you notice any leaves or grasses turning brown or decaying, however, trim those dead bits away to keep the tank clean.
- Clean Props Props such as rocks, logs, castles, sunken ships, and other accents can add a bit of structure and whimsy to your tank, but they don’t look nearly as nice if they’re covered with algae. Rinse them with hot water and wipe them off to remove algae buildup and keep them clean.
- Vacuum the Gravel Fish feces, shed scales, uneaten food, dead bits of plants, and other debris will settle to the bottom of your tank. Vacuuming the gravel every week will remove much of this debris and refresh the tank, brightening the gravel and keeping the tank healthier.
- Clean the Outside Even if the interior of your tank is pristine, it might seem dirty if the outside of the glass is coated with dust and fingerprints. Clean the outside of the glass regularly, but be sure you don’t contaminate the water with glass cleaner or other chemicals.
The Most Important Tip of All
The very best, easiest way to keep your fish tank clean is to keep up on the task. Doing a little cleaning every day will be easier than waiting until the entire tank needs a deep cleaning, and even if you miss a day now and then, the tank will still be reasonably clean and easy to enjoy. By keeping your tank clean both you and your fish will enjoy it more, and it will be a healthier, more pleasing environment where every resident will thrive.