Regular fish cleaning helps keep the fish healthy. According to Colorado State University’s Hospital for Veterinary Medicine Education, uneaten fish, fish feces, and plant debris produce ammonia, which is toxic to fish. Aquarium bacteria convert ammonia into another toxic chemical called nitrite. Reduce harmful chemicals by removing waste and debris, regularly replacing a portion of your fish tank water, and deep cleaning on a timely schedule.
Removal of waste and debris
Use a small net to remove uneaten fish food, fish feces, and plant debris that collect on the gravel at the bottom of the fish tank. The Humane Society of the United States says that you should dispose of waste and debris every day.
Algae grows on the walls of the tanks, making them unsightly. Scrape algae off the walls every one to two weeks before you replace the fish tank water. Use a special algae scraper, which will not damage the glass.
Gravel cleaning and water change
The best time to clean aquarium gravel is before changing the water. The Humane Society says you should change part of the fish tank water every one to two weeks, or when the water looks cloudy. It is a multi-step process:
- Prepare the replacement water before status clean fresh water for two to three days until the chlorine inside the water evaporates. Prepare a volume that is just over 20 percent of the capacity of your fuel tank. You can speed up the process by adding dechlorination tablets or liquid to the water. No matter how you remove the chlorine, make sure that the replacement water is the same temperature as the water in the fish tank.
- Carefully remove about 20 percent of the fish tank water, using a special aquarium filter siphon, pitcher or other container.
- Clean gravel with a gravel vacuum. Gently push the vacuum into the gravel and lift it up so the gravel sinks to the bottom but debris and waste is sucked out.
- Pour the alternate water into the tank slowly.
Filters help keep your fish tank clean, but they also need to clean themselves. Some filters contain disposable cartridges. Other filters have permanent fittings, such as sponges, roller wheels or ceramic pasta.
Fish Channel.com recommends replacing one disposable cartridge at a time with dual cartridge filters. Replace activated carbon cartridges and filter pad sheets. After two weeks, replace the filter plate. In another two weeks, replace the carbon cartridge and flush the filter plate again.
The ASPCA says you should clean filters every month. Rinse the permanent filter fittings under clean, cool, running water, as necessary.
Fish plants need pruning when they grow large. You can prune the plants with scissors or clean pruning shears. Toss the leaves and remove them from the water so they don’t decompose and create ammonia.