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Fish Tank Forum • View topic - Cleaning your fish tank
Page 1 of 4

Cleaning your fish tank

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:33 pm
by Mick
Regular cleaning of your aquarium is a task th at many keepers seem to finds a chore, personally speaking it is part of the hobby that I enjoy and when done on a regular basis, the sight of a gleaming tank makes it all worthwhile. Keeping your tank clean and the filters will keep your fish healthy and prevent a lot of hard work in the future dealing with problems that could have been avoided in the first place.
There are plenty of cleaning aids available to purchase making life a lot easier so have a look around to see which items could be useful for you.
Here is a list of cleaning items that I use :-
Long Handled Algae scraper with a scratch free coarse pad on the reverse
Long handled blade scraper ( never use this with acrylic tanks)
Siphoning tubes
A bucket purposely used for cleaning and nothing else
White Vinegar
Dishcloth
Paper Towelling
Filter brushes
Filter Pipe Brushes
Gravel Vacuum
Floating Algae Magnet
Sterilizing tablets
An old Toothbrush

Sounds like a lot of gear but beleive me over a period of time they all get used for one job or another.

Cleaning starts even before anything is added to the tank. With all new tanks there is a layer of fine dust that can contaminate the water when it has been filled.Even the protective packaging can add dust to a new tank so its best to give the tank a thorough cleaning before use. I always fill my new tanks outside to check for leaks so while you are doing this why not clean it at the same time. Hence the sterilising tablets, they will completely clean the glass and once rinsed thoroughly all of the dust particles should also be removed. This is also an important step if you are setting up a second hand tank, how can you guarantee what has been added to the tank by a previous keeper.

Once your tank is up and running you need to set up a cleaning schedule that you need to stick to.When the tank is first set up it may seem like a never ending job removing the algae but it does get easier as the tank matures and the algal colonisation decreases. Always try to do a major tank clean just before a water change, the cleaning process will leave suspended particles in the water and rather than clogging the filters up, most will be removed by the change.

Every other day I clean the tank front and sides with the magnet cleaner, doing this on a regular basis prevents any algal build up from bcoming hard on the glass making it difficult to remove. Any stubborn alage can be removed by the long handled scapers. On a weekly basis I use the scrapers on the back glass and for the awkward spots out comes the old toothbrush, a magic little tool.

The gravel needs to be vacuumed at least once a week to remove detritus that has built up from the fish waste or decaying food, this is one task never to be missed. If using internal filters I like to rinse the sponges at least once a week and remember the golden rule

Never rinse out the sponges in tap water, always use old tank water to preserve the bacterial colonies!!!

If you are using the larger canister filters then th ey will need cleaning out every couple of months, rinse the sponges and check the pipework for build ups. While the canister lid is off I also clean the motor impellor inside the lid, keeping this clean will keep your filter pumping the water efficiently.
The lighting system gets a weekly clean with a damp dishcloth. This part is often forgotten about, wipe the tubes to remove any dust and also the perspex cover if one is fitted.
Once you are happy that the indide of the tank is clean its time to look at the outside. Run your dampcloth around the rim of the tank to remove dust and for the front of the glass I love the old fashioned method for cleaning the glass, white vinegar and paper towelling, it leaves a lovely sparkle and there is no chance of contaminating the water with commercial cleaners.

Re: Cleaning your fish tank

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:56 pm
by crazywife
Great information Mick. I wanted to add a little something about cleaning multiple tanks.

If you have more than one tank that you clean, make sure that you clean your equipment between tanks. You can spread bad bacteria and diseases like Ick(white spot) when you move from tank to tank.

Re: Cleaning your fish tank

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:28 pm
by Mick
Excellent point to add :thu:

Re: Cleaning your fish tank

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:45 pm
by Seahawk7356
Very good guide.
Has helped me out quite a bit.
Thanks! :P

Re: Cleaning your fish tank

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:15 am
by Mick
Thats what we are here for, and ask away if you have any questions about fish keeping we all started somewhere

Re: Cleaning your fish tank

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:13 pm
by xbeckieboox
anyone got tips for removing stubbon algae from much loved aquarium ornaments, i generally use a toothbrush but sometimes i cant get in the hard to reach places, ive seen stuff for sale but i dont really want to risk losing fish for the sake of algae.

Re: Cleaning your fish tank

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:20 pm
by Mick
You still can't beat elbow grease, I used to scrub them daily until they were clear as you can't get it all off in one session

Re: Cleaning your fish tank

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:35 am
by Seahawk7356
Why do you use white vinegar?
I'm just curious, I know that you can't use any cleaners cause they are toxic to fish.
But, why white vinegar? :book:

Re: Cleaning your fish tank

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:41 am
by Mick
white vinegar is used because it is pure and distilled, malt vinegar contains various additives that can upset your tank water if it came into contact with it

Re: Cleaning your fish tank

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:10 pm
by malakye
You are still better to rinse until all traces and smells of vinegar are gone, then rinse again a few extra times just to be sure.