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What to Know About Cleaning an Aquarium

Did you know that there are over 12 million fish kept as pets in America? That is a lot of fishbowls, tanks, and aquariums that need regular care. Common misconceptions of cleaning these habitats are simply that you switch out water or buy a filter, let it do its job and voila, your fish tank is cleaner.

Cleaning an aquarium is a bigger responsibility than that and what you chose to put into your tank can have an effect, positive or negative, on your fish and their environment. Before you pour in some aquarium cleaner read this quick guide with aquarium tips on how to clean a tank and help your fish friends thrive.

Know Your Minimums

Depending on the size of your tank, the number of fish, and how big they are you may need to clean your tank daily, weekly, and monthly in different ways. Learning what the minimum requirements are for your tank will give you a good starting place. Test levels daily and adjust accordingly.

Keep an eye on your fish and how they are doing. If they seem sluggish or distressed, gulping for air, then something needs to be adjusted.

Once your tank is established and you know how your fish life responds to your tank PH, ammonia, and nitrate levels, you will have a better idea of when your tank needs cleaning.

Remove Impurities

Build-up like algae in the tank should be removed on a regular basis. You may have fish or live phytoplankton that thrive on the algae, but if there’s a big enough imbalance in your tank, it may be more than they can handle.

Use a soft brush to scrub it off of rocks, coral, and any decorations that might have it growing on there. Wipe off aquarium plants with a clean cloth, free of soap or chemicals. Do the same with the lid of your aquarium.

If a fish dies, remove and clean your tank as soon as possible, keeping the impurity level down.


Since uneaten food and fish poop settles into the bottom of the tank, mixing into the gravel, having a gravel vacuum is highly recommended. It gets into the gravel to clean, without stirring up too much debris and negating the need to remove your fish every time you clean.

Cleaning an Aquarium: Do I Need New Water?

Unless a disease outbreak occurs or something is seriously wrong with the levels in your tank, it’s not necessary to replace the water completely. The recommended amount is a 10 to 15 percent change out per week, and if you have a more stocked aquarium you should raise that number.

Topping off the water due to evaporation can cause problems with your tank because adding water doesn’t remove any of the impurities. If you feel you need to add water, then do a water switch out and vacuum.

Happy Tank, Happy Fish

After reading these tips on cleaning an aquarium, start implementing them with a schedule. Your fish will stay healthy, happy and you can be a proud fish owner.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out more like it in our Lifestyle section.


Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is the feature writer of Search Engine Magazine and an SEO Analyst at Real Wealth Business. Over the last 3 years, He has successfully developed and implemented online marketing, SEO, and conversion campaigns for 50+ businesses of all sizes. He is the co-founder of Social Media Magazine.

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