One of the main reasons people don’t keeping fish in their house is the fear of having to clean the fish tank (or regular water changes). Thankfully with the use of a few key tools for water changing you can make your weekly aquarium maintenance a pretty simple task. And now, the work is very easy if you know what tools to use and how to handle them.
Some questions about changing aquarium water
Besides feeding your fish, water changing is the other important work of keeping the fish happy and healthy. These water changes are crucial to the well-being of your fish tank and cannot be avoided. Water changes should be done and are a must work regardless of any type of filtration used for the tank.
Why you should do routine water changing?
To remove decaying food and fish waste and prevent the nitrogenous toxic build up over time,
Remove the phosphates, nitrates and other chemicals that cause algae bloom and yellowish water,
Implement minerals and trace elements that are exhausted over time by the use of aquarium lives,
To get rid of the algae on the glass and promote the viewing from your aquarium.
When changing the aquarium water and how much?
You may want to start out slowly, especially if your tank has recently been set up. A few small water changes a week for the first few weeks will accustom your fish to the process and they will be less stressed. Then once your tank is established as well as all of the parameters in your tank are showing good from the test kits, you will only need to change about 25% of the water once a week.
If you begin to notice a lot of debris floating in your tank I would recommend doing a water change that day even if you haven’t made it to the normal water change interval.
Whatever maintenance routine you choose, it is important to do it regularly and keep your tank clean and looking nice. The better you care for and maintain your tank, the more successful you will be in keeping healthy and happy fish. Here are some important steps that you can follow or modify them to fit with your aquarium as you want.
Step 1 – Preparation before water changing
Tools used for aquarium water changing
The main tools you will need to fulfill the work are:
A siphon which is sometimes referred to as a vacuum to clean the gravel and withdraw the water,
A bucket only used for aquarium water changing, not other works,
An algae brush used for algae removing,
And a bottle of dechlorinator used for tap water preparation.
All of these items are available at your local pet store or online shop. However, you can find some best tools for water changing with the short guides in this article, keep reading.
Step 2 – Get rid of the algae with an algae magnet cleaner
The best place to start your weekly water changes is by removing any algae from the glass of your tank. The algae brush is the perfect tool for doing just that. You simply scrub the inside walls of the tank with the algae brush and it wipes away all of the algae built up on the glass walls of the tank.
Make sure if you have a glass tank you use a tool meant for glass tanks, the same with acrylic tanks. I strongly recommend use a Flipper Aquarium Algae Magnet Cleaner to easily do this work. This tool is very wonderful that help you clean the algae on the glass without getting your hands wet.
The Flipper Aquarium Algae Magnet Cleaner is designed to be able to use for both glass or acrylic aquarium without worry about the scratches appearing after cleaning. After cleaning the algae, some of it will end up floating down to the bottom of the tank, but don’t worry the next step will help you take care of just that problem.
Step 3 – Remove old water, clean the gravel and ornaments with a siphon
After all of the algae has been removed, get your siphon and bucket out to withdraw the old water. When using the siphon, stick it down into the substrate of the tank to make sure you are sucking up all of the leftover waste and foods that your algae eater and cat fish (if you have any) were not able to eat.
Suck up as much debris as you can because if you let these build up in your aquarium, nitrate toxic will be produced in the water and poison your fish. Save the water out in a bucket or a sink for later use on cleaning your filter to keep some of the helpful bacteria.
Occasionally, it is a good idea to clean the glass and decorations in your tank. I recommend you use this method to pick up the debris from your ornaments too. Taking your ornaments or gravel out to clean them will cause good bacteria to be removed from the tank.
Step 4 – Refill the tank with dechlorinated water
Once you have removed about 25% of the water it is time to start filling your tank back up. This is why it is essential to not use your bucket for anything else. If you were to use it for mopping the floor or cleaning the house it will likely have small chemical particles from cleaning products, and while these may work well to clean your house they are quite harmful to your aquarium and fish.
Preparation of tap water used for planted aquarium
You can now refill the tank but we would recommend a chlorine remover or water conditioner be added if you are using tap water. Chlorine from tap water will harm your fish and kill the helpful bacteria living in the aquarium and filter materials.
Be sure to check the instructions on the dechlorinator (or conditioner) you are using and mix the proper amount into each bucket to make sure no chlorine makes its way into your tank; this too can be quite harmful to your fish. While dechlorinators only play a role in removing the chlorine, water conditioners have some more helpful affect on protecting the mucous membrane of the fish after water changes.
Step 5 – Cleaning and preparing the filter
Depending on the type of filter, cleaning the filter could mean washing or throwing out filtration media or something else. This should be done with every water change to ensure a smooth working tank. You should occasionally wipe off any algae or debris from a heater or protein skimmer, etc.
There are several types of filters available, some requiring more maintenance than others.
For power filters, internal filters, canister filters, corner filters, only disassemble these filters to get out and clean (or change) the filter materials. Then reassemble them.
For sponge filters, clean the sponges as cleaning the biological media.
The best way to clean the filter media is to collect some water from your water change in a bucket or the sink you are siphoning to. Then rinse the filter media thoroughly in that water. This will help keep some of the bacteria still on the media.
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