Proper cleaning of the aquarium is very important, keeping a fish tank clean is also one of the best ways to maintain it and keep its ecosystem healthy. Here are some of the recommended cleaning practices. Hopefully, you will find them practical!
A daily removal of algae, a 10 to 20% water change once in a week, as well as 30 to 40 percent water draining every month are the most important tasks you need to do regularly. A gravel vacuum will be very handy. You should choose a quality siphon type vacuum. The gravel needs to be vacuumed every two weeks. To effectively remove growing algae, you need a soft clean cloth to wipe your tank’s glass from inside. When done correctly, these cleaning practices should keep your aquarium impressively clean. Cleaning should be done even if you have fish, such as scavengers, that assist in cleaning through eating.
How to keep algae growth under control?
The green hue you notice when you look at your aquarium’s water is an indication of algae growth. Possible ways to solve the algae problem are to buy algae eating fish and/ or applying chemicals. Improper filtration and excess sunlight of more than 6 hours in a day favor algae growth. Do not keep the tank in spots it can get direct sunlight for many hours. For this reason, aquariums should be placed away from windows. Extensive exposure to sunlight could also raise water temperature.
Another common algae problem involve the brown algae. Very little amounts of sunlight and oxygen, the presence of abundant nutrients and lots of silicates are the major causes of brown algae. Silicates are probably brought by high chlorine in tap water. They are also left behind by various substrates.
To deal with brown algae, you can vacuum gravel properly using a siphon. This will eliminate substrate coatings. You can also wipe off the tank’s surfaces as brown algae do not attach strongly to the surfaces. By increasing sunlight, you will hinder brown algae regrowth. With time brown algae in a new tank are usually removed naturally by green algae and other plants as they compete for nutrients. Use a special silicate absorbing resin in the filter suppose the brown algae endures. Algae-eating fish can also help to eliminate brown algae. Excellent examples you can get are Otocinclus or small size Plecos. These sucker-mouth catfish will readily eat algae.
With time brown algae in a new tank are usually removed naturally by green algae and other plants as they compete for nutrients. You can also use a special silicate absorbing resin in the filter to keep the brown algae under control. Algae-eaters can also help to eliminate brown algae. Excellent examples are Otocinclus or small size Plecos. These sucker-mouth catfish will eat algae continuously helping to keep it under control.
Preventing algae is quite simple, just use anti-chlorinated water, provide favorable lighting, and do regular water changes as well as cleaning.
Avoid putting too many fish in a tank
Overpopulation is an issue you must address, if you have too many fish in too small space it is impossible to keep the water a sparkling clean. The more inhabitants you have the more they will defecate in the water. When the solid waste from the fish accumulate at the bottom, it leads to a dirty and smelly tank. Keep in mind the number of fish you keep needs to be always relative to the size of your tank.
An inch of fish per a gallon of water is the recommended general rule. For a 20 gallon tank, you can keep five fish, which gives 4 gallons space for every fish. However, they grow in size with time. Oscars for example, grow quite big. In just a year an Oscar can grow from 2 inches to 6 inches long. Keep this in your mind when buying new fish.
Some people rely on Plecos thinking that they can eat all waste. On the contrary, Plecos feed only algae and this obviously will not clean your aquarium completely. You need to use a gravel vacuum to clean waste from the overpopulated tank.
Check filters regularly
Water tends to become cloudy and smelly if there is no filtration. Check and clean filters and change filter media on a regular basis. You should replace the filters after a couple of months. Make sure you clean canister filters separately two times in a year.
Watch video of keeping water clean in a fish tank
Other possible causes for murky water
There may be other reasons why water is not clean. If you have already done the above things, but water still is murky, there might be hidden dead organisms somewhere. Dead snails, small creatures, and fish which are not easily noticed could make the water easily dirty and smelly. A thorough gravel vacuum sweep should help remove all dead organisms. Check also all structures and decor elements where something could be hidden. You should also check if there is snail infestation and get rid of and stop them. You can conduct a water test using a kit if water still stinks.
There are many forums where you can get suggestions on how to clean your tank. Forums also discuss the many reasons why tanks are dirty and stinky as well as how to address them. Sometimes the problem may be extreme. In such case, you can drain all water, purchase new filters and start from the beginning.