How To Clean The Aquarium?!

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Maintenance' started by MrJack, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. MrJackNew MemberMember

    Hello all. I'm new to keeping tropical fish and am planning on getting a tank in the next week or so but there's one thing I can't quite work out and that's the level of cleaning involved. I'm definitely going to set up a tank, nothing can put me off, but I'd be very grateful if someone could give me some realistic cleaning tips.

    I know I will need to change around 20% of the water every week and clean algae off of the glass. However, I remember when keeping gold fish, even with a filter the tank would become dirty with algae after a month or so and we'd need to empty the entire thing out every month for a clean and start again. I'm guessing this isn't the case as you need to maintain a stable environment - but do you ever have to do this?

    Also, on the site it mentions cleaning gravel with a hose - what does this mean? How would I clean gravel in the tank, do I need to scoop some out, clean and plop it back in?

    I know these are really basic questions and appreciate any help with this.


  2. AquaGirlNew MemberMember

    Hello Mr. Jack. Yes, you will need to clean the gravel with a hose. You can get the hose in your pet store. And don't worry, you won't have to take the gravel out, clean it, and put it back in! In fact, it's very easy - what you do is you vacuum the gravel with your hose every time you change the water (not everyday!). You may be changing 20% or 25% of the water, once every week or once every 2 weeks - depending on how many fish you have and what kinds of fish they are. You simply siphon 20-25% of the water every week or two from the bottom of your tank in order to remove the wastes and uneaten food from the gravel. Vacuum the gravel until 20-25% of water is removed. Good luck with your new tank!

  3. MrJackNew MemberMember

    Thank-you Aqua Girl for replying so quickly and so clearly! Quite excited about this, I wish I knew about the gravel hoover back in the Goldfish days :)

    Love this site, hopefully I'll be able to report back with a success story soon.

  4. GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    Mr. Jack,
    Welcome to Fishlore! How exciting to set up your first tank! If you haven't already, please make sure you understand the cycling process, and if you haven't fishlore has a good article about it to help you out:

    The article mentions cycling your tank with fish, which many hobbyists now consider cruel. The alternative is to do what is called a fishless cycle where instead of the fish providing the ammonia to feed the bacteria, you use pure plain ammonia (the kind with not additives). You would add the ammonia to the tank slowly until your reading was 4 or 5 ppm, and continue to keep the ammonia at that level with daily checking until you can add ammonia and ammonia and nitrite levels are at zero within 24 hours. You should also have a nitrate reading at this point. My first tank was cycled with fish, and I have cycled a few others with fish. I am not here to judge, but please do your research on what fish you would cycle the tank with before getting fish, and make sure you do water changes when the ammonia and nitrite levels get high.

    You shouldn't clean your tank out like that every month. Everyone has algae at some point in their tanks, and it would be better to find out what the problem is with your water chemistry and try to fix it. Completely cleaning and starting over every month will definately take a toll on you and you will probably not stay in the hobby long. You are destroying all the bacteria in your tank when you do that, and it may be just something simple like overfeeding that caused the problem. Also, depending on what type of fish you choose, live plants in your tank will actually help you with that problem. They will compete with the algae for nutrients, and will even help keep your nitrates down.

    A gravel vacuum is essential for every tank. It's basically the same principal as siphoning gas with a hose, but instead you are sucking out water from your tank. While your siphon is primed, you can put the end of the hose in your gravel, and it will suck out crud from the gravel (it's called mulm in the fish world). If you are getting a tank larger than 10 gallons, I would suggest investing in a  . You hook it up to a faucet or garden hose, and it uses the water pressure to remove or add the water to the tank. I absolutely love mine, and since it's attached to a faucet or hose, you don't have any buckets to haul.

    While you're here, check out some of the profiles and learn about the different types of fish and their requirements. A good rule to go by is unless you are doing a species specific tank, look into getting compatible fish which swim in different levels of the tank. That way you have activity all over, and don't have a bunch of fish fighting for the same space. Again, welcome, and hope you enjoy the site! ;)

  5. fletchValued MemberMember

    just to add to aquagirls comment. when you go to get the gravel hoover dont just look for a hose. Its more like a hose with a larger plastic tube on the end. It sucks up the gravel about an inch or two and then it falls back down, the mess in the gravel goes up the tube
  6. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    This is what my gravel vacuum looks like, except I attach the end to my garden hose and run it outside to the yard. Then I siphon and gravel vac all my tanks at once then fill them back up all at once.

    Attached Files:

  7. MrJackNew MemberMember

    Wow, thanks for all your advice everyone! I'm off to investigate some shops tomorrow around the south London area. I'll be watching out for sick fish and bad conditions - I'm not buying tomorrow, just looking into where I can buy from and costs.

    I'm not sure whether the hose gravel hoover will work cos I have to have them in my room, which is quite far from a tap. I'll have to look into that a bit more too.
  8. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Then you could use the one like in my picture and siphon into a bucket.
  9. GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    I'll be in London in 2 weeks! Can you tell me where the fish stores are?
  10. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Butterfly, I have exactly the same one, LOL. But how can you attach it to a garden hose? How does it work with a garden hose? Anyhow better or faster?
  11. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Isabella my husband cut the brass end off the hose and put an adaptor in it(1) and the vacuum fits on the other end(2) a small computer keyboard vacuum brush(3) instead of the vac tube can also be used to clean fry and bare bottom tanks also. Hope this has given you some ideas!!

    Attached Files:

  12. fletchValued MemberMember

    Jack, my tank is in my room and I syphon the water into a bucket. Its no problem at all
  13. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Very innovative of your husband, Butterfly! Thanks! :)
  14. fletchValued MemberMember

    Gunnie, the last time I went to london there where hardly any fish shops in the centre, you need to go out to the outskirts.
  15. CraigWell Known MemberMember

    my tank is in my bedroom as well but i cant get my gravel vacuum 2 work!!! i dont understand what im doin wrong how do u get it 2 start suckin up the dirt??? i tried movin it up and down really fast but it still doesnt start workin!
  16. fletchValued MemberMember

    haha, the key word in "syphon vacuum" is "syphon". to make a syphon you have 2 options:

    either put the large end in the water and suck the hose end until the water comes very close to your mouth
    put the whole instrument in the water, making sure there arent any air bubbles in the tube at all, and remove the smaller end, leaving the larger end under the water.

    which ever way you do it, to keep the syphon, you need to keep the small end at a lower point than the large end. the lower the small end, the faster the flow
  17. CraigWell Known MemberMember

    ahhhhhhhhhhh got u!!!!! and that was comin from a guy who got 10 good gcse passes last week!!!!!! bak 2 skool 2moro YEH! gotta dig that enthusiasm
  18. fletchValued MemberMember

    eeeuuugghhh! GCSE's hav'nt thought of those in a long time
  19. 0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    It is tricky to start. The trick is to submerse the hose sideways into the tank so a couple of feet are filled with water. Then quickly upright it, allowing the water to flow downwards into the bucket. Moving it up & down helps. It usually takes a few tries to get started. Once running, skim it over the gravel to remove debris.
  20. fletchValued MemberMember

    Rather than having to lift it quickly over the tank (probably making a lot of mess) put you thumb over the end so that the water stays where it is. You can move it up and down without losing any water, it just stays in the tube

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