Whats the best cleaning procedures

as the title says what's the best procedure for cleaning my tank,plants,ornaments etc??????????

cos I fear I must be doing something wrong cos my fish keep dying
I can't say this is the best, but it is what I have been doing and haven't lost any fish due to it.

1.Empty some of the tank water (varies per tank size)
2.remove ornaments/plants
3.stir gravel to kick up debris (with or without fish pending avail. quarantine-tank)
4.while the filters are sucking up debris, use an aquarium only sponge to wipe off algae and debris.
5.Rinse/clean filters in old tank water
6.Put filters back in to finish cleaning debris from tank
7.Move gravel to desired locations
8.Place ornaments back in tank
9.Treat and replace water

I do this maybe 2 times or less a month as I am pretty sure it would put unneeded stress on the fish. The other times I do water changes and filter rinses/clean.
Hope this helps and I am doing it right also.
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HI trem1 Welcome to Fish Lore

I'm sorry to hear that your fishies are dying. Perhaps it's not your cleaning routine, but something else going on?

Here's my routine:

1. Test the water for Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates...write them in a note book.

2. Unplug filter and heater.
(Depending on how much water you take out this may not be necessary)

3. Using a siphon/gravel vacuum, I vacuum the gravel, the water goes into a bucket that's only used for this purpose.

4. Swish filter media, decorations and plastic/silk plants (if needed) in used tank water, return to tank.

5. Fill another bucket (again, only used for this purpose) with water approximately the same temperature that I took out.

6. Treat the new water with a conditioner.

7. Slowly add clean treated water back into the tank.

8. Fill filter with water and plug that and the heater back in.

I do this once a week.

Hope this helps. Good luck.
Each of our tanks gets a weekly cleaning that is:
1) a 25-50% water change.
2) a filter media cleaning. (They get swished around in that removed tank water and put back into the filter.)
3) a tank cleaning (I wipe the sides with a paper towel. I also remove the decor and substrata to a large rubbermaid container with enough tank water in it to keep everything wet.)
4) a bottom cleaning (I clean up debris & poop off the bottom when the stuff is out of the tank.)
5) a filter intake cleaning (The intake tube gets cleaned by swishing it around in the removed tank water and using a turkey baster to shoot water into the tube and help keep it from getting clogged.) If a tube is clogged, a paper towel rolled up tight is good for cleaning the tube out.

If you can get a water conditioner called Prime, I recommend that for treating all tap water.
OK, I'm going to vear a bit from the others' suggestions. My approach to cleaning a tank is not just maintance, but stocking the tank as well. My swamp tank has a big pearl GouroumI along with 4 smaller sunsets. Those are the show fish. The other fish in the tank are a mix of SAE's, Oto's & a Banjo cat, along with a lot of Ghost and Amano Shrimp and a Gold Inca snail. With them in the tank I don't have to worry about cleaning too much, this is my janatorial staff!!!
On wed I do a 25 percent water change and usually service my filters on that day.
I test my water on the even days of the month. and do water changes if needed on top of reg maintence.
Then on Sat I take everything out of the tank (rocks) and vacuum the tank over 2 times, wipe the sides and front off to remove algae (I have african cichlids so they need the back wall w/ some algae)...

I always treat the water before I replace it.
If your fish are dying after you do a water change, most likely you are over cleaning your tank. Since the beneficial bacteria is on the decorations, gravel and filter media, when cleaning all of them at the same time, you are loosing a lot of established bacteria. This is a lesson that I have to keep learning the hard way. It takes around 24 hours for ammonia to raise and cause problems for the fish.
I have been advised to only clean one or two decorations each time. Not all of them. Same thing with the artificial plants. Even tho they may look dirty and spoil the pristine look of the tank, don't clean them all at once. Same thing with vacuuming the gravel, only half or a quarter of the tank at a time,giving the beneficial bacteria a better chance to grow again.As far as rinsing the filter media, every time I do it, I get in trouble. I usually don't rinse it out for months at a time. But I also have no charcoal in there to worry about. Now you will have to most likely do daily water changes to get rid of the ammonia and get your cycle going once again.
Good luck... ~ kate

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