Beginners, How to Maintain Your Fish Tank

I’m often asked how much time it takes to maintain a fish tank, so I’m going to go through the main stages with you. Really we can break it down into 3 sections; there’s de-algaeing which you might need to do every 2 – 3 times a week, there’s then syphoning and water changing, you need to do about 25% and again that’s every 1 – 2 weeks depending upon how many fish are in the tank. And it’s best off to deal with your filters at the same time that you do your water change. So we can go through those now.

Magnetic algae cleaner

There are a couple of different types of de-algaers that you can go for, it really just comes down to personal preference. So this is a magnetic de-algaer, half of it stays on the outside, the other half goes on the inside of the tank. These ones are great if you actually don’t want to get your hands wet. This is just an algae pad that you would go along the inside of the tank with and then again it’s just an algae pad on a stick. So whenever you’re doing anything with your fish tank, again what you want to do is make sure all the electrics are turned off, so you’re safe. And with this tank I can just take the lid off so that’s out of the way. Now my favorite de-algaer are the magnetic ones which means you can do it without getting your hands wet and they’re really good at getting off tough algae. So the scratchy side goes on the inside of the tank, and the side with the polisher goes on the outside, and you can just move it up and down. So that’ll take off all of the algae, and it’ll only take a couple of minutes to do a tank this size really, so it’s not that, doesn’t take that long. For the corners you might want to use an algae pad like this because you can really get in and make sure that there’s actually no algae stuck down the seam of the tank there. It just makes it look really finished. Some people really like de-algaers on a stick, these are really good for deep tanks, you can get right down to the bottom with them, you can see this one’s been well used. Again, just gently up and down on the inside of the tank just to get off all of that algae. The only think I would say about when you’re choosing a de-algaer ir to make sure you get the right type, because there are types for acrylic glass and there are types for normal glass, and they can scratch, and make sure you never use a household scouring pad, because that definitely will scratch your glass.
An aquarium syphon
Aquarium syphon

So, the next part of maintaining your fish tank is going to be giving it a water change. The absolute best thing for that is a gravel syphon, it’s a really brilliant product. If you do a water change and you use a jug, all you’re doing is taking clean water from the top and leaving all of the muck in the bottom, so these things are absolutely brilliant. Now some people will find it really hard to get a syphon going but there are a couple of tips I can give you. So, firstly if you get the tube full of water it’ll be a lot easier, tip it up, and they do actually have a self start so it just needs a little shake, and it’s off. So then you just want to crunch it into the gravel and I don’t know if you can see that there but all of the dirt is being taken away and where the stones are heavier they’re actually falling back down. So, crunched into the gravel, lift it up, move it across. And you want to go through the whole of the tank like that.

So now I’ve dropped the water level about 25% I can take my syphon out, just pop that aside. And then what I’ve got here is some tap water, it’s around about the same temperature as the tank and as I say because it’s from the tap I need to add de-chlorinator to get rid of any heavy metals. So, on the back of all the de-chlorinators, they have a dose rate so I know how much I need for the water that I’m putting in. I need 10ml. So pop that one in. Now when you’re doing your water change and your filter cleans you’re best off using just a top-up on your biological bacteria in the filter, so something like Filter Active is really good, and again for this one I just need 5ml, so I’ll pop that one in as well. And that’ll just help build up any bacteria that’s been lost during the process. And then, with a jug, all you need to do is really gently replace the water, now you’re best off just pouring the water over one of the ornaments. If you just pour it in really gently, just so that the fish don’t get too stressed out, and it’ll just disperse the water so it doesn’t make any rifts in all of your gravel ad things like that. You don’t want to pour the water over the top of your filter, down the back, because that will upset the bacteria in your filter. So just really gently top it back up to the original level.

Clean the  filter
Clean filter in water removed from aquarium

So now the water’s back up to the original level we can go on to cleaning out the filters. So the filter is really the heart of your fish tank, if you can keep your filter healthy,your fish will be healthy. Inside the filter there are several compartments and they’ll have different sponges of different coarseness inside it. Now what happens is good bacteria grow on the filter sponges and it’s that good bacteria that eat waste and it’s the waste that will make the fish ill, so you really need to take care of those. So if we have a look at this filter here, the first chamber has got a poly-pad in it,now this one is to primarily just to take out any really small particles in the water so that the water looks really, really clear. So this is the only filter that you can rinse in tap water, none of the others can. So we can take that one just to one side and we can rinse that one out in tap water.

Now the second filter is the one that is your biological filter, so this is the one that houses all of those good bacteria. So this one you only ever want to rinse out in old tank water, so the water that you took away when you were doing your water change that’s the place where you rinse it. It kinda seems to us like it’s not actually getting as clean but in terms health of the fish tank that’s just right. So this is the water from the water change, so we can just give it a really good squeeze out, so you can see all that dirt is coming out in that water, already it’s filthy. So just a couple of squeezes in there, and that’s all it needs, your biological filter never wants to be any cleaner than that. So now the filters are all clean, this one’s been done in the tap water, we can just pop them back in.

That’s our poly-pad in that’s going to keep our water clear. And there goes our healthy bacteria back in, and then something people quite often forget is to actually clean out the impeller in the pump. Most of them come apart, so I can just take this out and then they are a little bit tricky sometimes. You just need to get the casing off there, take that part out, just pop that down there. And then inside here, this is the impeller, that pushes the water round and it’s a magnet which means it’s tricky to get out. And sometimes these get really clogged up with, they actually get quite slimy, so you want to take that out, give it a rinse, again tap water’s fine for this because there’s no bacteria on there. And because this is all dirty I’m going to give this a quick rinse in the tap water as well. Slot it all back together and then this part’s got quite a lot of gunk on it, so I’ll just give that a rinse before I put it back together. That’ll just keep it working to it’s best efficiency, then that can all go back in there.

So that’s your filter all back together, we can pop the lid back on. The hood can go back on now, and then it’s all ready to be turned back on. So that was how to clean your fish tank, so we’ve gone through de-algaeing which is a couple of times a week, it really depends on how much algae is building up. A water change, 25% every 2 – 3 weeks and at the same time you want to do your filters, if you can keep up with that schedule your water quality will be great and your fish will be healthy.