Cleaning a fish tank is an important part of owning an aquarium. Your fish need a clean environment to live if you want them to stay healthy and happy. Excess food and fish feces build up over time, which eventually turn into harmful ammonia, so it's important to keep your tank clean not only for its appearance, but for the health of your fish.
Getting on a good fish tank cleaning schedule will help you avoid algae build up and make it easier to clean the tank each time that you do. You can do a routine clean up in about a half an hour. Cleaning your tank on a weekly basis is the best way to stay on top of the grime and keep your fish healthy.
Many people mistakenly believe that you have to drain the whole tank and replace the water each time you clean the take. Actually, completely cleaning an aquarium can be harmful to the fish. As the fish live in the tank, good bacteria that cuts down on disease starts to grow in the tank. When a tank is cleaned from top to bottom, you remove these good bacteria, putting your fish in harm's way.
You need to regularly replace 10 to 50 percent of the water that is in the tank on a regular basis. Most people do 25 percent. This way you'll be able to add fresh water without completely removing the good bacteria. If there are algae on the sides of the tank you can use a scrubber but don't remove all of the algae because it is natural to their environment and very healthy for them.
Make sure to check the filter for debris, but don't replace it each time you clean. Good bacteria build up in the filter as well so you'll only want to replace it when you absolutely have to. Just use a clean bucket full of chlorine-free water and rub your hands across the filter several times to get the bulk sludge and slime off, that's it!
When decorative items become stained you can remove them from the tank and soak them in a 10 percent bleach solution for 15 minutes, use a brush and be sure to rinse them thoroughly before replacing them! If you do not rinse them thoroughly you could easily kill all of your fish!
Finally, replace the filter, the decorative items and add new water, remembering to use some type of water treatment solution to remove all chlorine. It's also a good idea to add a little conditioning salt to prevent disease.