How to clean a very dirty aquarium with a lot of algae?
Fish are great pets. First, they don’t require walks or a lot of attention. Second, they are beautiful! Third, they are incredibly easy to care for compared to other types of pets. However, that doesn’t mean you can neglect them.
In addition to feeding your fish once a day, you should also clean its aquarium at least twice a month (if your fish lives instead in a bowl without a filtration system, it will need to be cleaned weekly). Over time, your fish’s waste and food accumulates, which can lead to an unhealthy environment. Fortunately, cleaning an aquarium is not that difficult, no matter what type of aquarium you have. Here are some tips on how to clean your aquarium to keep your fish happy and healthy.
Daily aquarium maintenance
Every day, in addition to feeding the fish, remember to remove the waste with a scoop and check the water temperature.
Weekly aquarium maintenance
Once a week, check the water by testing it to make sure it is not polluted with nitrates or ammonia. In addition, take the opportunity to clean the windows and remove waste from the bottom of the aquarium. Finally, every week it is necessary to change a fifth of the volume of water in the aquarium.
Monthly aquarium maintenance
Every two weeks, or once a month, the aquarium and its components should be cleaned. This can take time and you have to know how to be organized so as not to harm the fish.
2. Before cleaning your aquarium
The day before the aquarium cleaning chore, remember to fill enough containers with tap water, which you will let stand without closing them until the next day. This will allow the chlorine in the tap water to evaporate. Products specifically designed to neutralize chlorine are also sold in pet stores.
3. The day you clean your aquarium
Provide a tank that can hold your fish(es), and where the water will be at the same temperature as that of your aquarium. This will prevent them from suffering a thermal shock. Once your fish are in the tank, it’s time to unplug the aquarium and its components.
4. Stages of cleaning an aquarium
Cleaning an aquarium is done in a logical sequence of steps:
- Empty the aquarium: start by removing the decorations, then, empty the water but not completely. You should not change more than 30% of it. Then, using a scoop or a small shovel, remove the gravel.
- Wash the windows: to clean the walls, do not use cleaning products or detergents. Indeed, a damp cloth and cotton swabs are enough. Scrub the entire glass surface of the aquarium, and use the cotton swabs for the corners.
- remove algae: if algae and limestone have invaded the walls of the aquarium, use a shower squeegee or a spatula to remove them.
- Clean the filter: for the cleaning of the filter, it is necessary to avoid killing the good strains of bacteria which are present and necessary for the health of the fish. Clean one half of the filter, the other half will be cleaned in the next cleaning. Simply rinse it under warm tap water and wring it out until clean.
- Wash the gravel: to clean the gravel, it is enough to pass it under hot water and to drain it well.
- clean decorations: just run them under hot water, but without using chemicals or detergents. If they are very dirty, scrub them with a small soft brush.
5. Eliminate algae in an aquarium
If algae is forming in your aquarium, it should be taken seriously. Start by removing the algae manually or with a shower squeegee if they cling to the windows. Then, test the water parameters. If necessary, clean the pump and rotor with a toothbrush. It may be necessary to replace 25% of the aquarium water and fast the fish for 3 or 4 days. Fast-growing plants can be added to the tank to reduce the appearance of algae.
6. What to do if the aquarium water is cloudy?
If your aquarium was recently installed, wait a few days before taking action, this could be normal and the situation could correct itself. If not, try cleaning decorations and gravel. However, if your aquarium is not new, it is possible that microscopic algae has invaded your aquarium. Do a good maintenance as mentioned above.
If you have recovered a very old aquarium and it is clogged with algae and limestone, you will practically have to disinfect it before putting fish in it. Start by emptying it well and removing all its components. Then, fill it with water to which you will add hydrochloric acid and let it act for 48 hours.
Empty the water, rinse then fill again but this time by adding bleach. Leave to act for 1 hour. You can take the opportunity to scrape the windows and the bottom with a shower squeegee to remove as much algae as possible.
Empty the aquarium and using a sponge, clean all surfaces well. You could put a drop of liquid dish soap on your sponge. Then, rinse thoroughly 2 to 3 times to thoroughly remove detergent residue.
Alternatively, you could also use a steamer to thoroughly clean the aquarium, but without the use of chemicals or detergents. The components of the aquarium, including the decorations, could also benefit from a good steam cleaning. Otherwise, just run them under hot water and scrub them with an old toothbrush. Some, if too dirty, will have to be changed for new ones.
To avoid limescale deposits, you must check whether the water is calcareous. Come read this article: How to remove limescale from water?