Step-by-step Cleaning Instructions for a Freshwater Tank

Read before or during the cleaning process. These step-by-step instructions will tell you exactly how to clean your tank, and when to clean your tank.

When should I clean my tank? You should clean your tank once every two months unless you can really tell it needs cleaned before then.

Why should I clean my tank once every two months? Because your tank will start building up algae on the inside and your gravel will retain waste that could make your fish ill in the future.

Step 1 (preparing for cleaning)
Before you start taking your fish out of your tank you have to prepare. First you have to get: some container that your fish can be placed in until it’s time for them to be put back in the tank, your fish net, some towels to wipe up water spills, a water pitcher, food drainer, a clean sponge, and a clean rag. You can move on to step 2 after you have collected everything for step1.

Step 2 (Removing your fish)
Everything must be precise when removing fish from your tank. Make sure you have a container of water about the same temperature as the fish tank water, other wise your fish will go into shock. Once the container of water is ready for the fish, you can start catching each fish one-by-one and placing them in the container of water. After you’ve removed all the fish in your tank and placed them in the container, move your container where it can’t be spilled. Try not to get your fish stressed; this could cause death.

Step 3 (Removing the fish tanks old water)
All your fish should be out of your tank at this time. Now you need to get your water pitcher and start empting all the old water in your tank. Do this by placing the water pitcher into the tank and scooping out a pitcher full; dispose of the old water down a sink drain or bathtub. Once all or almost all water has been removed from your tank, you can move onto step 3.

Step 3 (Removing and cleaning your tanks gravel)
It is very important that you clean your gravel, because this where all the waste is trapped. You can remove your gravel by using a clean dustpan; just scoop the gravel from the tanks bottom. Place the gravel in a large pan and just keep scooping a bunch at and cleaning it by purring it into the drainer and running hot water over it. After the batch of gravel has been cleaned place it in a different pan or container for clean gravel. Clean your gravel the best you can, because the cleaner the better. Don’t place your gravel back in the tank right now.

Step 4 (Cleaning the tank)
It can be difficult to clean a tank at times, depending on how bad it is. Some tanks develop a ton of algae in their tanks do to a lot of sun exposure. Algae can be very tricky to clean. You have to scrape the algae of the tanks glass using a scratch pad. Scratch pads do the trick when it comes to cleaning algae from an aquarium. Now that all your algae is gone it’s time to do the finishing touches. Without using any source of soup or cleanser, use your sponge and/or rag and start wiping the inside of your tank. Rinse your tank until all waste is gone.

Step 5 (Putting it all back together)
After you have completed all the steps, you can start putting you aquarium back together. Make sure all filtration systems have been cleaned too.

You won’t have to clean your tank for another 2 months. Make sure you’re replacing filters and empting 20% of your tanks water every 1 month; this helps your tank stay clean.

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