They may say it’s the humble dog that’s man’s best friend, but if recent surveys are anything to go by there could be a new front-runner on the block. Once again, sales of aquariums and general fish-related bits and pieces have accelerated massively year on year. Why? Well, some say it all comes down to folk not having nearly enough time to dedicate to dogs and cats, while to others it’s more about the fact that superb-quality tanks and accessories aren’t nearly as expensive as they used to be.
Sadly though, for all their wonderfulness and desirability, fish haven’t yet mastered the art of jumping out of the tank and cleaning it on behalf of the owners. Such an advance would be hugely welcome by most despite putting stores like Reef Perfect out of business, but until that time comes the good news is that tank cleaning can be made so much easier than most give credit for.
Take a few tips from the pros and break down the cleaning into much simpler daily and monthly mini-tasks.
Daily Cleaning Jobs and Checks
There are certain things you should be keeping an eye out for on a daily basis for the sake of both your own sanity and the health of your fish. By doing so, you prevent things from building up to a much more problematic level further down the line.
For example, every day you should be keeping tabs on:
- Food – Fish food represents one of the worst pollutants of all for the water, which is why overfeeding is such a bad idea. Feed the fish the recommended amount, wait a minute or so and use a net to remove anything that’s been left floating around.
- Temperatures – Even a slight change in temperature can lead to the excessive development of all manner of nasty brown and green stuff all over your tank, while at the same time making your fish sick. As such, you need to keep a close eye on temperatures every day.
- Filter Checks – A filter can pack-in or start acting strangely at any time, but the moment this happens, you’re on something of a countdown to disaster. Take a look at your filter every day to make sure it’s doing its job properly and efficiently.
- Water – And even when you don’t plan to go about a cleaning job just yet, take a close look at the water each day to detect any odd colours or smells that could indicate a problem building up.
Weekly Cleaning Jobs and Checks
If you can get into the habit of doing a few simple things once every week, you’ll soon feel as though the tank is pretty much taking care of itself – it really does become that easy. Plus, it’s not as if any of them are particularly taxing in the first place so there’s really no excuse for not following common sense guidelines.
- Plant Audits – Dead, dying or generally falling-to-bits can quickly make the cleanest of tank waters look pretty horrible…not to mention pack a wallop for the fish in there. So at least once a week, check plants for any signs of malaise and remove any dead or shed plant material.
- Ornaments – Carefully take the ornaments out of the tank and give them a good wipe down using water from the tank itself…never raw tap water that could kill every fish in there.
- Algae Scrape – If there’s any algae building up, use an approved scraping device to get rid of it in a quick and simple stroke. The earlier you do so, the easier it is.
- Glass Cleaning – There are also plenty of glass cleaning tools you can get for the inside of the tank, ranging from electrical scrubbers to magnetised scrapers and more. Just as long as it’s approved and safe to use, do so once each week.
- 20% Water Change – Perhaps most crucially of all, use a gravel cleaning syphon to drain 20% of the tank’s water while pulling all the dirt out of the gravel, in order to be replaced with clean, fully treated water. This is so much easier than trying to do a full clean once a month or so, which could easily cost the lives of half your fish every time.
It really is more about common sense than anything else. Think about your own home – is it better to clean modestly on a daily and weekly basis, or let the place become almost too disgusting to survive in before going about a complete and total blitz every six weeks?
The same logic should be applied to your aquarium.