Why should we clean the aquarium at all? Well, okay, if the water clouds, the walls are covered with algae, the fish die – then, yes, clearly. But if the water is clear, the fish are alive, and everything seems fine. Why can’t we just refill the aquarium with water?
Let’s remember the physiology of fish. We feed them, they digest this food and excrete waste into the external environment. In the aquarium water. And where do they go from there? And how can they ever disappear? They don’t. That’s what we have to remove. If we do not, it is logical to assume that they will accumulate and accumulate, and sooner or later their concentration will be such that they become a poison that poisons your fish.
Many will respond: how come, but I had as a child (at school, my mother, etc.) was an aquarium, there was never changed the water and everything was fine. It wasn’t. Human memory is an interesting thing, we don’t remember everything and often remember the nice things and the bad things. Yes, many fish are so resilient that they can live in their own waste for a long time and then die almost of old age. “Well, fish don’t live long” … All living organisms can adapt. And yet fish are kept as pets, so why make them survive? Their life should be made as comfortable as possible.
Well, let’s bring science to the rescue, namely, remember chemistry and the nitrogen cycle in the aquarium. If very briefly and simplistically, the fish and other aquarium hydrobionts allocate in the products of their metabolism of ammonia. It is very toxic, but under the influence of nitrifying bacteria (which normally live in every aquarium) is converted into nitrite. These salts are less toxic, but still dangerous to fish. At the end of the cycle nitrites are converted into nitrates, which are dangerous only in high concentrations and are excreted from the aquarium with regular water changes.
As for cleaning the walls of the aquarium from fouling, everything is obvious: if the glass is not cleaned, sooner or later it will overgrow so that the fish will not be visible. Cleaning scenery is also needed simply to ensure that they retained their attractive appearance, and cleaning filters … dirty filter can not do its job, and over time, simply burn out.
Cleaning the walls
Cleaning the aquarium is best started with cleaning the walls. Algae scale from them will get into the water during cleaning, will fall on the bottom and it can be easily removed during subsequent siphoning of the bottom. Even if the glass looks clean, and it should be in the norm, it is still better to wipe it weekly foam sponge.
If the glass quickly overgrows, you need to figure out why this happens. Maybe the aquarium is in too bright a place or the light in the aquarium is lit too long.
You need to keep in mind what your aquarium is made of. If it’s regular glass, you can clean it with soft sponges as well as razor scrapers. If it is acrylic or plexiglass, then you should be very careful when cleaning – these surfaces are easily scratched even a hard sponge, not to mention a razor scraper.
So, about the cleaning itself. At first, you clean the front, sides and even back windows with wide movements of a squeegee (it is convenient to clean in a horizontal plane with a sponge, and in a vertical plane with a squeegee). Then brush clean the glass around the seams and under the soil. If the aquarium is very deep, it is worth thinking about sliding or magnetic scraper.
Cleaning the bottom
Next, we move on to cleaning the ground. This procedure is called “ground siphon”, from the name of the tool with which it is made – it is a siphon, its device is described above. When cleaning the ground siphon drains and water.
In an aquarium with living plants siphon need only open areas of the soil, and it is worth remembering that most of the dirt accumulates under snags and stones, there siphon is necessary.
In an aquarium without living plants, especially if there are artificial plants, siphon all surface of the bottom and under these plants, too, they collect a lot of dirt. If the dirt (and this is usually uneaten food and excrement of fish) at weekly siphoning accumulates a lot, you should think: perhaps you overfeed fish or your aquarium overloaded inhabitants.
When siphoning is not necessary to clean the soil to sterile purity, you need to leave food and for bacteria, and if there are living plants, and nutrients for them. And do not forget to monitor the water level during siphoning. It’s especially easy to get carried away and drain too much water in a small aquarium.
Many novice aquarists worry that a small fish might get into the siphon. This is certainly possible, but unlikely. A very small fish will roll down the hose without harm to itself and end up in the bucket. A larger one can easily injure itself when trying to enter the hose from the siphon tube, so of course you have to be careful.
Cleaning the internal filter
In the question of “how often should you clean the filter” you first need to figure out what kind of filter is in your aquarium. If it is an internal filter, and you have a lot of fish in the aquarium, you will have to clean it often, maybe even once a week. The area of the filter elements in these filters is small, and they get dirty fairly quickly, although they are easy to maintain and safe.
When it is time to clean the filter, tells you the current coming out of it. It has become weak – time to clean. To do this, unplug the filter and pull it out. Most modern aquarium filters do not need to be removed from the aquarium as a whole – usually compartments with fillers are easily detachable and removable. Wash them better in the sink under running water, so they rinse better
There is an opinion that the filter should be cleaned only in the drained water from the aquarium, otherwise the useful bacteria in it will die. Do not worry about this, because these bacteria live in large numbers in the soil and will quickly repopulate the filter.
Replace sponges almost no need – they serve long, but if they softened or began to disintegrate into pieces, they must be changed. Detergents should not be used categorically.
Also from time to time need to clean the impeller and the filter body itself: impeller from dirt, the body is usually from algae.
Cleaning the external filter
As for the external filter, things are a little more complicated. The signal for cleaning can also serve as a decrease in the head of water coming out of it. But in general, it does not clean often, you can set a period of, for example, in six months.
To clean the external filter, first turn it off from the mains, then turn off the valves on the hoses. Then, if the filter construction allows, separate the hoses from the filter body, or just take off the cover with the hoses. Take the filter body with the fillers to the bathroom, take out the trays with the fillers, wash everything under the shower, pour out the dirty water from the body, wash it. We put the trays back. Clean the impeller in the filter head, fill the housing with water and put the lid back on. Open the faucets and plug the filter in!
The hoses usually do not get much dirt and need to be cleaned very seldom if it becomes obvious that they are overgrown and the water does not flow well. In this case they are removed and cleaned with special small ruffers. The flute and the intake are cleaned from algae as it gets dirty. If the inlet is a prefilter, it is cleaned weekly, in this case clean the filter itself should be much less often.
If the filter began to foul faster than usual, perhaps you feed too much fish and it clogs the uneaten food, or the aquarium overpopulation and the filter can not fully work again, again, due to the fact that too quickly clogged. By the way, there is a recommendation to turn off and the filter, and all the equipment for the time of cleaning the aquarium to avoid electrocution. Personally, I do not do this, it does not electrocute. The filter easily removes dust, raised by cleaning, and a couple of decades of hobbies aquaristics me no electric shock once.
Cleaning the decor
Let’s deal with what decorations are, and there are natural and artificial ones. Natural decorations are snags and stones, dead corals, shells of natural origin. Artificial – various silk, silicone, plastic or ceramic locks, corals, stones, plants… First of all, I want to warn – shells and decorations coated with paint, no place in an aquarium, fish just poisoned. Just be wary of the bright inexpensive decorations, often made in China – keep in mind that such colors can be released into the water and be toxic to the inhabitants of the aquarium.
Cleaning of natural decorations
So, let’s start with natural snags. How to clean them? You don’t. Do not take them out of the aquarium at all, especially if they grow moss or some other aquarium plants.
Before the primary immersion in the aquarium, they should be washed under running water and brushed with a brush. Keep in mind that not all snags sink immediately (heavy snags like “mopani” rather the exception). Most need to soak up water to sink. The longest, according to my observations, sinks black alder. All snags stain the water to varying degrees in the first few months after placing them in the aquarium. I must say that the fish like it – dissolved in the water humic acids are often found in the natural habitat of many fish, such as labyrinth and characinovyh.
So, when such a snag lies in the aquarium, how can it get dirty? If the aquarium overpopulation, overfeeding, the filter does not do its job, then the dirt accumulates at the bottom of the aquarium and it will be on the snags. But here you do not need to clean the snags, and properly organize the aquarium. On a snag can grow algae, both scenic and not – black beard, for example. Of course, you can take out the snag and clean it, but the algae will grow again. So you just have to fight the algae, about that below.
Cleaning artificial decor
Artificial decoration must be cleaned, they will anyway overgrow with algae and lose their decorativeness. The rate of overgrowth is individual and depends on the amount of excess nutrients and light not consumed by the higher plants. It is logical to assume that an aquarium standing on a window sill will overgrow faster.
To clean artificial decorations, as well as stones and shells, corals, they need to be removed from the aquarium. It is most convenient to clean in the bathroom. There they can be placed in an even layer – it is convenient for cleaning. As for methods of cleaning, they usually use two: either decorations poured boiling water (with silicon plants need to be careful, they can not survive it), or pour bleach – suit the usual bleach or Domestos. Personally, I pour an undiluted liquid, leave for a while and then rinse thoroughly under the shower and return to the aquarium.
Of course, with frequent cleaning from such procedures decorations can become brittle and even discolored, but it is better not to bring them to frequent cleaning. If there is a suspicion that the cleaning with boiling water or chlorine will damage the decoration you can simply clean it with a brush under running water.
Taking Care of Living Plants
Many people think that aquarium plants are difficult to take care of, but this is an illusion. If there are no complex plants, no CO2 system, no constant nutrition, the aquarium with live plants is easy to care for. The main thing is to set it right away, that the plants were large enough and all grow well under water, were in proportion, were selected neportsyh their fish. If all of this is observed, you can not fertilize plants – fish themselves can handle it, and pruning and weeding do not take much time.
If, however, you grow fastidious plants in the aquarium, the carbon dioxide is fed, and under the bedside table is a battery of bottles with fertilizer, everything is somewhat more complicated. Will need the flow of carbon dioxide in the aquarium, and the carbon dioxide bottles to buy or fill, and calculate the number of micro and macro fertilizers and make them regularly.
Plants grow fast, long-stemmed plants will need regular pruning to bush and be bright: they always have brighter young tops, the lower part of the shoot often becomes bare with age, and it looks undecorative. Plants that are propagated by grafts or stolons, give a lot of shoots, it often comes out in the foreground or in a cluster of other plants. Therefore, these offshoots should be removed, carefully weeded out (so as not to damage the nutrient substrate, if any).
If there is moss in the aquarium, it can be cut, giving it different shapes. Also, to maintain a compact shape, you need to remove floating nymph shoots. And, of course, regularly remove yellowed and damaged leaves.
Filling up the water
So all done, your aquarium is clean! All that remains is to fill it with water. Since there is plenty of water left in the aquarium the ground will not be washed away by this action and you can pour water from a bucket or bottle, just water from side to side, so that one powerful jet does not wash away the ground and damage plants.
Then wipe the floor with a rag and be sure to wash the inside and outside the lid of the aquarium: it can accumulate on the inside as a scale, if you have hard water, and algae. Clean all ties, and finally wash the outside of the aquarium glass. Done!