How to Clean a Fish Tank and Misconceptions of Aquarium Maintenance


Many people believe that aquarium maintenance is an extremely hectic task, which is to keep the freshwater aquarium clean and safe from dirt impurities. Learning how to clean a fish tank is not a difficult task. It’s not that difficult to keep the aquarium safe and clean. Moreover, as compared to cleaning your tank and maintaining it, the task of arranging the tank and properly setting it up is more difficult.


Keeping your freshwater aquarium clean and maintained is almost similar to doing routine maintenance of your daily usable things such as your car, home appliances, etc. All you need to do is to perform several steps on a regular basis in order to avoid any difficulties arising in your aquarium.

There are many myths that people have kept on believing for a long time, which does nothing better to the aquarium but eventually causes us loss. These myths can be smaller or bigger and can affect the aquarium and it’s species abruptly.

Here we provide you a list of myths that people keep on believing while cleaning a fish tank freshwater tanks. The top five misconceptions regarding aquarium maintenance are given as follows –


How to Clean a Fish Tank After Every Few Months

Many people believe that it is highly important to learn How to Clean a Fish Tank at regular intervals, in order to keep it safe from harmful bacterias and other impurities which could arise due to dirty water or uncleaned aquarium tank.

Although, the real truth is that you should avoid cleaning fish tank until and unless you don’t start to see thick layers of algae over your tank or a thick layer of algae doesn’t appear on the walls of your tank.

Many people believe that it’s practically true to keep  and scrubbing the tank decorations and gravel time to time if they start to look dirty, but the truth is that this excessive cleaning of the tank may result in putting a devastating effect on the fishes of your aquarium.

As we know that the fishes which are present in our aquarium produce waste which gets accumulated in the lower areas or the substrate of the tank where also lies the uneaten fish food, plant parts which are decaying and several other debris.

The beneficial bacteria present in the tank helps in breaking down the waste material. In this process, ammonia names toxin is produced as a byproduct of this process. The whole cycle is termed as the nitrogen cycle of an aquarium. Thus it is highly important to have a good number of these beneficial bacterias in your tank.

In order for cleaning fish tank properly, if you will drain out all the water of the tank at once and scrub out all the things from the decorative substances and the gravel present in the tank, you may vanish out a great proportion of the beneficial bacteria present in your tank which is not at all good for the health of your fishes.

There are chances that you may clear an entire population of these bacterias by cleaning your tank fully at once. If this happens, your aquarium will need to undergo all the nitrogen cycle all over again and will have to start it from the start and will have to rebuild the number of beneficial bacterias needed.

Also due to all these happenings, it is highly obvious that the amount of ammonia and nitrate in your tank water will increase to a great extent and will harm your fishes a lot. Thus to avoid all these mishappenings, a person needs to do several large scale water changes within a week or so, rather than cleaning tank.

If extremely important, try to remove only a few of the tank decorations to clean them, but do not take all of them as this may kill a large number of beneficial bacterias present in your tank. As we know that the tank substrate is the area where there is the highest concentration of the beneficial bacteria accumulated. So we need to make sure that we should not let the substrate of the tank dry out.

How to Clean Fish Tank Filter Once a Month is Must

It is a very well known fact that we should clean our aquarium’s filter media on a daily basis, but the question arises that whether we should clean our aquarium’s filter on monthly basis or not. It is a clear assumption of many aquarium hobbyists that it is extremely compulsory and highly important to keep cleaning your filter every month.

They believe that the filter should be cleaned and washed properly within an interval of a few weeks. But, in fact, cleaning fish tank filter every month is a total myth to be important. As long as the filter of your aquarium is not affecting the water quality in a negative way, you should not clean or wash your aquarium’s filter.

Even if the filter starts to develop an algae coating over itself, you shouldn’t clean it until and unless the quality of water of your aquarium starts to decrease. The reason behind this is that your aquarium’s filter is situated next to the substrate of your aquarium and this place is one such place where there is a heavy concentration of highly profitable and benefactory bacterias present.

In case if your filter consists of a bio-wheel or such similar biological filtration component, you should never be cleaning fish tank filter and should never let the bio-wheel dry out, because if anytime the bio-wheel dries out or if the filter is cleaned, there is a huge risk of getting the beneficial bacteria of your tank killed in a large proportion.

And if these bacterias die, your tank would eventually try to recycle itself which will directly affect the fishes and other species of your aquarium in a harmful way and may make your fishes condition a little dangerous to handle.

Also, Check Out Discus Fish(Care Guide, Breeding, Food) 

As we all know that these bacterias present in freshwater are very important for the living species of the aquarium. This is the main reason why you should not try to do anything which will directly or indirectly affect the health and life of these beneficial bacterias.

If you really want to clean your filter and if there is no way you can avoid cleaning it then try giving it a quick rinse which will eventually wash off the debris which is accumulated over the surface of the filter. But try to avoid using any soap or other cleaning product and try not to scrub the filter.

Small Level Water Changes in Tank are Best for Fish Tank Cleaning

If you are new to keeping fishes at your homes or workplaces in smaller or moderately large aquariums, you must have squired the usual thoughts in your mind that you shouldn’t make any changes in the atmosphere of the aquarium filled with water.

You must be nervous about anything which would change the water level or the quality of the water present in the aquarium tank, which would eventually affect the fishes and their habitat. The truth is bat you shouldn’t be worrying about the consequences of changing the water in small levels, as small level water changes are zero percentage dangerous for the atmosphere of the aquarium.

Every time you change the water, you should try to replace the utmost 15 percent of water from the tank for cleaning a fish tank. As we know through the nitrogen cycle of an aquarium mechanism that nitrate which is the third byproduct of the nitrogen cycle, is comparatively less dangerous to the water species in the tank when compared to nitrite and ammonia, but can still affect the species to a larger extent.

This is a tough chemical which does not get evaporated from the tank easily and can also not be removed with the help of the water filter. There is only one way by which we can remove this nitrate concentration of the tank and that is by removing it manually through changing the water present in the tank.

As mentioned above small quantity water changes for fish tank cleaning do not contribute to the removal of a significant amount of nitrate concentration. In order to gain the maximum amount of advantages from changing the water weekly, all you need to do is to change the water up to at least 15 percent of the total tank volume.

You must always keep in mind that whenever you are taking the water out from the tank in order to remove the accumulated waste and debris on the gravel, you must always use your gravel vacuum. You must always remember to match the temperature and water chemistry of the tank while refilling the tank.

Quick Read: How to Setup A Fish Tank?

How to Clean Fish Tank Properly With the Help of Chemicals

Today, in stores, we come across many chemical products which are used for various purposes in the aquariums. There is a wide range of chemicals that are available in the market today, which assure us proper fish tank cleaning and other requirements of the tank and aquarium essentials.

They assure us that they are the perfectly designed products which can be used with no side effects for solving the different natural problems which arise in the tank. These chemicals for cleaning fish tank which are easily available in the market usually contain products like vitamin supplements, adjusters for pH level, blockers for ammonia, etc.

These products may appear to be a great solution for solving the water chemistry or water cleaning problems, they also bring with them some highly dangerous and unexpected side effects with them.

Adding any chemical to your water in the tank can unpredictably change the water quality and chemistry which can harm the fishes and their habitat to a great extent. Instead of adding these chemical products to your tanks, you must be cleaning a fish tank water when required and must always go for natural alternatives.

Also, Check Out Aquarium Heaters.

For eg in place of using an ammonia blocker chemical product, we can go for changing the water of the tank in order to remove the ammonia in the tank. You should make sure that the tank isn’t too crowded as because of which the fishes will produce waste even more quickly. Even before the bacterias will break it down.

Also, instead of giving vitamin supplements to your fishes, you may feed them with a good quality diet of live, frozen flake food. So, you must never risk your aquarium to acquire any negative side effect due to the chemicals by adding the chemical products into your tank.

How to Clean a Small Fish Tank and Their Maintenance

One of the most common and most popular myths of all times is that the aquarium maintenance of the smaller size tank is easier. It is also the most incorrect myth of all times. It may seem to be true that a smaller tank will require less maintenance than a larger one but when we really think upon it, we found out that this fact is completely a false truth.

In fact, the truth is that the larger is the size of the aquarium, the easier it becomes to maintain it and keep it clean. The reason behind this lies in the facts of water chemistry. As by the nitrogen cycle of an aquarium, we know that the more diluted the Concentration of nitrates is in the tank water, the less harmful it becomes for the fishes present in the tank. 

And a dilute solution refers to a solution in which there are more water and less nitrate. This will be possible if you have a larger tank size in which you can fill a large amount of water and this will eventually make the amount of nitrate in the solution less.

Whereas if the tank size is small the nitrate solution in the tank will become more concentrated i.e. the amount of nitrate will be more when compared to the amount of water due to the small size of the water tank.

Thus an aquarium with effectively large size is able to dilute harmful substances in a better way as compared to smaller tanks. Also, larger tanks provide you more space for errors than the smaller tanks. Also, the increased water volume will also give you a benefit of not changing the water more frequently as you do in smaller water tanks to cleaning fish tank water.

For Further Reading: Check Out Neon Tetra Fish(Care & Breeding Guide).



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *