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Guest Sheydence

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Guest Sheydence

I was just wondering a few things about cleaning my tank.I've looked through soo many posts in this topic and I haven't really seen anything related. Perhaps I just didnt search well enough. Anyway, I was wondering how I should clean my tank and how often. I've seen some posts against complete water changes, so I know not to do that, and I do a 10% water change every two days. (I'm in the process of finding a bigger tank, my fishes are dirty.) The sides get really slimy. I also have gravel at the bottom, and theres a lot of gross pieces of food and poop down there. How do I get it out? Well, basically, whats the process for cleaning a tank?

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if you have a larger tank or lots of gravel, you will want to buy a gravel vac. it is just a plastic tool that you can use to siphon water out of your tank that gets the junk out of your gravel at the same time. it's important to do this because the stuff in the gravel can be a breeding ground for bacteria that will make your fish sick. if you have less gravel or a barebottom tank, you may be able to get by with a piece of latex tubing (I'm using tubing from a bunsen burner. Don't worry, it was new. :D ), but you'll want to buy a gravel vac eventually. They're only $5-$12 for smaller ones. wallyworld has them for 7.50. It's cheep for how much good you're doing for your fish.

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Good questions, I don't think I've ever seen any really complete descriptions either.

One thing I can share - to clean the stuff in the gravel out, you can use a siphon. You can get one at a fish store.

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Here's the play by play of my water changing/ tank cleaning regimen. Basically, you can rest assured that large water changes are okay. I have a 30 gallon tank with only two little ranchu in it and it still gets really, really gross (my fault, I overfeed). Anyway, beneficial bacteria is stored in the filter, not in the water, so doing large water changes will not negatively affect your cycle. :)

* Test the water, use the level of nitrates to guide your water change. In other words, if nitrates are at 40 ppm, if you do a 50% water change, you should end up with a nitrate reading of 20 ppm. You don't want your nitrates to build over 40 ppm, if mine come anywhere near 20 ppm, I usually do at least 50-75% water change.

* Siphon the water out using a gravel vacuum. Make sure to get all the left over rotting food/ fish waste out from underneath the gravel. If you have small gravel that's fairly deep, alot of stuff can get stuck under there. It's really important to make sure to get all of this out regularly. I personally use river rocks in my tank, after previously using really deep gravel, and find it much easier to clean.

* While siphoning out the water, I wipe down the tank sides, lid and floor that's not covered with rocks with a algae cleaning sponge. I let the algae build up on the rocks, decorations and the back of the tank. Make sure when doing this, that you only wipe what is still under water. Some tanks, especially acrylic ones, scratch really easily.

* Rinse filter media with tank water removed from water change. Although this is really important, it really depends on what type of filter/ media you are using. I have both carbon cartridges and ceramic media in my filter. With each water change I rotate which cartridge I rinse out, usually I check to see which one is more "covered" in stuff, and clean that one. I leave my ceramic media untouched. Make sure you do not rinse your filter media with water from the tap. This will kill off your beneficial bacteria. I learned this the hard way and managed a tank for years that never really cycled.

* Add water to replace what you have taken out. Make sure water is PH and temperature matched so it doesn't stress out the fish. When pouring water back into your tank, try to not to pour directly on your fish. I find this to be a particular challenge, as my fish seem to love the waterfall and swim into the water as I pour... Hahah!

Sorry for the long post. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any additional questions. Regardless of our varied levels of experience, we're all here learning. :)

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Well I started to give my tank cleaning method, but after reading Desirees there is no need. I do exactly what she does (except for the alternating rinsing of the media. I don't use carbon).. And she worded everything better than I could have in a million years! : )

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Here is a link to an article here on Kokos about cleaning your aquarium:

How To Properly Clean Your Aquarium

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Well I started to give my tank cleaning method, but after reading Desirees there is no need. I do exactly what she does (except for the alternating rinsing of the media. I don't use carbon).. And she worded everything better than I could have in a million years! : )

You are too sweet CountryLovah! I'm just re-telling everything I've read from everyone elses posts, including yours! :)

Edited by Desiree
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Guest Sheydence

Thanks Desiree, thats exactly what I needed!

What do you need to test the water? can you get tests or whatever at any normal pet shop?

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I strongly recommend getting the API Master Test Kit. It's a drop test system that is really quite accurate. Don't waste your time/ money with the strips; they're really inaccurate and rather hard to read too. You should be able to find this at your local fish store, but if not, it's readily available online.

Here's the link:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod...amp;pcatid=4454

You may also want to invest in a KH/GH test, which doesn't come with the Master Kit, but is definitely needed if you ever have crazy PH problems (like I did)...

Here's the link:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod...mp;pcatid=13521

Oh, and I forgot to mention in my previous post; make sure to treat your water with dechlorinator. Most people around here recommend Prime (including myself), but I know some people also see good results with Amquel as well. :)

Edited by Desiree
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Well I started to give my tank cleaning method, but after reading Desirees there is no need. I do exactly what she does (except for the alternating rinsing of the media. I don't use carbon).. And she worded everything better than I could have in a million years! : )

Haha thats funny as there was no need for me to post either as I do almost exactly the same routine. Even down to the alternating rinses. I do use carbon in my filters though although I know many members don't. The new filter bags they have come out with are fused now instead of the ones with the little frames where you could take the carbon out and replace the filter bag. I can never get all of the carbon out and end up with little black bits floating around the top of the tank. I realize the carbon doesn't work after a while, but its just another place to let some bbs grow. :goodpost Desiree!

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Guest Sheydence

Well I finallly went out, bought the things I needed, and cleaned out my tank. Wow. That was difficult. First of all... the gravel vacuum I bought didnt work... Maybe I just didnt use it right... so I ended up moving my fishes and most of their water to my fishy bucket, and just cleaning all the gravel by hand. Oh!! to begin with, whenever I opened my tank my weather loach tried to escape.. so yeah, he got out abou 4 or 5 times and tried to wiggle away from me. It was like trying to catch a snake. He was so quick and kept trying to dart under things. andd I think I did something to my filter.. because I Don't think its working anymore... Ahhh. I think I need more practice. When I was little mommy or daddy always cleaned the tank while I 'babysat' the fishes, making sure they didnt escape.

On the bright side, its Thursday, which means that nnnnnn gets new fish in!!

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Well I finallly went out, bought the things I needed, and cleaned out my tank. Wow. That was difficult. First of all... the gravel vacuum I bought didnt work... Maybe I just didnt use it right... so I ended up moving my fishes and most of their water to my fishy bucket, and just cleaning all the gravel by hand. Oh!! to begin with, whenever I opened my tank my weather loach tried to escape.. so yeah, he got out abou 4 or 5 times and tried to wiggle away from me. It was like trying to catch a snake. He was so quick and kept trying to dart under things. andd I think I did something to my filter.. because I Don't think its working anymore... Ahhh. I think I need more practice. When I was little mommy or daddy always cleaned the tank while I 'babysat' the fishes, making sure they didnt escape.

On the bright side, its Thursday, which means that nnnnnn gets new fish in!!

With regard to the vacuum not "working," can you explain how you attempted to use it?

Removing all your water and cleaning your gravel by hand like you described could cause a bump or complete crash in your cycle. One good way of getting a lot of gunk out of your gravel without disrupting anything is to get one hand in there and move/stir the gravel around really well so that the gunk starts swirling around in the water, then swoosh your net back and forth from one side to the other to capture everything. You'll be surprised how much stuff you can get out that way. Do this before you change any water. Then do your water change. After the water is poured in, it may dislodge any uncaught gunk, so be ready to net anymore floating gunk you may see.

Next, regarding your filter. How has it "stopped working?" Can you hear motor noise? If you can't, then I would definitely say that the filter is no longer working, but if you can, perhaps you unseated your impeller or perhaps something is plugged up.

Edited by Lynda Von G
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