How to clean a fish tank

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Fish are easy to take care of since you don’t need to walk or play with them. However, you do need to clean their fish tank every couple of weeks.
You know it’s time to clean the fish tank when the water starts to appear murky. Express.co.uk explains how to clean a fish tank.

If you take a look into the tank and see uneaten food or waste floating around, there’s no time to waste.

Changing this water is essential because you need to remove waste, dirt and other toxic elements.

Old water will be too alkaline for your fish, and changing it regularly allows you to control the pH levels to ensure the water is safe for your fish.

If you don’t clean your fish tank, you’re putting your fishes lives at risk.

Not cleaning the tank exposes your fish to ammonia, nitrates and nitrites and this can eventually kill your fish.

You may spot behavioural changes and differences in your fishes’ appearance if the water is too dirty.

For example, they may lose weight or stop eating.

Or their colour may change, and they may move about less.

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How to clean a fish tank

First things first, unplug your tank from the plug socket and any other electrical items connected to the tank.

Take the lid off the tank and wipe it down, putting it to the side while you get the job done.

Scoop some water from the tank into a large container to keep your fish in while you’re cleaning.

Remove your fish from the tank with a fishing net and put them in the spare container.

Use an algae scraper to scrub the tank walls and the lid.

If you have algae on your decorations, rocks, or plants in the tank then you’ll need to clean these too.

You can use a clean toothbrush to brush it off in the sink.

If they are absolutely covered in algae, use a mix of water and two percent chlorine bleach to scrub them.

Live plants need to be trimmed and pruned.

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To get rid of the water, use a siphon and take out no more than half of the water from the tank.

Ideally, take out about a third of the water.

The tank water should be fed into a large bucket.

Vacuum away debris, fish waste, uneaten food, dead leaves, gravel, sand, and everything you can.

The water level will drop so you need to top it up again with treated water.

Cleaning the filter is absolutely essential because it will be full of waste.

Swish it around the water in the bucket if you have a hang-on-back, canister or corner box filter.

If you have a sponge filter, remove the foam and wring it into the bucket of old water.

Pop the filter back in its place, but leave it off for now.

When you refill the tank, make sure the clean water matches the temperature of the water in the tank.

You don’t need a special tool to do this, your hands can detect temperatures within one or two degrees.

Simply adjust the tap until it feels pretty much the same temperature as the water in the tank.

Dispose of the old tank water and use the bucket to transport the new tap water to the tank.

Add liquid fertiliser and root tabs for the substrate if you like.

Turn the tank back on and put your fish back in their rightful home.

The tank may still look a little dirty, but this will improve about an hour after you turn the heater and filter back on.

The remaining debris will drop to the bottom of the tank or get sucked up into the filter.

Give the glass an extra wipe on the outside walls using aquarium-safe glass and acrylic cleaner.

Dust away any dirt on the lid, light, and stand. That’s it!

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