Regular water changes are one of the most important aspects of maintaining good water quality. For live plant tanks, weekly changes are best to replace trace elements lost. In a marine or freshwater aquarium with a good filtration system, water changes can be done monthly and are generally used for reducing the amount of nitrates in the water.
Here's 10 easy steps to maximize your freshwater tank cleaning while reducing the stress on your marine life.
- Unplug the heater.
- Remove artificial plants and decorations, and clean algae off all sides of the aquarium.
- Disconnect the filter and take it to the sink.
- Clear the filter and decorations, while letting debris settle in the tank.
- Connect a gravel cleaner - such as Python No Spill or Clean N' Fill - to the sink and turn on water to start up siphon, or use Mr. Cleaner and a bucket. Push the gravel cleaner into gravel all the way to the bottom, and leave there as debris rises. Continue until the water starts to clear, then either pinch the tubing or partially close the valve to let the gravel fall back down. Lift the gravel-cleaning tube out of the gravel and push it back down right next to the last section you just cleaned.
- It's time to stop when the water level drops to between 1/4 and 1/3 the depth of the tank. If you did not get through cleaning all of the gravel, you can start where you left off with the next water change.
- Take the temperature reading in the tank, then go to the sink and adjust water temperature to match. This is a very important (but often overlooked) step! Adding a different temperature water can unnecessarily stress the fish, making them more susceptible to diseases such as Ich.
- Flip the faucet pump and pour water back into the tank to original levels. While the tank is filling, add some dechlorinator if you have chlorine in your water source.
- Replace your decorations and reconnect filter.
- Plug in the heater.