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How to keep a freshwater aquarium clean?

Discussion in 'FreshWater Beginner Information/Questions' started by EpicFail, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. EpicFail

    EpicFail New Fish

    Feb 19, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Hey everyone,
    My question says it all. I'm confused about the cleaning process. Do I've to clean the whole tank and fill the tank with new water or should I only change 50% of the water? How do I clean the gravel? Please explain to me.

  2. Whiskers

    Whiskers Large Fish

    Feb 29, 2008
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    yes i would clean gravel every week. once you get the syphon to draw water push the tube into the gravel and let it draw the waste up and out. of course move it around to loosen up the waste and try to go through all the gravel. as you are doing this its removing water and when you see that you have removed about 25% water or so i would stop. if you didn't get all of grave then you know you need to move faster to clean more of it or maybe clean twice a week . depending on tank size the more or less time you have to clean. any way get your prepared (conditioned) water whether or not you have in bucket or from tap (which if you use tap make sure you test it to see the quality of it) make sure it is about the same temp and refill.

    i use a python and hook it to the faucet and i know the prams of my tap water and only changing 25% water it doesn't have too much effect on the tank. the more water you change the more the water is affected. hope that gives you a little idea what to do.
  3. PCFishGuy

    PCFishGuy Medium Fish

    Dec 25, 2008
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    Please do not confuse "Cleaning" the gravel in the strictest sense. More accurately you will be Vacuuming the gravel, The more often you perform this, the less it will take, Mainly due to practice, and far less buildup. My personal take is to not attempt to clean ALL the gravel in one setting as this will upset the biologics of the tank, pick a section and work it lightly, i have heard of a simple stir and siphon method, The insert the vacuum into the gravel and let the gravel fall back into place etc, which ever way works for you.
    How much is again person preference, but i would base it on overall tank size.
    Smaller tanks i would do very small areas. The reasoning behind this is a smaller tank will react much quicker to any disturbance making it very touchy, 30g and above are very tolerant of minor mistakes, but take major action when something does go wrong.

    Use the Vacuuming process as your water change as well.
    Vacuum until you have removed no more than 10% - 25% or your water by volume. How often, again...... well you got it figured out by now right?

    Personal preference UNLESS you do the following

    Heavy dosing of Ferts. EI dosing etc etc etc, then 25% water changes weekly are mandatory to reset the Nutrient levels.

    Heavy Fish load, or Medium fish load and NO plants, again water changes in higher quantities are mandatory to remove built up Nitrates which can become toxic to fish if allowed to build up to high.

    Specific Fish IE Goldfish, Discus, again larger weekly water changes due to increased Fish "output" more pollutants in the substrate etc.

    Always make sure you pre-treat the replacement water.

    And remember everyones methods are their methods, it does not make the right and it does not make them wrong, just person preference. How much and how often will always be unique to your tank unless the person who's advice or method you try and duplicate is
    Just down the block from you, has the exact same fish and the exact same setup.

    Other than that How much and how often is yours and yours alone.
    But the above are some guidelines to use to make your own decision.

    I am sure i missed a few, so i trust some others will chime in as well
    for me i run a heavily planted 55g tank, and use the Avalon Fert method. so my water changes are based on evaporation, and basic cleaning, 3 to 5 gallons per week. I also used the silent cycle method to cycle my tank so accumulations have very natural in appearance to the Flora & Fauna, and build up is very very low, now granted the fish load is low as well currently. and as it ramps up, and plant growth increases so will the maintenance.
    I expect my water changes to remain steady at around 3 - 6 gal on a bi weekly or longer schedule. My goal is to achieve a monthly regime with as small an impact as possible on the entire biosphere as possible.

    YMMV these are simply my goals
    #3 PCFishGuy, Feb 26, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  4. sombunya

    sombunya Large Fish

    Jul 25, 2008
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    Good advice from both posters here, I think.

    My Bluegills are messy and I feed them a lot too. Put that together and I'm vacuuming and doing 25% water changes twice a week.
  5. TMony

    TMony Large Fish

    Nov 16, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Whiskers & PCFishGuy have it covered . . . good advice
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