Originally Posted by GoneFishin
So I have been dreading cleaning the tank lately, not sure if its algae or what but there is a constant brown grime all over my plants and decor.. I know the glass is the most common area for this type of cleaning. My question to all of you vets is, what are your tips for keeping the plants and decor clean? I do the water changes and when i wash my filter I do it in the water I removed from the tank. Any and all tips are helpful and needed lol. Thanks everyone!
I don't know about real plants, but for plastic plants, rocks and decor, you can run them through your dishwasher with a cup or two of white vinegar. Rocks go on the bottom and plastics go up top. If you can, switch it to air dry just in case something finds it's way down to the heating coil.
Some ney sayers may say 'oh no, the dishwasher has had soap in it and that is bad'. Well if your dish washer isn't working and your dishes come out soapy, then okay maybe - otherwise, your dishwasher rinses very well. Others may think that your plastic plants and decor may not be dishwasher safe.
Water boils at 212F at sea level. Nearly all plastics have transitional melt points of 400F or higher - no worries. Others will say that you will destroy the biology keeping your water well managed. Well, yes, any bacteria on the crudy looking decor will be sacrificed to rejuvenate the decor...oh well. There should be enough bacteria in gravel and filter to compensate.
As for the glass, I like the glass cleaning magnets as long as you do it frequently enough. Otherwise you'll need an algae brush, used before your water change. So here's the routine...
> Turn off your filter(s) and heater.
> Pull the plastic plants, rocks and decor and load them in the (otherwise empty) dishwasher with a cup or two of white vinegar and start it up.
> Get out your glass magnets or scrubber and get the inside glass looking good.
> Get in there with the gravel siphon and remove your 20-25% of water.
> Check service filter(s) media as required. At some interval, filter(s) should be totally cleaned with attention to impeller and housing.
> Draw your tab water with the appropriate (78~F) temperature and treat for chlorine as required.
> Slowly add the water to bring the water back to normal level.
> Restart filter(s) and heater.
> When the dishwasher completes, remove and inspect. If still hot, rinse in cool water if needed.
> Redecorate the tank.
> Carefully clean the outside glass. Do not spray glass cleaner on the glass, but rather on the paper towel away from the aquarium...you might also use a micro fiber towel and may not need any cleaner at all.
> Feed the fish (perhaps a treat like frozen brine shrimp) to thank them for their patience in the process.
> Draw a cold refreshing beverage and admire your job well done!
Footnote: the decor may only need the dw treatment once a month or as required - most likely not weekly like nearly everything else in the above procedure.