how to clean a tank the right way? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 15 Old 03-23-2009, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
New Member
 
how to clean a tank the right way?

Hi
I have had my 20 gallon tank for about a week now and need to do a water change. I have my siphon and bucket. My question is how to clean the tank the right way? I want to know step by step instructions on how to do it the right way. Also is it alright to leave the fish in the tank while doing this? Do i add chemicals while there in there?
Tundra9 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 Old 03-23-2009, 10:05 AM
Member
 
Byron's Avatar
 
You leave the fish in during water changes. Hold the siphon just above the gravel so it disturbs the top of the gravel layer a bit and move slowly around the tank (you'll soon get the feel of this). If you have live plants, don't uproot them. Remove 1/4 to 1/3 of the water, no more. Fill a bucket with fresh water--make sure you add water conditioner to the new water (conditioners work instantly), and it should be the same temperature or very slightly cooler, and the same or close pH and hardness. The pH and hardness is normally not an issue unless your tank is buffered to be drastically different from the tap water. Siphon the new water in, and there you are.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
Byron is offline  
post #3 of 15 Old 03-23-2009, 11:35 AM
Member
 
JohnnyD44's Avatar
 
If you have a gravel subtrate subtrate, you can just shove the siphon into the gravel, this will help remove fish waste and detritis....but becareful around your plants
JohnnyD44 is offline  
post #4 of 15 Old 03-23-2009, 12:04 PM
Member
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyD44 View Post
If you have a gravel subtrate subtrate, you can just shove the siphon into the gravel, this will help remove fish waste and detritis....but becareful around your plants
Fully agree, but in a brand new setup I would suggest not being too thorough; the detrius will help the biological cycling. And if there are plants, this stuff is fertilizer. Once the tank is fully cycled (8+ weeks) you can be more thorough, but still no need to get everything. I dig down in the gravel substrate in the open areas but never near plants.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
Byron is offline  
post #5 of 15 Old 03-23-2009, 12:59 PM
Member
 
Tyyrlym's Avatar
 
A couple other things. If you have a hang on back filter it's a good idea to swish the filter cartridges in the old tank water you siphon out to clean them. Additionally before doing any vacuuming I'd recommend doing any algae scrapping from the glass you're going to do.

Tetra Fanatic
Watch my tank progress from Craigslist salvage to fishy habitat: Aaron's Tank
The only things that happen quickly in an aquarium are bad things.
Tyyrlym is offline  
post #6 of 15 Old 03-23-2009, 01:00 PM
Member
 
1077's Avatar
 
Informative responses. I might also suggest that in a week old tank, to not clean or replace the filter material for this too harbors the beneficial bacteria. I would rinse the filter material out in old aquarium water that I took out during the water changes and stick it back in.
TY,, Seems we were both posting at same time. Anyhoo,, I second Ty's suggestion in regards to filter material.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.

Last edited by 1077; 03-23-2009 at 01:03 PM.
1077 is offline  
post #7 of 15 Old 03-23-2009, 01:03 PM
Member
 
Tyyrlym's Avatar
 
Oh, yeah. Very true, only a week in I wouldn't touch the filter at all. Not until the tank has fully cycled or until no more water is flowing through the media.

Tetra Fanatic
Watch my tank progress from Craigslist salvage to fishy habitat: Aaron's Tank
The only things that happen quickly in an aquarium are bad things.
Tyyrlym is offline  
post #8 of 15 Old 03-23-2009, 01:13 PM
Member
 
Fishin Pole's Avatar
 
I agree with Byron, dont use a substrate vac/syphon for at least the first 3 months of your new tank...........It would have to be really dirty for me to try to suck the stuff up before 3 months time, i believe by then the tank should be stable enough that losing some of the beneficial bacteria wont have such a big impact.........Having plants will help breakdown some of what is in the gravel, but not all of it.........
Fishin Pole is offline  
post #9 of 15 Old 03-23-2009, 01:20 PM
Member
 
Tyyrlym's Avatar
 
Most of your beneficial bacteria will be in the filter. Waiting three months to clean your gravel would be counter productive in my opinion. The material in the gravel will be rotting away, adding more and more ammonia to the system. While you shouldn't go crazy with the vac while the tank is cycling waiting three months to vac at all is going too far in the other direction. At most gently vac a third to a half the gravel at any one time.

Tetra Fanatic
Watch my tank progress from Craigslist salvage to fishy habitat: Aaron's Tank
The only things that happen quickly in an aquarium are bad things.
Tyyrlym is offline  
post #10 of 15 Old 03-23-2009, 01:44 PM
Member
 
Fishin Pole's Avatar
 
I must disagree, i have a tetra tank thats been running for 2 years and i have only cleaned the substrate once in that time..........The water is crystal clear, never had an ammonia spike or mini cycle and the only thing laying on the substrate is leaf matter (which i pick out with my hands)..........Enough plants and they use the excess detrius for food..........I have lost only one fish in this tank over the last 2 years............There is also beneficial bacteria living in your substrate, not just your filter media, and considering people are gonna change that more than your substrate, disturbing the bacteria in the substrate in the first few months is asking for a problem that can be avoided IMO.....As long as your ammonia and nitrites are in check, i dont mess with the substrate for the first few months.......
Fishin Pole is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A clean tank Tracy Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 1 12-19-2006 09:38 PM
A clean tank Tracy DIY Aquarium 3 11-19-2006 06:17 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome