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How to Keep Your Fish Tank Clean and Hospitable

by Shark Clean
on 13th February 2018

Having an aquarium in your home may be lots of fun and a source of relaxation, but it’s important to keep it clean and in a good state of repair. A dirty fish tank can affect the health of the fish that live in it, and in serious cases, lead to their death.

In order to keep your fish tank spotless, you need to have a strict cleaning schedule in place. And as well having the necessary tools for the job, you also need to be prepared to use lots of elbow grease when the time comes.

To keep your aquarium in tip-top condition, here are a few cleaning tips you should follow.

Monitor pH levels at all times

If the water in your tank becomes excessively acidic or alkaline, there is a chance that your fish will die prematurely. But if you act quickly to balance the pH levels in your fish tank, you should be able to give the fish in it the best chance possible of a long life. Either using a chemical test kit or an electronic pH tester (both of which you can buy from a major pet store), test the water in your tank every other day.

Adjust the pH level where necessary

If you need to increase the pH level of the water in your tank, a good way of doing it is to add a teaspoon of baking powder for every five gallons of water. Remove the fish from the tank, and add the appropriate amount of baking soda. Stir the water, and then retest the pH level. Only when the level is between 5.6 and 8 should you return the fish to the tank.


If the pH level of the water needs to be lowered, the easiest method is to add some peat moss into a mesh bag and place it inside the filter. Other methods include increasing CO2 levels and increasing aeration.

Change the filter regularly

The filter in your fish tank removes the general nastiness that can create toxins. As a simple rule of thumb, aim to change your filter every two weeks, but never leave it longer than four. Try to perform a 25% water change every time you change the filter too.

Keep on top of algae and general gunk

Cleaning your fish tank should be a daily job, and not something you leave until the end of the month. Between filter and water changes, remove algae and gunk with scrubbers and other fish cleaning tools you can buy from your local pet store.

Minimise disruption to your fish

Every time you remove your fish from their tank, they will experience distress — which can be fatal. Only remove them when it’s absolutely necessary, and take great care in doing so. Transfer your fish using dedicated nets, and place them in a sterilised bucket containing some of the existing tank water.

Clean the gravel and replenish water

Use a siphon or a dedicated gravel cleaner to “vacuum” the gravel until you’ve removed around a quarter of the water. When you replenish the water, make sure it’s clean and pretreated (with the right pH level). You should also ensure that the new water is the same temperature as the water in the tank.


If you want to make things easy, you can buy some pretreated water from your local pet store. Alternatively, you can treat tap water with a dedicated conditioner.

Cycle your tank

The process of “cycling” involves the introduction of healthy bacteria in your tank’s filtration system. If you ever have to replace a faulty filtration system, you will need to cycle it before re-introducing your fish. This is a crucial part of keeping deadly toxins to a minimum. There are several ways to cycle a tank, including the use of store-bought ammonia or the introduction of starter fish.

Set up a spare tank once a year

Once a year, set up a spare tank from scratch, and transfer all your fish to it once it has been cycled and the pH and temperature levels are ideal. This is your opportunity to deep clean your tank — although you should avoid the use of household cleaning products. Instead, use a steam cleaner to remove grime and algae. This should also kill the vast majority if potentially harmful bacteria in your tank.

A strict schedule of cleaning and maintenance should keep your fish happy and healthy at all times.


Shark Clean

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