One of the less fun things about an aquarium? You have to clean it regularly and change the water. Especially when you’re a bit lazy like me 🙂
I recently came across this interesting video by professional aquascaper George Farmer:
George gives some tips on how to clean and maintain your aquarium. Let’s have a detailed look at this video and find out how we can clean our tank like a true aquascaping pro.
Switch off the aquarium filter & clean all the parts
The first thing you need to do when cleaning your aquarium is switch off your filter. This is necessary because the water level will drop sharply, which may cause your filter to suck in air and damage the pump or filter in the long run. Next, you can remove the lily pipes or the plastic filter inlets and outlets. Here’s a nice little trick: push the hose upwards, this breaks the “seal” after which the hose will easily slide off the glass or plastic. This will reduce the risk of you breaking your glassware.
Next, use a tube brush to clean the inside under running water; you can scrub off the outside with some filter wool. Are the pipes nice and clean? Then do the same with the filter hoses and reconnect everything to the filter.
Clean the bottom of the aquarium without causing a mess
Does your aquarium have a lot of dirt left on the bottom? This can also cause problems, blue-green algae for example. If you watch George Farmer’s video closely, you will see how he cleans his bottom. He does not put the siphon hose in the bottom (as some brands recommend), but moves the hose about 1cm above the soil. Meanwhile, he makes the dirt blow up and it is then siphoned off.
This is an extremely efficient way to clean the bottom or soil of your tank without disturbing your aquascape.
Algae? Dead leaves? Remove them
Do you have algae in your aquarium? It is important to quickly remove all algae during aquarium maintenance in order to prevent them from damaging your plants and make an ugly mess of your scape. Thread algae can be removed with an old toothbrush, while BBA will literally have to be plucked or trimmed away. Blue-green algae can also be siphoned off to prevent it from spreading.
If you notice that some plants have some unsightly leaves, e.g. yellow leaves, holes, algae, … then I recommend removing them with a pair of good aquarium scissors. That way, the plant can put all its energy into growing new, healthy leaves.
A good water change does wonders
Water changes do wonders for an aquascape.
The reason for this is simple: you siphon off a lot of waste products and at the same time you reintroduce a lot of minerals for your plants. The amount of CO2 & oxygen also gets a spike for a while, which is good for your fish and plants.
Take a look back at George Farmer’s video, at the end of the video you can see how much water he changes: about 50%! So don’t be afraid to perform very large water changes, it will help to improve your aquascape.
Got an old tooth brush? Put it to good use …
While you’re topping up your aquarium with clean water, you can do some quick tasks:
- Use an old tooth brush to clean the edges of your aquarium and to remove algae from glass, hardscape and decoration;
- Remove limescale spots from your aquarium glass with some vinegar;
- Use filter wool or the tooth brush to remove brown algae or green spot algae;
- If you have a drop checker, clean it and replace the drop checker indicator mix.
Finally, remove all the stuff that is floating on the water surface. There, done! Now you know how to clean your aquarium and keep it clean.
Got more tips? Let me know in the comments below.