Maintaining Your Tropical Fish Aquarium

Regular maintenance of your tropical fish tank will keep it looking beautfiul and keep the fish healthy.

Keeping your fish tank clean not only keeps it beautiful, it keeps your fish healthy and vibrant. It is important to clean your aquarium on a regular basis. You also have to change the filter media every two week or so. Here is a list of what you will need: New filter media Aquarium vacuum Algae sponge Algae scraper Bucket Water conditioner and dechlorinator ph test kit ph up or ph down Lots of paper towels

Vacuuming your Tropical Fish Tank

You will want to vacuum your tropical fish tank every month or so. This is important because you need to remove some of the fish waste and rotting food debris that collects in the rocks and at the bottom of the tank. You can purchase a vacuum at a pet supply store. Make sure that you get the correct size for your tank. They are inexpensive.

When you are ready to vacuum, get a bucket to collect the dirty water. Place the tube end of the vacuum into the bucket and the other into the tank. Pump it up and down several times quickly and you should get the siphon action started. Once that is going, place the head of the vacuum down into the rocks. Be careful not to harm your fish or plants if they are real. You will see all the dirt and muck come up through the vacuum. Make sure to keep your eyes on the bucket. Don't let it overflow.

You will want to empty out about a quarter to a third of the water in your aquarium. More than that is too much. Remember that you also need to keep a balance of good bacteria built up in the fish tank.

Water Changes

You should do a water change in your fish tank every week or two. You don't have to use the vacuum for this, but it is important to give your fish fresh water every couple of weeks. Again, do not change more than about a quarter of the water.


Once you have removed some of the water from the aquarium, you may have to scrub a little algae. If you don't have live plants, then you may not have any algae. But if you have live plants in your tropical fish tank, chances are that your light is on for longer periods of time and that you will have some algae build up.

I have two algae eaters in a fairly small tank and I still have algae build up in places. Get an algae sponge that is appropriate for your tank. If you have an acrylic tank, make sure that you do not get a sponge which is designed for glass. You will scratch it all up.

You may also want to buy an algae scraper. This can be easier to use. Again, you must be careful if you have a plastic tank. It can scratch, so be sure to buy the correct scraper. Even then you should be careful when you are cleaning your tropical aquarium.

Cleaning the Filter for your Fish Tank

You will also want to clean the filter for your aquarium. Change the media according to directions. Filters will vary with replacement media and size, but you will probably want to change the media ever couple of weeks. If you do not have a biowheel filter, then make sure not to replace all the media cartridges at once. Rotate which one you replace every week or so.

About once a month, you should remove and clean the whole filter for your fish tank. You will find that it gets mucky and less efficient when it is not clean. Carefully take it apart and rinse everything out. Make sure that you never use soap of any kind on anything related to tropical fish. It will kill them. So, rinse only.

Replace the filter with its fresh media when you are done. Leave it unplugged until there is enough water in the aquarium to keep it running without overheating.

Almost Done

Now that you are almost finished with the cleaning of your fish tank, make sure that you fix any plants that are out of place. Check that everything looks the way you want it to before replacing the water. If you have any live plants, pinch off any dead or rotting leaves or stems. These will pollute the water.

Replacing the Water

Now that every thing is all spruced up, you can replace the water. If your bucket has never been used with soap, you can use it to fill the tank back up. Remember not to use anything that has had soap in it as any residue is poisonous to your fish.

Before you pour any water back into your tropical fish tank, make sure that you have dechlorinated the water. You can do this by leaving it out over night, or by adding a drop or two of water conditioner. This is readily available in any pet supply store.

Keeping the Fish Healthy

Be sure to pour the water in gently so you do not disturb the rock, plants and fish. Your fish will be somewhat frightened by the whole process, so let them settle in and let the water clear up a bit before you feed them.

Make sure that you test the ph of the water in your fish tank. Unless you have specialty fish, it should be around 7.0. If it is too high or too low, your fish will not thrive. Adjust the ph to about 7.0. You can buy additives which will make the ph higher or lower. Be sure to adjust it slowly. Too much of a change will shock the fish and do them harm. You may have to bring the ph back in to range over several days if it is way off.

It's Beautiful!

Once you have finished, wipe the glass with paper towels and remove any spots from the glass. Dry the floor around your aquarium too, so that you don't slip. Make sure to put all chemicals away when you are done, so that they don't accidentally wind up somewhere they don't belong.

You may need to wait overnight, but soon enough your water will be crystal clear again. Some of the debris that you have just stirred up will be filtered out, or may have to settle back to the bottom.

Your fish tank will be so clean and crystal clear that you hardly believe the water is in there! Your fish will thank you by thriving and staying healthy. Your tropical aquarium is a showpiece once again.