Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance: Keep Your Freshwater Aquarium Clean!

Freshwater aquarium maintenance seems to be a real challenge for many tank owners.  Especially when you don’t know where to start when it comes to maintenance issues that may come up unexpectedly!

How to Keep That Water Clean

You know you’re tired of looking at dirty water.  Well, so are your fish!

The best thing that you can do to get clean aquarium water is to get a power filter.  This type of filter will literally self-clean your tank for you.  The power filter uses a chemical system to filter out discolored water, odor, dirt and waste matter, besides impurities, for you.

With a power filter, it needs to be changed every three to four weeks.  But that’s so much easier than to keep taking the filter to the sink and cleaning it out by hand.  The filter’s easy to replace and dispose of.

How to Deal with Algae

Yes, algae.  Considered one of the worst things to look at that can ruin the appearance of your beautiful freshwater tank.  Fortunately, getting rid of algae can be relatively easy and natural!

It can be done with a special kind of fish called an otocinclus!  Its’ nickname is the algae eater, and he does the job.  He may not be the best looking fish on the block, but it doesn’t matter.  He will keep your aquarium clean!  And he has a neat little personality to boot.

If you can’t find these “Algae Eaters”, or you don’t want to get one, the only other answer is to get rid of the algae by hand.  There are all sorts of tools and algae scrapers on the internet and in specialty fish stores.

Another thing to know is that algae loves the sun.  So if your aquarium is in the sunlight for even an hour or two every day, the algae will love it and treat you to lots of it.  The moral of the story is to keep your aquarium in the shade.

How Does Your Tank Smell?

If your aquarium does have a strong smell, that’s bad.  Be sure to change your filter more often to make sure this doesn’t happen.  A strong odor means something’s wrong, and this can hurt your fish, your tank, and even kill the fish if the problem is left untreated.  Healthy fish won’t live in a toxic environment like this.

The Water’s Not Clear!

A sure sign of overfeeding!  Freshwater fish only need to be fed 2 – 3 times a day.  And don’t feed them more than they can eat in 3 – 5 minutes each time.  The cloudy water issue should clear up shortly.

If this doesn’t solve the cloudy water problem, them buy distilled water at your grocery store.  It’s really cheap and available almost anywhere.

How Often to Change the Water?

At the most, change the water every other week.  Every week is even better.  But–you only need to replace about 20% of the tank water.  It’s easiest to use a siphon to remove the water from the tank.  Put one end of the siphon/hose into the aquarium, and such the air out of the hose on the other end.

Have a pail ready when the water starts flowing for it to drain into.  Then add your new water to the tank.  In addition to this, once a month, you’ll want to clean your aquarium.

How Do I Clean My Aquarium?

Use an extra-clean sponge, one only used to clean your aquarium, to scrub the insides of the aquarium walls.  Gently rub to get scum off the sides.  An aquarium or algae scraper can be used, too, but be careful about using this on acrylic aquariums, as it can scratch.

Also take out any decorations.  Clean these up with the sponge, with hot water and a little salt.  But don’t use any soap!  Soap can kill your fish, so make sure that no residue of any cleaning agents gets on your decorations.

You can even use a gravel vacuum to suck out the waste and old food from the bottom of the tank.  These are pretty nifty and come in all sorts of sizes for different size tanks.  The vacuum will come with instructions, and they all operate a little differently, but they’re easy to use.

Last But Not Least…

One big secret you’ll need to know is to keep the temperature of the new water that you’re adding at the same temperature as the water already in the tank.  Fish don’t like temperature fluctuations.

Something else to consider is your tap water.  Fish don’t like it.  You can heat a five to ten gallon pan of distilled water to the right temperature.  Or visit your local fish store for additives to your tap water to take out the chlorine and other chemicals.