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Fishtank Aquarium Cleaning Time | Home Fish Aquarium Guide

Home Fish Aquarium Guide

Fishkeeping Information and Resources for the Home Aquarium



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Fishtank Aquarium Cleaning Time


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I have a confession to make with regards to our fishtank/aquarium. I’ve been a bad fish pet owner! It’s been easily 2 months (maybe 3) since I cleaned the fishtank / aquarium. I know frequent water changes and cleaning are important. It’s been busy and frankly where we have it placed it’s not the easiest to get at for cleaning. Plus, we have a toddler and getting the testing chemicals out is best done when he’s in the crib/playpen and well…. yes there are a lot of excuses, but it just hasn’t been done. Amazingly! EVERYTHING tested at 0. Ammonia is at zero, nitrites at zero, even nitrates are at their lowest level the chart reads which is 0 mg/l. I guess there could be a tinge of orange coloring so it’s below 12.5 mg/l. I really credit our plants for that. In fact, some of the plants are starting to lose their green leaves and I had to start by cleaning out some of those dead leaves.

The amazon sword plant is the one that has lost the most leaves. The Amazon sword leaves have gotten kind of transparent. There are a lot of smaller leaves coming on that are a nice rich green so I think it is healthy. I guess our fish just isn’t producing enough fertilizer. Yes, I said fish singular. Sometime in the last couple of months our more passive shy fish Coral Jr. disappeared. I suspect ultimately he was eaten by Peanut as Peanut has been very aggressive with the smaller fish and had made Coral’s life rather hectic. I haven’t found ANY remains at this point. I have wondered if maybe I hadn’t fed enough. The first time we had the fish tank I thought part of my mistake had been over feeding and really didn’t want to repeat that.

So, I pruned the dead leaves and removed some of the filligree frill which had covered up with a bit of debris and looked like it was dead. I cleaned up a few sprigs of the filligree that were still green and replaced them into the tank after the cleaning. The java moss needs another pass of cleaning. There is a covering of some reddish (algae?) that had bloomed at one point and I just can’t seem to get rid of entirely.

Of course in many ways this is good news that the tank is really fairly self sustaining with the only addition being food and topping off with water from time to time. The filter has been working. We do have a UGF (Under gravel filter) and so one of my concerns in cleaning was to really dig the vacuum down into the gravel and make SURE that I dislodged debris and such there that could lead to dangerous compounds in the gravel.

Peanut of course was zipping back and forth like made during all of this but really seemed to like once I got things cleaned and refilled the water. I try to gauge the temperature of the refill water by what I feel like the tank temperature felt like. It’s very imprecise, but I figure if I can get it close the temperature of what’s left in the tank will help to balance and buffer a few degrees variation.

Of course, this was a BIG cleaning and I wound up changing about 50% of the water just because it took that much to get the gravel thoroughly cleaned. Next pass though I may make another 50% change again in the next couple days just so I can make sure that I really got the gravel good and clean. Plus I want to go back and replace the floss that I’ve used in the undergravel filter chamber.

The Java fern had a few dead leaves and a few little plantlets sprouting that I’ve replaced into the tank. I really love the java fern for this. It’s cool to see the little plants break free and float through the tank. They separated really easily from the parent plant and I used the leaf to help anchor them in the gravel where possible but I think I left a couple free floating. Still no evidence of Coral Jr.s demise. (To tell the truth we saw him VERY infrequently for a while. He just seemed so stressed out by Peanut that I had postponed cleanings in part because of the reluctance to disturb him. Then, after a long stretch of not seeing Coral…. well I figured that he was gone, looked everywhere and didn’t see ANYTHING and then put off the cleaning because I really didn’t want to confirm what I knew.)

I’m also noticing that there is a lot that I can do here to flesh out the site a bit. I see that I’ve started a couple of areas that I just haven’t seen to completion. I’m surprised but there do seem to be people stopping by in spite of the lack of content here. I hope to get back to add some good stuff here in the near future though! I want to make sure I’ve logged everything about our tank that we learned during the cycling process because I really picked up on some great tips that I will use again the next time we start out a fishtank / aquarium.

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September 6, 2009 - 5:29 PM
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