Novice aquarists often encounter problems when caring for an aquarium. Lack of knowledge, overfeeding, and improper placement leads to serious consequences. Then you will learn how to clean the aquarium, what tools are used and whether it is possible to facilitate the process with the help of catfish and snails.
Why and how often you need to clean the aquarium
Any aquarium is a closed ecosystem of various scales that needs human intervention. In nature, the waste products of some organisms become food for others, but at home it is impossible to provide such a chain.
For this reason, beginners and experienced aquarists should regularly clean the aquarium, no matter what volume it has, how many fish or plants it has, salt water or fresh water.
In small aquariums, the volume of which is less than 50 liters, any wrong action leads to problems, so cleaning is carried out several times a month, and in case of diseases in fish, water turbidity, film formation on the surface, you have to solve the problem every day balance.
How to clean the aquarium at home
Consider the proper cleaning of the elements of the aquarium using special tools and living organisms.
The glass on the inside should be cleaned regularly, since green algae will always appear on it. The problem is that the light wavelength that triggers algae growth is also suitable for aquarium plants. If you replace a lamp, all greens will perish. For this reason, not to do without cleaning the glass.
The following results in the rapid growth of green algae:
- fish overfeeding;
- too strong light or daylight duration more than 8–12 hours;
- wrong location of the aquarium in which sunlight hits it.
- Scrapers. They are a razor with 1 blade and a long handle. Allows you to remove any growths of algae, including the "black beard." However, experienced aquarists rarely get a scraper for the reason that it is very hard to scratch the glass, and when cleaning the corners, you can accidentally cut the sealant, which will lead to the flow of the aquarium.
- Magnetic double-sided washcloths. A safe, but rather expensive device that allows you to simultaneously clean the outer and inner glass. The main disadvantage is the low cleaning rate, as well as the inability to remove a strong deposit. The quality of cleaning depends on the thickness of the glass and the strength of the magnets, so magnetic scourers cannot be called an ideal device.
- Dishwashing sponges. Cheap and practical option for cleaning glass. Sponge can remove the weak and the average plaque from the inside, do it quickly and without damage to the surface. The quality will depend on the force of pressing and the presence of a sponge dense layer, which resembles felt. It is important to remember that some products are soaked in special formulations that prevent the reproduction of dangerous microorganisms, so these sponges can harm the aquarium.
Cleaning the soil and scenery
Waste from fish, shrimps, snails, as well as other inhabitants of the aquarium accumulate in the ground.
If there are a large number of different plants in the aquarium that absorb nutrients from the substrate, then we can talk about partial balance. But if living plants are absent, then the accumulated waste begins to poison the water, which has to be changed more and more often.
In nature, no one is engaged in soil cleaning, but it should be understood that the density of fish and living plants does not correspond to the same indicators at home. For this reason, we should not forget about regular cleaning of the substrate, which is silted up and then covered with green algae.
To remove waste products from the ground, a special aquarium siphon is used. It is a long hose, at one end of which there is a pear with a valve, and at the other – an expanding tip. Siphon allows you to remove waste not only from the surface of the soil, but also from its thickness.
Siphon performs the following functions:
- removes waste products;
- deletes the remains of a forage, rotten leaves of plants;
- allows you to quickly remove dead fish and crustaceans;
- turns the substrate particles, excluding siltation.
Cleaning the scenery
The scenery includes various houses, shells, ships, artificial plants. They are covered with algal bloom, and can also accumulate waste, so they should be cleaned from time to time.
Cleaning is carried out outside the aquarium. The scenery is carefully taken out, and then washed with warm water. Next, take the usual baking soda and washcloth, then remove the existing residue. At the end, re-rinse under warm running water and return to the aquarium.
Video: how to clean aquarium decorations Baking soda allows you to remove plaque, as well as kill dangerous microorganisms. Moreover, if the soda gets into the aquarium water (in small quantities), then the fish and other inhabitants will not get poisoned.
The filter is an integral part of the aquarium, as it allows you to remove large contaminants from the water, as well as waste. Regardless of the size of the filter and its design, colonies of beneficial microorganisms settle in the surface of the porous washcloth, which provide biological cleaning of the fluid, so frequent filter purging leads to imbalance.
- internal (located in the water column);
- external (located outside the aquarium);
- mounted (suspended from the board of the aquarium).
The filter must be cleaned only when it is dirty. Submersible devices become clogged very quickly, which is easy to determine by the speed of water flow. If the filter also provides aeration, then if the porous washcloth is very dirty, air bubbles do not enter the water column, and a film may form on the surface.
The external filter is an independent unit. In which there are several balls of cleaning, passing them, the water is cleaned; The internal filter is immersed in the aquarium itself, where it filters the water by passing it through itself.
Internal filters are most often cleaned once a month. The filter surface design can be opened at any time to assess the degree of contamination.
Hinged filters do not differ in large size, so clog up as quickly as internal counterparts. It is also possible to assess the degree of contamination by the flow rate of the water that leaves the device.
Sequence of actions when cleaning the filter.
- Turn off the device.
- Carefully remove the filter from the aquarium or do the same with the inlet and outlet hose of the external filter.
- Completely disassemble the filter, including the removal of the moving part.
- Rinse all parts of the device in warm water using a washcloth and soda.
- In a separate container, rinse the filtering surfaces without using soda or detergent.
- Assemble the filter and check its operation before placing it in the aquarium.
Video: how to clean the filter in the aquarium
Replacing aquarium water
The water in the aquarium should be changed regularly, regardless of the number of fish and the volume of water.
Replacement is required because the organisms in the process of vital activity release ammonia, which damages the respiratory system of fish, causing illness and death.
- Partial water change. It is held no more than once a week and at least once a month. 25–30% of the total volume is removed, after which fresh, settled water of room temperature is poured.
- Big water change. Removed from 40 to 70% of the total. This is carried out only in case of a catastrophic deterioration of the composition of the water or in the event of diseases in fish.
- Restart. Replacing all the water in the aquarium with a new one. It is extremely rare, since you are destroying the entire ecosystem, after which it takes a lot of time to create a new one. Restarting the aquarium is carried out when moving or in case of infection with parasites that are attached to the walls of the aquarium and the ground.
In the warm season it is necessary to monitor the water level, regularly topping up fresh. In this case, the removal of old water is not performed.
How to clean the aquarium with fish, not pouring water
To facilitate the work of cleaning the aquarium, as well as to prevent the occurrence of severe contamination, it is necessary to carry out minimal cleaning during regular water changes.
Consistently carry out the following actions:
- Remove from 10 to 30% of water using a siphon, parallel to cleaning the substrate.
- Remove and wash the filter.
- Clean the inside and outside of the glass.
- Remove plaque from the cover and surfaces that are above the water level.
- Clean the aerating system.
Biological methods of cleaning (fish, snails)
Biological methods of cleaning include the inhabitants of the aquarium who feed on fish waste or green algae, making it easier to care for the aquarium.
Snails are a gastropod mollusk, which all its life has been eating microscopic algae, fish and crustacean excrement, as well as dead and living parts of aquarium plants. Snails can get rid of both the colonies of microorganisms on the glass and the substrate, and from green algae. It is also not uncommon to eat up the rest of the feed.
Common snail species:
- coil (unpretentious, does not harm aquarium plants);
- ampoule (average requirements to the conditions, voracious, eat thin leaves of plants with a lack of food);
- melania (they live in the soil, they feed on algae and excrement, they prevent the silting of the soil).
Catfish are near-bottom fish, which can be called “orderlies” of an aquarium. They not only eat the remnants of food and dead parts of plants, but also help to save the ecosystem if you forget to remove the dead fish in time. Most catfish are omnivorous, but prefer vegetable food.
Types of catfish:
- antsistrus, or “sucker fish” (eats the remnants of any food from the bottom, cleans the glass from green algae at a young age);
- corridor and speckled catfish (eats the remnants of any food, can feed on plant residues, "loosens" the substrate because of what raises sludge from the bottom);
- girinoheylus (omnivores, however prefer vegetable food, eat green algae).
Frequent mistakes novice aquarists
Novice aquarists sometimes make mistakes in the care of the aquarium. Common errors include the following:
- Regular restart of the aquarium, which ultimately leads to the death of all the inhabitants.
- Irregular filter operation. The device should work around the clock and turn off only during purging.
- Overfeeding fish. Undemanding fish can survive without food for about a month, so if they eat less than the norm, then this will not get sick and will not die.
- Lack of care for soil. Even if there is no substrate in your tank, then it is still necessary to remove waste.
Proper and timely cleaning allows you not only to preserve the health of inhabitants and the beauty of the water world, but also to reduce the time spent on solving possible problems. Remember that all the above actions are carried out in a regular manner, as well as on the basis of observations of the behavior and condition of the fish.