I enjoy caring for my tropical fish, its the least I can do for all the pleasure they bring me. Please know that I do not see myself as a professional. I am offering tips only.
I have three 3.5 gallon aquariums and a 1.5 gallon aquarium, all community tanks. I have had large aquariums in the past and found them to be a lot of work so I requested the 1.5 gallon as a Christmas gift. Needless to say, I have expanded from there and really like having the smaller aquariums. Yes, it can be tricky to keep the smaller ones especially if you want to add more than two or three fish but they are so much easier to clean. I do a 25% water change at least every other week and a complete cleaning once a month so as long as I don’t overfeed, my tank water stays clear. However, I do keep Cory Cats in each tank for bottom cleaning and sometimes mystery snails.
A big plus is that I have API Superclean 10 power filters on all my tanks. These power filters are awesome and can be purchased inexpensively on Amazon. The filter inserts really do the job and can be rinsed to extend their life. Unfortunately, Petsmart doesn’t stock them in the #10 size but I order them on the internet and mostly get free shipping. It also helps that I have a filtered water system so I don’t have to treat my water though I do usually add some water conditioner for good measure. Using a siphon system purchased from any pet store or even Wal-Mart is best for cleaning the gravel because it removes most of the debris but will leave some of the bacteria which is beneficial to the fish.
*Here is my procedure for cleaning my tanks:
- Unplug the power filter and remove it for cleaning.
- Remove all the decor including live plants making it easier to catch the fish for removal.
- Place the fish into a bowl with water from the aquarium or water that has been treated for chlorine removal.
- Scoop out enough water to make it easier and safer to carry and empty down a drain. Carry the aquarium to a sink (I use my kitchen sink but make sure I clean the sink well after I’m through).
- My siphon system has a bulb making it easier to get the siphon action started. Be sure your hose is well placed in the sink or the force will cause it to flip up and spray out of the sink.
- Once the siphon action is started, move the tube through the gravel to get the debris to float up and catch it with the tube and it will flow into the sink and down the drain.
- Keep adding water to the tank to be siphoned out until the water runs reasonably clear.
- Wipe out the tank with a wet paper towel (they sell special equipment at pet stores but I find this easy enough).
- Rinse and wipe when necessary the decor and plants except for live plants and/or moss balls. I destroyed my moss ball by unthinkingly rinsing it in hot water.
- Place the decor and plants into the aquarium in the preferred arrangement.
- Clean the filter housing and rinse the filter.
- Place the filter back into the tank but do not plug it in until water is in the tank to the proper level.
- If treating the water is necessary (consider using distilled or spring water if you don’t have a water filter system), it can either be treated before pouring it into the tank or after.
- When adding the water, I pour the water slowly onto the larger of the decor so that everything stays where I put it. It can be tedious and I do tend to get impatient but when I do, I have to re-position the decor which is not as easy in a water filled tank.
- When the tank is filled, I plug in the filter and let it run for about 15 or more minutes.
- Return the fish to the aquarium.
They will be happy campers.
*I live in Texas so I do not have to use a heater. If you live in cold climates, the water temperature will have to be taken into consideration before returning the fish to the tank.