The fish tank cleaning process

Finished product
The pain staking process of cleaning

Here are some helpful hints that you may want to know if you are going to be starting up a fresh water fish tank. Patients is the best possible advice I am able to offer you. My dad and I have recently started a fish tank with out realizing how hard it would be to keep the water levels where they need to be. When you first fill up your tank the water levels, Nitrates, Nitrites and Ammonia are going to be right where you want them, but as soon as you add fish, it is going to go threw a process called cycling, which is the balancing of the water levels. When you go to add your first cycling fish you are not going to want to add more then 25% of your maximum capacity for fish, and any fine fined fish because they will not be able to withstand the water level changes. You measure the amount of fish by inches, one inch of fish per gallon of water. For an example we have a ninety gallon tank, and when our tank was cycling we had about twenty two fish in it.

The chemicals needed

When you are adding fish to your tank you will need to make sure to add “Start Right” to your water to remove the Chlorine and the Chloramines from your tap water. As soon as you add those first few cycling fish your process of balancing the water is going to begin. In the first few days you will notice and increase in you is Ammonia levels. Then as those go to drop, you will see a large increase in your Nitrate levels. Nitrates you will notice are going to rise after the Ammonia starts to drop around three weeks, depending on the size of the tank, some times larger tanks cycle faster. When your Ammonia and Nitrates balance out you will see an enormous increase in the Nitrite level. After about thirty five to fifty days your tank will be done cycling and you will have to do your first water change.

Algea on side of tank
The glory of the water changes

After the water has finished balancing out you are ready to do a water change. When you do a water change you want to take 25% of the water currently existing in the tank and remove it, while vacuuming it to remove harmful Ammonia causing products from the bottom such as deteriorating food and fesses.

Adding start right
Me adding start right to the water

You will also want to change the filters in your filtering system. When you add the water back to the tank be sure to add start right to remove the harmful chemicals. You can also add aquarium salt to your tank to help the fish’s natural slime coat and kill off some harmful bacteria that may kill your fish.

Chart showing the changes in water levels

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Filed under fish, Nature

10 responses to “The fish tank cleaning process

  1. Wonderful job with this and I never realized how much work went into keeping a fish tank like this! One of these days I will have to start doing fish again!

  2. Marg

    It’s a pain in the butt-oops I mean wonderful advice-this is the major reason I’ve never had a big tank-I hate the siphoning/vacuming business.

    This is great advice though!

  3. Mel

    Thanks for the advice! :)

  4. Hi there! I think it is great that you are blogging! I like your site and can’t wait you hear about more adventures of yours with Mon@rch and others!

    My family had fish before and they are a LOT of work! Fun work, eh?

    Good birding to you!

  5. Wow.. I had no idea it was so involved. (Never had a large tank myself) I thought about getting one for my youngest but now… wow, I’m not sure if she is as hard of a worker as you. (Or maybe she just does other things) Great advice! I’ll have her read through this before deciding.

  6. monarch- Yeah, they are a ton of work!
    Marg- Sure is I am always the one that gets stuck vacuuming it.
    The Birdfreak Team- Thank you! One of our families friend gave us this tank and it was sitting in the basement for about a year and then my dad finally said, lets do something with this. Little did we know how much work this turned out to be!
    aullori- I just started a small 10 gallon tank in my room because we had some of the fish in the 90 gallon tank bossing the other ones around! It is much easier to take care of.

  7. You are starting out exactly how my husband started when he was a kid. He went from cichlids and such to our 180 gallon reef tank. :) Keep at it!

  8. Lisa at Greenbow

    All of this must be why I didn’t ever have much luck with a fish tank. Hmmmmm I don’t remember having such a list of work to do. Your tank is beautiful, well worth the work.

  9. That tank really looks great. I started to say, we used to have one just like it — but ours was only 30 gallons. The base looks the same though!

    Nice blog!

  10. Scorny

    This is the best explanation I have read of the process!!

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