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How to Clean a Freshwater Aquarium the Easy Way

Updated on December 18, 2011


I have had fresh water fish tanks throughout my life. I have read how to do this, how to do that, and you need to do this a certain way and blaa, blaa, blaa. I hear so many people say, I would love to have some fish, but the tank is to much trouble to keep clean. This isn't true if you do it my way. Ha, Ha. But really, I found a way that's very simple. My tank stays crystal clear with almost no work to me. I'm sure there are some people who would or will argue the way I do it, but for those of you who want a tank and don't want the work, my way is very simple and works for me and has for years.The first thing you need to do is make sure you get aleast double the filtration of the size of the tank. For example, my tank is 60 gallon and I have a 1 one-hundred gallon filter and another 30 gallon filter on it. That's one-hundred thirty gallon filter on a 60 gallon tank. If you buy an aquarium in the store that comes with a kit, it will come with a filter that is supposed to be suited for that size tank. Example, if you get a 10 gallon tank, it will come with a 10 gallon filter. That's no good. You can use the 10 gallon filter, but you need to buy another 10 or 20 gallon filter to put on it also.

If you really want to give an extra boost then put in an underwater gravel filter as well. You can get them in a variety of sizes. Just make sure if you decide to use one, you put it in the tank from the start. It is not something you can add easily after your tank is set because it goes underneath the gravel. If you decide you are going to have goldfish or live feeders, I recommend it. Goldfish and live feeders, like Oscars can really make a tank dirty.

Don't buy the gravel vaccums, I think there a waste of money and more trouble than there worth. Do make sure you have chlorine remover and clearwater. You do need something to clean the inside of the walls of the tank from time to time. I have always had a picasimus in my tank to do most of that work for me. They pretty much will get along with any type of fish. I've even had them with goldfish.

My Aquarium Cleaning Ritual

1. Usually I clean my tank every 2 to 3 months. The thing that I do daily or weekly is feed and put a little fresh water in, to keep the water level up to the top of the tank. You do not need to put in chlorine remover when you put in that small of an amount of water.

2. The first thing I do when I clean is take out the plants, only if they are dirty, and I soak them in warm saltwater. I just leave them in there until I get the rest of the tank done and then I put them back in. Like I said, this is not something I do unless they look like there getting dirty.

3. I take out about 1/3 of the water. I take the little cages off the end of tubes of the pump and then I leave enough water in tank that the filters can still pump. If you have really small fish this could be dangerous, since the pump could suck the fish up, but remember that it won't be off for that long.

4. Now, I stick my hand in tank and run them through the gravel bringing as much dirt as possible. Your water will get really dirty. And then I clean the sides with aquarium brush.

5. Take the filters out of the pumps and rinse in the sink until there clean as you can get them. Then put the filters back in the pumps. The filters are catching all the dirt in the water, the bigger stuff is sicked up to because the cage is not on the tube. You can do this as many times as it take the water to clear all of the debris.

6. Then I fill the tank back up to the top with clean water, put a little chlorine remover in and rinse my plants with cold water to get the salt off and put them back in and put the cage back on the filter tubes.

7. I take the filters back out again and rinse them well and leave them because that is when I add clear water(water clearing chemical for aquariums)as directed on directions. I put the clear water in and put the filters back in about an hour after. About a hour after I put the filter back in my water is crystal clear.

8. I only replace my filters about twice a year. I really don't even know what is recommended. Like I said, this is what works for me. I do know that you have to keep a certain amount of bacteria in the water to keep the fish healthy. No matter how many times you rinse your filters they are still going to carry a certain amount of bacteria in them that is consistent with the tank. So replacing often can't be a good thing.

These fish are great for cleaning your tank.
These fish are great for cleaning your tank. | Source


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      2 months ago

      If you wash all of your filter media in city water, the chlorine will KILL ALL of the beneficial bacteria living which are necessary to you fishes survival. However if you are using well water that would not be the case.

      Cleaning the aquarium too much is apt to cause problems.

      I would clean the substrate but not the filter until a week later, just to be on the safe side. Just my personal opinion and what works for me.

    • franly16 profile image

      Fran Lyman 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I just tried to clean my tank using your instructions. I need another filter, but I think you are on to something! Thanks!


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