Ornamental Fish Tank: Step by Step Water Change Guide

 Regular maintenance and small water changes are inevitable if you want to keep fish happy and healthy. No matter how good your filter is, you have to. Letting your tank get dirty will cause a buildup of harmful bacteria and create the perfect environment for disease to thrive.

Ornamental Fish Tank: Step by Step Water Change Guide
Ornamental Fish Tank: Step by Step Water Change Guide

 Treating sick fish is much more difficult than cleaning your aquarium once a week or every two weeks. It's a lot easier than you think to do a water change, and you can use this simple step-by-step guide to make it even easier.

This is an informative article. Nodisk One is not permitted to make a diagnosis or recommend any form of veterinary care. If your pet is in pain or ill, we recommend that you take him to the vet.

Benefits Of Cleaning Your Aquarium

 When I say cleaning your aquarium, what I'm really saying is maintaining your aquarium through water changes. And by physically removing and dilution harmful chemicals while replenishing essential elements, these water changes assist in restoring and maintaining a balanced aquarium.

1. You Will Reduce Harmful Compounds

 Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates can all be harmful to your fish. During your initial nitrogen cycle, ammonia will turn into nitrite and nitrite will turn into nitrate, and most aquarium ecosystems don't have the ideal conditions to deal with nitrate effectively.

 Nitrate is not harmful to your fish unless you allow too much to build up. Having high levels will stress your fish, making them susceptible to disease and promoting poor growth and color development. Performing routine water changes will help control nitrate levels in your tank.

2. You Will Dispose Of Rotting Waste

 Decomposing organic waste in your aquarium releases toxic nitrogen products, phosphates and other harmful chemicals. Leading to poor water quality. In severe cases, they may produce an acidic environment that compromises your water's ability to act as a buffer and results in dangerous pH swings.

3. You Will Replenish Essential Trace Elements And Minerals

 In nature, there is a constant source of minerals, nutrients and vitamins. However, your filter will remove these vitals or they will deplete as your dwellers use them to grow. The water change will provide a fresh supply necessary for good growth.

Quick FAQ On How To Perform A Water Change

Should I Remove Everything From My Aquarium?

 No, you don't want to do that… It creates extra work and a big mess that you don't have to deal with. Every surface in your aquarium will grow beneficial bacteria, and removing your decorations can kill some of these bacteria and reduce the quality of your filtration for some time.

Should I Remove The Fish?

 No, you do not need to remove the fish when doing your regular 10-15% water changes. Your fish will experience extreme stress, and you will be working harder than necessary. It could even cause physical injury. Now that we've eliminated the two common questions, let's begin the step-by-step guide.

Step By Step Guide: How To Perform A Water Change And Clean Your Aquarium

Let's go, shall we?

Step 1: Prepare Your Equipment

Start by making sure you are fully prepared and have all the necessary equipment:

  • Seaweed pad or magnet.
  • A dedicated bucket (5 gallons is common but size is not critical).
  • Siphon gravel vacuum.
  • Thermometer.
  • water conditioner.
  • Water analysis kit.

Step 2: Prepare Your New Tank Water

I recommend doing it the night before and here's why:

- If you use tap or tap water, it is likely to contain a lot of unwanted heavy metals, toxins, and chlorine that can harm your fish. And it will probably be the wrong temperature. So what I recommend you do is fill a bucket with water, add your water conditioner, and let it sit overnight. 

 This will help the chlorine to evaporate and your water conditioner to make it safe for the aquarium. This will also bring the water back to room temperature and reduce the risk of your tank temperature changing drastically. If you have issues with water hardness or pH, you can also use this time to make changes to your new water and make sure the settings are where you want them before adding it to your tank. .

Prepare the water in your tank with treatment the day before so that it is ready.

Step 3: Prepare Your Tank

 If you have a water heater, you will need to position it so that it stays fully submerged while you siphon off the water. If your heater is exposed, it could crack or overheat and break. I also advise you to deactivate your filter.

 If it is not possible to position your heater so that it is not exposed, turning it off for a short period of time will suffice. You can also turn off your filter if it is in danger of running dry (when your intake tube is in danger of being exposed to low water levels). If air enters your filter, it can damage or break your system.

Make sure none of your equipment is at risk of exposure when you remove your water.

Step 4: Clean The Aquarium's Sides And Any Decorations

 Get your seaweed pad or magnet and run it along the glass, making sure to rub as little as possible. Instead of a sponge or scrubber from your kitchen, it is best to use a special algae pad or magnet. It could contain detergents or cleaning chemicals that will harm your fish. If you have an acrylic aquarium, you'll want to make sure that anything you use won't scratch it.

 Using your seaweed pad, lightly scrub your decorations. If you're really having trouble, you can delete them. What you don't want to do is pull them out and use bleach or boiling water. This will kill your beneficial bacteria or, if you use bleach, poison your fish.

Do this before removing the water so you can remove the algae debris with the gravel trap. This will also help prevent algae from spreading.

Step 5: Clean The Substrate And Siphon The Water.

 Start by siphoning water from your tank directly into your dedicated bucket. It's best to buy a bucket just for this purpose, as residue from soaps or detergents can be harmful to your fish. As you siphon off the water, you'll need to carefully traverse the gravel to remove as much trash as possible. If you're using sand, don't use the vacuum like a shovel.

 Only use the hose part and hold it about an inch from the surface to suck up the waste. This will prevent you from disturbing the sand. If you have very small fish and are worried about sucking them in, you can use a never-worn stocking on the end of your siphon. Just make sure the mesh is large enough to let the debris in. Siphon your water until 10-15% of the water in your tank has been drained into your bucket.

Siphoning at and angle will prevent clogging as it allows the substrate to slide out.

Step 6: Rinse Your Filter Media

 You are not replacing your filter media. Doing this for a routine cleaning and water change would kill too many bacteria and upset the water chemistry in your aquarium, shocking your fish. You only rinse it if it is excessively dirty.

 And that's where your dedicated reservoir water bucket comes in handy. Rinse them with water from the bucket and not with tap water. Chlorine in tap water will kill beneficial bacteria living in your filter and you will need to start a new nitrogen cycle.

Rinsing your filter media does not mean that you will never have to change it. Change it once every three to six months or when you notice a drop in performance. When you do, wait a few weeks before removing the previous media before combining the new and old ones. This will give the new media time to colonize beneficial bacteria.

Step 7: Add Your New Aquarium Water

 Make sure the temperature is within the acceptable range for your tank using a thermometer. A drastic change in water temperature can kill your fish. If you are happy with your water, start filling your aquarium cautiously. And don't forget that your fish need some space between the water and the top of the tank so that they have enough oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange to breathe.

If you have trouble lifting your bucket to the edge of your tank, consider buying a quality pump. You will need a pump that can push water at least 5 feet high using 10 feet of flexible tubing.

Step 8: Clean The Exterior Of Your Aquarium

 Not essential, but it can make the sight of your tank mates much nicer. Only clean the exterior of your aquarium with solutions designated as aquarium safe. Your fish may suffer from ammonia fumes from common cleaners.

Other Things To Consider

Here are a few additional considerations to help you maintain the health of your pet fish.

- The role of reservoir quality. When you buy fish, they may be much smaller than they will be as adults. You might be tempted to get a smaller tank for less maintenance, but a larger tank will contribute to better overall health. Also, maintaining a smaller tank is no easier than maintaining a larger tank.

- Regular maintenance. Although you don't have to completely change the water, every week you will need to check the water levels and add water to replace what evaporates. If you have any questions, talk to your local pet store or veterinarian's office about the requirements for your specific breed of fish.

- Prepare your water. It is important to maintain a certain pH level. Unless you are letting the water sit for a few days, avoid pouring water straight from the tap because the water contains chemicals like chlorine and other additives. A dechlorinator can also be used before transferring the water to your aquarium.

In Conclusion

 Regularly changing your fish's water is important because even if your aquarium water looks clear, food and waste particles are still present. Not only does this cause physical buildup, but the waste material turns into chemicals such as nitrate and phosphate.

 The water must also be changed to reintroduce the elements and minerals necessary for the well-being of your fish. Over time, elements and minerals are consumed by your fish or leached out of the water, changing the overall pH of the water.

Regular water changes are one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy environment for your fish to thrive. And it's not too difficult; just adhere to the clear instructions.

Only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, are used by Nodisk One to substantiate the information in our articles.