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Safely Cleaning Your Aquarium

Safely cleaning your aquarium isn't all that difficult if you have the right tools and you know what to do. It is actually a swift and straight-forward chore. The cardinal rule in safely cleaning your aquarium is to never take out everything unless your tank is in extremely bad form. If you rip your aquarium apart, you will lose beneficial bacteria that are an inherent part of biological filtration. It is advised that you just replace up to 15 percent of your tank's water content when safely cleaning your aquarium. A 15 percent water change is also advisable once a week, and you can only replace it with declorinated tap water.

Now, you will need two buckets for safely cleaning your aquarium: one to hold your fish, the other to contain rocks and other decorations. Remember to turn off heaters and filters before actually starting to clean your aquarium. Once you've taken out 15 percent of your tank water, transfer the remaining liquid to one of the buckets, followed by all your fish. Then, remove all decorations, plants, and rocks. If you have live plants, then they should go to the bucket with aquarium water and fish. The rest, should be placed in the other bucket.

It's a good idea to buy an algae scraper or pad for safely cleaning your aquarium glass. If you can't find one, then a piece of flannel or any soft cloth that hasn't been washed or used with soap will do. In safely cleaning your aquarium, always keep in mind that the products you use must be new or do not contain any soap residue which may be harmful for the fish. Start by cleaning the insides of your tank, rubbing it until the algae goes off. You can use a razor blade to remove stubborn stains, but remember to use a plastic razor blade if you have an acrylic tank to avoid scratches.

Once you're done cleaning your tank's glass, go ahead and clean the rocks and other decorations. Fill the bucket with rocks with flowing water and scrub the top layer with a brush. Continue brushing until all wastes come off and the water becomes clear. Then, go ahead and clean the other decorations.

Cleaning the gravel is next. You can do so by vacuuming the entire surface of the gravel to remove all debris. Then, disassemble the filter and clean each piece. Replace any filter media that if needed (cartridge, sponge, carbon, etc.) but do not change all media at once. This will disrupt the beneficial bacteria and remove the biological filter. Put the filter back in once piece, then go ahead and clean the heater with a soft cloth.

Once you're through with all the scrubbing, put the rocks back into the tank, then fill with declorinated water. Then, put back the plants and other decors, followed by water that was set aside. Return the filter and heater, and when the water has reached the right temperature, put the fish back in one by one.

After you've cleaned and returned everything back, make sure to repeat this process on a regular basis. Always remember that safely cleaning your aquarium results in healthy, happier fish and an attractive-looking tank.

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