How often do I need to clean my fish tank?

“If your tank keeps on getting green, it means there is too much sunlight in the room," says Honiball. Photo: Pixabay

POLOKWANE – Keeping your fish healthy, starts with keeping a well maintained tank. Here are some tips to help you take care of your tank.

“A fish tank does not have to be cleaned regularly. You only do water changes,” Jo-Anne Honiball from Woofels Doggy Parlour explains.

“If you see there is a lot of algae then you know it is time to change. If you have the right filter system, fish and feeding, it will not be necessary to clean the tank.”

She stresses you need a quality filter and the food you give to the fish will also determine how often you need to clean the water.

To clean an established tank, you need to do the following:

  • Fill a bucket with three quarters of the water from the tank.
  • Place the fish in the bucket filled with water.
  • Wash everything with water.
  • You can boil the stones and rocks in water to make sure all the snail eggs are dead.
  • Do not use any soap, use a new sponge and bucket.
  • Place everything back in the tank.
  • Place fish with water back in the tank and fill up with fresh water.
  • Ad anti-chlorine and good bacteria agents.

“If there is a heater in the tank, put it off before taking it out. Do not leave the fish in the bucket for days on end.”

So, You Want to Set Up a Fish Tank?

For a new tank:

  • Rinse the stones, rocks and ornaments with water.
  • Place everything in the tank.
  • Set the heater on the right temperature.
  • Add anti-chlorine and good bacteria.
  • Let it stand for at least three days before you put your fish in the tank.

According to Honiball, there are different reasons why your tank will have green water and black algae. Or why the water will be milky.

“If your tank keeps on getting green, it means there is too much sunlight in the room. The room should not be very light and do not leave the lights on for 24 hours. Fish need to rest. Black algae appear overnight. You will literally clean the tank now, and tomorrow it is back. This means that the nitrates in the water are not right. It is not necessary to do a water change. You get medicine to treat this. It is not harmful for the fish.”

When the water is milky, it means you are overfeeding the fish as there is too much ammonia in the water. This can kill the fish.

If your fish keep surfacing and “biting” the air it means there is not enough oxygen in the water.

“Fish stress a lot and very easily. To prevent stress, you can place an anti-stress agent in the water. If your fish have white spots, it means they are stressed. Anti-stress agents also help for other illnesses.”

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Maretha Swanpoel

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