So you think you want an aquarium? Well, part of having a functioning aquarium means that you must devote time on a regular basis to cleaning the fish tank. Since fish live, breathe, eat and defecate in the same small area, fish tanks must be cleaned and maintained at least weekly depending on your setup.
First, remove the tank lid and turn off any electrical components in order to avoid electrical shock. You should have an aquarium vacuum that will allow you to pick up dirty water and debris. You may want to remove any decorative elements, like statues and plants, and set them aside for separate cleaning. Use the vacuum to remove dirty water, allowing the water to drain into a bucket. If this is being done on a weekly basis, you can remove up to 25% of the water. If monthly, you can remove up to 50%. Please be aware as to where the fish are so that you do not suck them up by accident.
After you have removed up to half of the water, you should prepare the new water that you will put in. Water should be lukewarm (room temperature) in order to avoid shock. A dechlorinator should be used in the new water prior to putting it in. Any additional treatments, like bacteria supplements, can also be added.
You should clean any ornaments by hand using a toothbrush and aquarium-safe cleaner. Use the toothbrush to remove any algae or debris buildup. Rinse ornaments thoroughly with water.
Back in the fish tank, you should have a firm sponge to clean algae or build up off of the sides of the fish tank, along with any remaining ornaments or rocks. If you choose to use an algae preventer formula, you can add this after replacing the water.
Return your ornaments to the water and position them as desired. Then, using an ornament or a small plate, pour in the new water, allowing it to run over the ornament or plate, preventing displacement of the rock bed.
At this point, you fish tank should look clean and refreshed. You can also choose to replace your carbon filter to ensure continued maintenance, and you may add any additional formulas as necessary.
Evaporation of a portion of the water can occur after a few days, so feel free to replace it by treating some new water and pouring it in. Test your water on a regular basis to ensure proper water conditions.