Whether or not you have to clean your aquarium
The problem is, mechanical filtration (the removal of dirt and debris from the water) is a big part of a
But is it safe to do so? Let’s find out…
Before we begin, you may need some of the following tools to clean your
- The API Stress Coat Water Conditioner: water conditioners remove the dangerous chemicals from tap water so you don’t harm your fish
- Aquarium Filter Pad replacements: if your
filtermedia uses a filterpad, you’ll need a replacement
- Under-Gravel Filter: if you don’t want to deal with cleaning your
Is It Safe To Clean Your
Yes, it is completely safe to clean your aquarium filter if you do it the correct way. Filters are hubs for the beneficial bacteria that keep your aquarium healthy, so cleaning them the wrong way can remove this bacteria and do more harm than good.
A lot of beginners will simply remove the
This is incredibly dangerous for the health of your aquarium for 2 reasons:
- Tap water needs to be treated with a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other harmful chemicals before it ever comes in contact with any of your fish or equipment.
- The beneficial bacteria inside your
filtermedia has taken a long time to establish. Washing all of that away can completely collapse the entire ecosystem.
Biological filtration (one stage of aquarium filtration) is the process in which beneficial bacteria breakdown harmful chemicals and toxins into substances that are less harmful to your fish.
For example, ammonia (dangerous) is broken down into Nitrate (also dangerous) and then into Nitrites (safe in small quantities).
This process is known as “cycling” and it’s an integral part of keeping a healthy aquarium. It’s knowledge that every fishkeeper should be equipped with.
How To Safely Clean Your Aquarium
Now that you know how NOT to clean your
The first step is to unplug the
Fill another bucket or container with room temperature, conditioned water (you can use some of your aquarium water) and begin disassembling your
Use the room temperature water to clean the
To clean the motor, the plastic cover and any other non-media parts of the
Once everything is nice and clean, simply reassemble the
Can You Clean and Reuse
Fish Tank Filters?
- Mechanical media (sponges, pads): Gently rinse in removed tank water during water changes. This preserves beneficial bacteria while removing debris.
- Biological media (ceramic rings, bio-balls): Like mechanical media, rinse in tank water. Avoid using tap water, as chlorine can kill beneficial bacteria.
- Chemical media (activated carbon, resins): Generally, these can’t be reused effectively. Once exhausted, they need replacement.
Regularly cleaning a
How Often Should I Clean My
It depends on the size of your aquarium and the fish you keep. Aquariums with larger fish or a large quantity of fish will need cleaning more often, whereas large aquariums with a few tidy fish like tetras will need cleaning less often. With that being said, once every 3-4 weeks is ideal.
This advice is primarily for internal and external filters because they are the most common. If you are looking for a
The problem is, if you keep lots of plants, the under
You can also try self-cleaning tanks, which we’ve created a list of the top 5 for you to choose from.