You can’t sweep the importance of cleaning your goldfish tank under the rug. How to clean a goldfish tank is just as important as feeding the goldfish. If you don’t, the goldfish will die either of contamination or starvation.
A goldfish tank, after all, is your pet’s home. And we often forget that it’s more than a home. Your goldfish eats, plays, sleeps and excretes in that tank. So when you carefully buy a goldfish tank, you’re not buying a glass bowl. You’re purchasing an entire ecosystem for your goldfish.
It’s pretty simple; this learning how to clean a goldfish tank. Here, let me show you.
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Table of Contents
How to Clean a Goldfish Tank in 5 Simple Steps
Step 1. Buy a Smaller Bowl
Before you do actually replace the water in the tank, where would you keep your goldfish? In a smaller glass bowl perhaps just for the time being. It’s only temporary until you’ve replaced the dirty water from the original goldfish tank.
Make sure there’s enough room for your goldfish to swim around in. And that it already has pre-treated and clean fresh water.
Moving from its own habitat into a new territory can be stressful for your fish. So make the switch as gently as possible.
Step 2. Disconnect/Unplug All Filters
If you have any water filter, air pump, or heater connected to the tank, turn those off. And go a step further to unplug them from the electric socket. You don’t want any accidents while you’re cleaning the tank.
Step 3. Use An Aquarium Vacuum
While some may choose to do this manually, it’s a huge lifesaver to use a vacuum. If it’s a big goldfish tank, using a bath cup is exhausting! You can purchase an automatic or manual vacuum for the price of $10 to $25. It’s effective, improved, and long-lasting.
If you already have a tank vacuum, keep two empty buckets in handy. One is for emptying out the dirty water from the tank. The second one is to reverse the vacuuming process to put clean water in.
Just follow the instructions on how to assemble a fish tank vacuum for the first time. Each automatic or manual vacuum has its own assembly and directions of use.
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Step 4. Drain The Water
Don’t remove all of the water immediately. Wait a moment. Vacuum at least one-third to one-half of the water. You have to sanitize the tank with dirty water by scraping the inner walls of the tank.
Everything from scraping excess algae, vacuuming loose debris, rinsing the filter, etc. All these important tasks must be done with access to the tank water. Here’s a rough sketch of what all you must clean before adding new water in the tank.
One of the first things they tell you about how to clean a goldfish tank is buying the right cleaning tools. Would you clean a sink full of dirty utensils with your bare hands? You need the proper tools like dish detergent, cleaning brush, and a scraper.
Well, how to clean a goldfish tank is exactly like that. You need a squeegee which is a plastic scraper for a fish tank. Algae often get stuck on the walls and around the edges and corners.
You need to scrape the stubborn ones off with a little bit more pressure. Allow it to fall to the bottom of the tank. You will be vacuuming up all the dirty water later anyway.
Since you’ve created a layer of gravel at the base of the tank. It’s inevitable there would be loose debris stuck under or in between the gravel. To discard the debris, use the vacuum’s intake opening. Place it under the gravel and shake it around a little.
This will loosen up debris which you can use suction to remove immediately. All the algae you just scraped off the walls will be there too. Do this a few times and cover every inch of the tank. Or until you don’t see dirt rising up from the gravel.
Every fish tank – be it goldfish or betta fish – must have a water filter. It keeps chemicals, toxicants, and other contaminated chemicals away. The filter is usually a sponge that you need to dip into a bucket of water.
Gently scrub the surface of the sponge to wring out all the gunk and powdery-dirt.
However, if you’re using a new kind of water filter, it must probably have its own cleaning instructions. Some include a cleaning brush, gloves, etc. to get the debris out.
One thing though – don’t use clean tap water to clean the filter. Always use the bucket of tank water to clean out a filter. The reason being a water filter contains beneficial bacteria that tap water can destroy.
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The last thing would be to clean any extra fixtures or ornaments in tank water. You can use a cleaning brush or sponge to get rid of stickiness or debris. Again, dip the objects into the bucket of tank water, not tap water.
In case there’s excess mineral build-up in some ornaments, you can use a bleach mixture. It’s faster-acting, effective, and reliable.
Step 5. Fill Clean Water
Add clean tap water into the second bucket. Make sure it’s enough to fill the entire tank. And do not opt for a warmer temperature. The ideal water temperature for a goldfish tank is lukewarm water.
Add a few drops of dechlorinator into the bucket. The ideal amount per gallon of water is 2-3 drops only. It kills all contaminants, chlorine, and impure chemicals from the water.
If you forget this step, it may kill your goldfish as the chlorine in tap water can kill beneficial bacteria. It may also directly affect your goldfish causing skin, eye, or fin reaction.
Don’t pour the water in immediately. Allow the dechlorinator to work its magic for a few minutes. You can either pour water directly into the tank. Or use the aquarium vacuum as you did before. But only this time, the water will be flowing from the bucket into the tank.
Once the clean water reaches the ideal temperature, you can switch on the filter. Introduce your goldfish only when the conditions are right. You don’t want to shock your goldfish of a new environment.
You may not clean out of your closet every day, but one of these days you will have to. In the case of a goldfish tank, knowing how to clean a goldfish tank is necessary. Your clothes may live a long life in a crumpled state. But your goldfish will die in contamination of algae, dirt, and its own waste.
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