You may have seen those images of a clean goldfish tank with crystal clear water and happy goldfish; and thought how nice it is if you can have the same for your tank. Let me tell you this, you can!
I can assure you that those images were taken when the tanks were at their best, and they do not stay like that forever without needing some work.
So yes, your goldfish tank can look like that too!
What is the secret?
The secret is … *drum roll*… a good filter and fish tank maintenance!
Especially with messy fish like goldfish that produce a lot of wastes, a good filter that is able to support the tank size and bio-load is very important.
If that’s the case, why do I still need to maintain the fish tank when I already have a good filter?
Do check out my post on filters and what they do. Filters can only do so much. They will not be able to wipe off algae from our tank’s glass or from the decorations. They will not be able take out debris or wastes stuck on the substrate or decorations. They will not be able to remove the built up Nitrates via water changes.
This is why we still need to do maintenance if we want a clean goldfish tank with good water condition.
A side note: Hmm… actually it would be so cool if there is such a robot that we can put into the tank and it will do all these for us. Too bad there isn’t one and even if there is, I am sure the cost of it will go through the roof.
How to do fish tank maintenance?
Take a look at my video below. I promise it won’t be long. 🙂
Fish tank maintenance can be done in 3 simple routines:
Siphon out the goldfish poop and other debris that are on or in the substrate and decorations. This routine will remove water from the tank. Please make sure that you do not remove all of the water. A good guideline is 25%-50% of the tank water so to not shock your fish with the temperature difference from water that you will add in later.
However I usually remove 70% of the water. What can I say, I am a rebel…:) Actually as I stay in a tropical country, the temperature here does not fluctuate much.
Clean the fish tank glass by wiping off stuff that are sticking on it such as algae, goldfish poop (yes, they are everywhere) and debris. You can use your new soft kitchen sponge or a fancy algae scrapper to do the job.
I use a melamine sponge which is also known as Magic Sponge or Magic Eraser for this. They are cheap, effective and do not scratch the glass. The downside of them is that they easily break into small pieces, so you will need to remove those from the tank afterwards.
Clean the decorations in the tank when needed. I have only river rocks and substrate in my goldfish tank. When the river rocks need cleaning, I take them out one by one and give them a good scrubbing before putting them back.
Please do not take out your substrate and clean them with tap water! This will kill a lot of the beneficial bacteria that live there. Using siphon to suck out the trapped wastes and debris are already good enough. If you really need to take the substrate out to clean them, use your tank water instead.
3. Water Change
This is the part where you replenish the water that you have removed from the tank. Place a clean plastic sheet, aluminium foil, a plate, a container, etc in the tank to break the impact of incoming water. This will prevent the incoming water from stirring up the leftover wastes and debris in the substrate and decorations.
Make sure you add water conditioner to the water that you are adding in to remove chlorine and other dissolved chemicals. Follow the recommended dosage on the label of the product.
I use a garden hose connector to connect my siphon to a long hose all the way from my living room to the bathroom. I use this to siphon the water out from the tank, and then reverse its usage to fill up my tank with water.
Usually your fish tank water will not clear up immediately after these routines. Give it a few hours, and you will see it slowly clearing up.
Don’t you need to clean the filter too?
I separate filter maintenance from my fish tank maintenance routines. Fish tank maintenance for me is more about cleaning the things inside the tank and doing water changes. Filter maintenance on the other hand is to clean the filter and its filter media, and this routine depends on what type of filter that you have.
I would recommend doing these 2 types of maintenance separately with at least 3 days apart from each other. The reason is because whenever you do maintenance whether it is for the filter or for the fish tank, some beneficial bacteria will be removed. So if you do them together, a very huge amount of beneficial bacteria will be lost and there may be a risk of sudden increase of ammonia in your fish tank water.
How often do I need to maintain the tank?
Again, goldfish are messy and produce a lot of wastes. So they will require more maintenance than small tropical fish.
How often you need to maintain the tank depends a lot on your filter, your tank size and how many fish you have in there. With a good filter, a bigger tank and recommended stocking (i.e. 20 gallons for the first goldfish and 10 gallons each for subsequent ones), the less frequent you need to maintain.
For my 50 gallons goldfish tank which provide home for my 5 goldfish (around 3-4 inches long each), I do my fish tank maintenance every week. Call me weird all you want but I do enjoy maintaining my fish tank with the 3 routines. I find it rather relaxing and therapeutic. The result of it is also very rewarding.
It is all about maintenance, maintenance and maintenance. If you make it a habit to regularly maintain your fish tank based on the 3 routines I have mentioned above, you will get a clean goldfish tank. Along with your filter, the water quality of your tank is kept in a tip top condition too!
Under the correct lighting and with a good camera, your fish tank will look like those that you admire from magazines or the internet! Okay.. that may have gone a bit too far but I hope you get my point. 🙂
So how often do you maintain your fish tank now? Do you follow any other routines that are different from what I have listed? Do let me know by leaving your comments below.
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