You do clean your house don’t you? Well you have to clean your Goldfish’s house too and it’s a lot simpler! Cleaning and maintaining a goldfish tank is a must because this breed is really dirty. Even a teenager’s room would be better than a goldfish tank that’s left alone for a week! The Goldfish are descendants of the scavenger Carp fish and that makes them scavengers too. They will eat a lot, which means that they will produce a lot of fish waste that will degrade the quality of the water. More than a complete overhaul of the tank, you will need to give frequent weekly cleanings.
How do you use a siphon to clean your goldfish tank?
You will need to use a siphon to clean your goldfish tank because it efficiently cleans up the muck, does not disturb your fish and is easy to use. It’s essential to use during the partial water changes. A typical aquarium gravel vacuum would be a wide tube attached to a narrower siphon tube. By cleaning the gravel every week you would get rid of a lot of substances that could turn toxic for your fish over a period of time. Here’s how you begin the siphoning process:
* Put a bucket on a low stool or even on the floor in front of the fish tank, and place the wide end of the gravel vacuum in the tank.
* Now gently suck at the other end and hold it over the bucket. Once you feel the water flowing into the tube let it flow into the bucket. Be careful not to swallow the water though- but even if you do, it isn’t going to be harmful!
* Now that the siphon has started, use the wider end to suck out the dirt and debris out of the gravel and flow out of the tank into the bucket.
* Pass the vacuum end over all the gravel and keep doing so till you have removed 10 to 15% of the water.
* If gravel gets stuck in the vacuum, release the gravel by plugging the other end of the siphon tube with your finger or thumb.
* When you want to stop the siphon just raise both ends above the level of the tank
* To stop the siphon, simply raise either end of the siphon above the surface level of the fish tank.
There are gravel vacuum that can be attached to a faucet but this would mean that you be putting back tap water directly into the tank which might not be good for your goldfish if there is a marked temperature difference. Also you would be adding all the chemicals present in the tap water without allowing the chlorine to evaporate. The best option is to keep a container of fresh water overnight.
The Weekly 10-15%
Cleaning your tank is essential to your goldfish’s well being. In fact, both your plants and your goldfish need fresh, clean and healthy water to survive. All you need to do is set aside a little time every week to do what is called a Partial Water Change or 10-15% Water Change.
This weekly routine will not only keep your aquarium look nice and clean, it will keep your goldfish healthy. Partial water changes are no sweat – all you have to do is scrape the algae, vacuum the gravel and replace the water you remove with fresh water. Here’s what you need to do:
* Remove the algae on the surface of the tank with an algae scraper before you siphon out the water.
* As the name suggests you need to remove 10 to 15% of the water from your aquarium.
* There is no need to remove your fish to a separate container.
* As you remove the water use the siphon to remove the messy deposits in the gravel.
* In case you have an under gravel filter, then you would have to clean the gravel during weekly water changes.
* Do not take out all the ornaments and decorations and scrub them clean because you might destroy some of the much-needed beneficial bacteria that act as natural biological filter.
* You can clean the filters during the weekly water change but do not change all the cartridges, sponges, carbon packets, etc., as this might remove all the good bacteria and harm your goldfish in the long run.
* Also remember to rinse any new filter media in cool running water before introducing it to the system.
* Once you have siphoned out 10-15% of the water and most of the dirt and the alga, it’s time to replace the amount of water you removed with fresh, dechlorinated tap water which has been left at room temperature over night, in container free of soap residue.
* Use a siphon to transfer the fresh water into the tank as this would be a gentle way to put the water back in and it won’t disturb the plants and the gravel. You would also spill a lot less!
* Do make sure that the fresh water is of somewhat the same temperature as the water in the tank. You cannot just dunk in cold water because Goldfish are not tropical fish.
Do remember to leave enough space between the top of the water and the tank hood so that your goldfish get enough oxygen to breathe in.
What not to do:
* If you see that the level in your aquarium has gone down, do not simply add water to make it level again. This is harmful, as you are not getting rid of the impurities in the water. You are just adding water without removing the dirt and thus making the water harder and more difficult for the goldfish to live in. So don’t add water to top off the tank, do a partial water change.
* Never add water directly from the tap. Please keep a separate container only for aquarium use and leave the water overnight so that the harmful chemicals and chlorine evaporate.
* Please do not skip weekly water changes because if you do not partially change the water, you are allowing the build up of waste products like Nitrate that are not removed by the filter, and contribute to the growth of algae.
By Dane Stanton
Dane Stanton is an expert on goldfish health care. To visit his website visit http://www.goldfish-secrets.com for more information on Goldfish care and other aquarium related topics.