Whether you're an expert aquarist or new to the hobby, cleaning your tank can be a daunting task. The easiest way to remember to clean your tank is to keep all materials nearby in a sanitary and organized space. That way, you're ready to go when it's time to clean.
Complete these in order to get your aquarium cleaned safely and effectively.
☐ Unplug the filter and heater.
☐ Clean the algae off of the glass with a scraper or algae pad.
☐ While the scrubbed algae is settling to the bottom, remove the filter and take it to a sink to be cleaned.
☐ Take out any biological filter media and place it in a bowl or container of aquarium water. Swoosh it around to remove any loose dirt or detritus. Store it here temporarily while the rest of the filter is cleaned.
☐ Clean or replace any mechanical filter media. Replace any chemical media such as activated carbon.
☐ Remove the impeller and clean it with a rag or paper towel. If there is a lot of calcium scale on the magnet, soak it in vinegar for an hour or two before rinsing and replacing.
☐ Remove the heater and clean it. If there is any calcium scale over the heating element, soak in vinegar to dissolve it away.
☐ After a good rinse, replace all media into the filter and reinstall to the aquarium but do not plug back in yet.
☐ Using your gravel vacuum, do a water change of at least 25% of the aquarium. The siphon will now be able to suck up the loose algae that has settled to the bottom.
☐ After the desired amount has been drained, add water conditioner to new water and then refill the aquarium. Be sure to match temperatures of the new water with the aquarium.
☐ Plug the filter and heater back in.
☐ Clean the outside of the aquarium with an aquarium safe glass cleaner.
All Done! Enjoy your newly cleaned aquarium!