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Cleaning Equipment for Your Aquarium

One of the most frequently asked questions that customers who are considering their first aquarium ask is how hard is it to clean and maintain an aquarium, particularly if they’re thinking about a saltwater aquarium, because they may have heard that it is very difficult to maintain. If you have a few basic tools, and follow some simple guidelines, then keeping your aquarium clean is easy, and does not require a great deal of time.

If any piece of equipment is a “must” have, then a gravel siphon is it. A gravel siphon will remove water from your aquarium and clean your gravel at the same time. A gravel siphon is a simple device that uses a small diameter flexible tubing that is attached to a larger diameter plastic tube that goes into your Aqueon water changeraquarium. The large diameter plastic tube is plunged into your gravel, and removes water at a slow speed that will tumble and clean the gravel without sucking it out of the tank. When the water reaches the small diameter tubing it accelerates and removes only the dirt from the gravel and water. There are two styles of gravel siphon, a simple version like the Lee’s aquarium products Gravel Cleaner, that uses gravity to remove water through a shorter length of tubing into a bucket, or other container. There are also more advance cleaning systems, like the Aqueon Water Changer and the Lee’s Ultimate Aquarium Gravel Vac, that attaches to a sink faucet and uses the water pressure of your tap to draw water through a length of tubing up to 100’ with a venturi attachment that fits any standard faucet. The advantage to the more advanced system is that the flow can be reversed at the faucet end to actually fill your aquarium back up after all the dirt has been removed from the gravel. What could be easier than that! If you have a chlorinated water source you will need to add a water conditioner at the same time. Gravel siphons are available for just about any size aquarium.

One of the best inventions to come along in aquarium cleaning products is the magnetic algae cleaner for your aquariums glass or acrylic panels. With the use of two magnets, one inside the aquarium and one outside, you can clean all of you viewing panels without the need to put your hands in the aquarium. The inside magnet has a cleaning surface that removes algae from the inside glass, you simply stick the two magnets together with the aquarium glass in between, then move the outside magnet around until all the algae is gone. This is a simple device, that has dramatically improved the ease and speed that you can clean your glass. In recent years manufacturers have invented a magnet cleaning system that has a floating inside magnet, so you never lose the cleaner to the bottom of the aquarium, which was the downfall to initial models if you moved the outside piece too quickly. Floating magnets like the Magfloat and the Magnavore, are available for most sizes of aquariums in both glass and acrylic safe models.

Just as important as the gravel siphon and the magnet cleaner is following some basic husbandry guidelines to help keep your aquarium clean.  Replace your filter cartridges, or filter media, at least once a month, make sure that you are not overstocking and overfeeding your aquarium, and make sure that you keep to a schedule. Small water changes on a weekly or biweekly basis will ensure that your water quality stays at a high level, which will inhibit excess waste build up and algae growth. All of these things are easy to do, and take very little time. If you procrastinate in maintaining the tank, or wait until there is a problem, then correcting issues becomes more difficult and time consuming.
Algae Mag float

Aquarium keeping should be fun and easy, follow these tips and guidelines, an you should be headed for success.

Until Next Blog,

Dave

3 comments

  1. avatar

    Using the original Mr. Clean Magic erasers in conjuction with the magnet makes cleaning a breeze. Just cut a thin strip of the eraser and place it on the inside of the tank, cutting it thin still allows the magnet to work. This takes the algae away alot faster. There is nothing in the eraser that is harmul, just make sure you use the original and not the ones that have a scent to them.

  2. avatar

    I was wondering about maintaining the heater to the aquarium tank. I have a side mount one. Someone had given me a 10 gallon fish tank with fish already in it, and I was cleaning it. I took the heater out to clean it and I was wondering if you were suppose to let it sit for a while before you plug it back in? I am asking cause I had a fish tank set up for a couple of months to get it ready for new fish and the heater fried. Luckily I had no fish in there or they would have died. Sparks came out and blew the fuse and everything. Someone told me that the sulfur has to settle. Is this true? I just don’t want it to happen again. With fish in it this time and for safety reasons of course. Also, the one that fried I had not touched or had just cleaned. Thanks for your time.

  3. avatar

    You can clean the heater carefully, make sure it is cooled before submerging it again in the tank, and look it over to make sure it isn’t cracked. The problem you had sounds like a problem with the integrity of the heater, like a crack in the casing, or possibly it was a heater not designed to be fully sumberged, and water got into where it isn’t supposed to be. Unless the heater is old, cracked or hot when you put it back in the tank, you shouldn’t have a problem. Just be sure the heater is fully submersible and read the directions thoroughly.

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About Dave Acland

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After graduating from Coastal Carolina University with a BS in Marine Science in 1996, I started my professional career in 1997 as an aquarist at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, SC. This was an amazing experience, in which I gained invaluable hands on training in exhibit design and construction, as well as husbandry skills for a wide range of animals. In 2000 I started working at That Fish Place as one of the staff Marine Biologists, with the responsibility of maintaining one of the largest retail fish holding systems in the world. I presently hold the position of Director of Aquatic Science, where I oversee the operation of our 35,000 gallon retail aquarium systems, and provide technical support for our mail-order and retail store customer service staff. As an aquatic product specialist, I also provide support for our purchasing and marketing departments, as well as contribute web content and analysis. As a Hobbyist I acquired my love of aquariums from my father who was keeping a large aquarium in early 70’s, and set up my first aquarium when I was 12 years old. I have now been keeping aquariums for over 35 years, and through this time have kept more aquariums and types of fish than I can remember. I set up my first Saltwater aquarium in 1992, which led me down the path I still follow today.