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Cleaning the fish tank is an essential part of being a fish keeper. Whether preparing for a new aquarium or caring for the tank where fish already reside, cleaning will be imperative. But, if you’re new to the hobby, you may be wondering if you can clean a fish tank with soap.
As a short, quick answer, no. Do not clean your established tank with any kind of soap. If you have fish and a running aquarium with a healthy nitrogen cycle, using a surfactant or detergent to clean your tank will destroy the ecosystem, including the fish. Even if you’re looking to clean a new aquarium, do not use any kind of soap.
Can you clean a fish tank with soap?
If you have an established tank, no matter how dirty it is or what condition it’s in, do not use any type of soap. Your fish will suffer and die from the residue. Seriously, don’t even attempt to use any amount of soap with plentitudes of water.
Don’t use dish soap, hand soap, body wash, facial cleanser or any other type of soap. This is because it will eventually hurt your fish due to the soap molecules sticking to the sides..
How do you cleaning an empty tank?
If you’re looking to use an old tank and want to establish a new environment for fish, you have to clean it. As tempting and logical as it may seem, don’t use any kind of soap, detergent or surfactant. Simply fill it up with warm water and use a clean scrub brush.
Selecting a Scrub Brush
If you choose to use a brand new scouring pad that’s attached to a sponge, you have to make sure there’s no soap. Many manufacturers include some form of detergent and it’s noticeable when wet. In case you have any doubts, use a toilet bowl brush or other scrubbers.
Even if you use a brand new scrubber (see Amazon), rinse it off well with water before cleaning your tank with it. This is because you don’t want any foreign particles or leftover soap to touch the inside walls It’s imperative that you exercise the utmost caution with cleaning implements.
You must rinse your tank out well with a pressure wash when you’re finished scrubbing it out and don’t just run water from a faucet. There should be some force behind it. Then, allow it to air dry completely. Once it’s dry, wipe it down well with a clean cloth.
Don’t set up your tank until you are certain it’s thoroughly clean and completely dry. This way, you can inspect the tank once more and remove any leftover dirt and grime from the walls and floor of the aquarium.
How do you clean a fish tank?
If you have a tank with fish already living in it, you cannot use cleaners in any capacity. Even if the inside cakes with gunk, do not use any soap. You will hurt your fish and any other aquatic life because of the residue it leaves behind. Even the smallest amount of soap can be detrimental.
Don’t Wash Your Hands
But, before you clean your tank, do not wash your hands in soap. It will transfer to the tank and do the same damage as if you used soap to clean it. This is also true if you have food, oil, moisturizer or any other foreign substances on your hands.
Therefore, it may be a good idea to purchase a pair of heavy-duty gloves specifically for cleaning the aquariums. Rubber, nitrile or vinyl gloves will protect you and your fish from unintended and unforeseen dangers.
Regular Partial Water Changes
When fish are residing in the tank and you want to clean it, perform partial water changes on a regular basis. Don’t remove the fish unless they’re sick. The only things you add are conditioner like this and salt (if it’s a marine aquarium). Anything else will disturb the bacteria balance of the tank and throw off the nitrogen cycle.
At the very least, a 20% water change per week should be sufficient. Don’t do anything more than 40% because your aquatic life will suffer and stress your fish. If you’re dealing with a serious issue, like an ammonia spike, do small changes every few days until the problem clears up.
What is the best way to reduce cleaning a fish tank?
Aside from creating a regular schedule for partial water changes, there are a few things you can do to reduce frequent cleaning of your fish tank:
- Filtration: Having a high-quality filtration system in your aquarium encourages oxygen through water movement. This prevents algae and bad bacteria from building up.
- Feeding: Overfeeding fish is the number one cause of most problems that crop up in an aquarium. You should only give fish as much food as they can consume within a couple minutes.
- Lighting: Too much light encourages algae growth and spiking phosphates within a tank. Also, make sure there’s no direct sunlight.
Are there any chemicals safe for cleaning a fish tank?
If your walls are thick with gunk and grime, put a few drops of white vinegar on a clean, unused cloth and wipe down the tank walls with it. Other than that, there’s no need to use a chemical on the inside of your tank to clean it. Only use this vinegar trick in the event that a scrub brush and hot water won’t remove buildup thoroughly enough.
Don’t use soap to clean your tank when you have fish living in it or when you’re trying to prepare an old tank that’s entirely filthy. Clean the tank with an unused scrub brush or toilet bowl scrubber and warm water.
This will be especially true once you establish a nitrogen cycle. Any amount of soap, cleaners, detergents or surfactants will hurt your aquatic life. Partial water changes on a regular schedule is best to maintain your tank’s cleanliness.