Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cleaning Day!

Decades ago (gosh, I'm old) I would remove the fish from the tank and clean it from top to bottom. Now I'd like to think I am much smarter - and my fish are healthier and the tanks are cleaner.

This morning I cleaned four tanks in less than two hours. That's less than thirty minutes per tank.

Here are my secrets:

I change 25% of the water in each tank each and every week.

And I use this hose.

My hose is 50 feet long. I have one end connected to my laundry tub so I can easily reach all but one of my eight tanks.

When I am ready to clean the tanks, I turn the blue button on the side and it siphons the water out of the tank. I can siphon 25% of a 70-gallon tank in less than five minutes. I usually clean just one side so the fish congregate on the opposite side. Then the following week, I'll siphon from the other side.

When I am finished siphoning, I turn the blue button on the side and it fills the tank back up. I have a gallon pitcher set aside for aquarium use only, and I add Prime (just half of what is necessary for 20 gallons, the approximate amount I have siphoned out), Ph Neutralizer (if needed) and aquarium salt (only if needed). Then I pour that gallon in slowly while the rest of the water comes straight from the tap through the hose. It takes about five minutes to fill back up.

I use a long-handled algae sponge (see the post from earlier this week) if I notice algae built up on the glass. With a pleco in each tank except the honeymoon suite and the infant tank, I usually don't have algae built-up except in those two tanks. And the algae is beneficial for the baby angels to eat.

The hose comes in longer lengths if needed and it eliminates the mess and time-consuming chore of emptying water into buckets and carrying them laboriously outside to dump.

When I clean the baby angels' tank, I use a hand syphon that does empty into a bucket. Their tank is only 20 gallons so I am removing about 4-5 gallons, enough to fill just one bucket. The hand syphon is much smaller and slower. It won't suck up baby angels in it unless they are very tiny. This has happened to me and I checked the bucket, got out the fish with a net, put them back into the tank and they were not any worse for the wear, believe it or not.

When working with the baby angels' tank, I only use a few drops of Prime. It is easy to overuse Prime and if you do, you are removing important and beneficial elements and bacteria from the water - things they need to survive. If this happens, you should remove about 25% of the water again.

Tetra used to manufacture a product called Cichlid Vitamins, which I loved - because my fish loved it. They stopped producing it so I've switched to amazon extract. I once had a problem with angelfish dying mysteriously and once I began adding this to their water, they thrived. I since learned that I was using too much Prime, stripping the water of all that was needed, and this additive put it back into the water.

I know they are happy with the water conditions because angels will only lay eggs if conditions are perfect. So if you have angels that are not breeding and you're relatively certain you have a male and a female, try the amazon extract.

Tomorrow: meet the dogs who are by my side while I work with the aquariums.