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Is It Possible to Clean an Aquarium Too Much?

Can You Overclean Aquariums San Diego, CA

Periodic cleaning of aquariums is something all fish keepers know must be done if they want their aquatic species to live healthily and thrive in their enclosed ecosystems. This is non-negotiable, although the frequency of cleaning can be reduced through smart strategies. Each time an aquarium is cleaned, fish keepers get to learn more about the habitats they manage. To a certain extent, a sparkly clean aquarium isn’t only aesthetic but also conducive to a healthy ecosystem. However, there are some situations in which too much cleaning can bring about complications.

Cleaning Versus Water Changes

The main purpose of keeping aquariums clean is to inhibit the excessive production of nitrogen, which can turn into toxic levels of ammonia. You may be able to keep ammonia and nitrate levels down with frequent water changes. In fact, you can vacuum the substrate very often and still register high ammonia levels when dipping a test strip in the tank if you’re not changing at least 25 percent of the water every month. Fish waste and uneaten food (which never just goes away) will eventually break down, dissolve, and be filtered, but you’ll have to change the water a lot more frequently because it will have a higher concentration of nitrites and nitrates.

Full Tank Cleaning Isn’t Necessary

Some aquarists will completely dismantle their tanks for a full scrubbing once a year. To this effect, some of them will establish a full separate tank of water complete with plants and bottled bacteria that can be acquired from a trusted aquarium supplier. Unless the aquarium has suffered a severe algae infestation or developed large limescale deposits from hard water, you don’t want to do this. Full tank cleaning is disruptive to aquarium species, and it also presents a risk of losing the balance of Nitrobacter, the beneficial bacteria colonizing filter media. It’s better to clean in stages each time you do a 25 percent water change—cleaning the tank twice in a 3-day period to catch up on a lag in maintenance rather than doing a large water change all at once.

Using Household Chemicals

Once you take an entire tank apart (if it has to be done) for a full cleaning, there’s a chance you’ll be tempted to scrub with household cleaners such as dish soap, which shouldn’t even come near the aquarium. You can purchase aquarium-safe cleaners or use a solution that measures one cup of bleach to 20 cups of water. After using this solution, everything should be thoroughly rinsed with water that has been dechlorinated.

How to Reduce Aquarium Cleaning

Seasoned aquarists take pride in creating ecosystems that don’t need constant cleaning and water changes. This requires a strategy that starts with a lengthy period of establishing the nitrogen cycle, planting the right species, and carefully stocking the tank with algae eaters, bottom dwellers, and scavengers. You can accomplish this by starting out with research, but you’ll also need a tank that holds at least 25 gallons.

Keeping your aquarium clean is important, but there are several other steps you need to take to properly maintain your tank. Make sure you also have all of the essential supplies on hand. Whether you need aquarium controllers, beneficial bacteria, filtration, LED lighting, or any other fish tank supply, Aquatic Warehouse has got you covered. Stop by our store located in Kearny Mesa, order the supplies you need from our website, or give us a call at 858-467-9297 if you have any questions.


Contact Information

  • Address: 5466 Complex Street Suite 204
    San Diego, CA 92123
  • Phone: (858) 467-9297
  • Email: sales@aquaticwarehouse.com
  • Working Days/Hours: Mon - Fri / 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Saturday / 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Sunday / 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM


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