How to clean a filter in a fish tank and why you should clean your aquarium filter. Fish tank filters are an essential piece of aquarium equipment. The primary purpose of having one is to keep the water clean, oxygenate it, and provide a habitat for beneficial bacteria.
Most equipment slows or clogs over time. This is true with filters too. All that dirt and debris has to end up somewhere. Eventually, the filter clogs and needs cleaning. But, how safe is it to clean the filter? Will it disrupt the ecosystem?
Is It Safe To Clean A Fish Tank Filter?
Yes! Cleaning your aquarium’s filter is safe if you use the correct steps. Remember, filters are home to beneficial bacteria that contribute to the health of the aquatic ecosystem. Incorrectly cleaning the filter removes the bacteria and does more harm than good.
So, do not clean the filter with tap water. Why? Tap water contains chlorine and other harmful components that disrupt your fish tank’s ecosystem.
Tap water may destroy the beneficial bacteria that live on the filter. These colonies of bacteria took quite some time to build up and, if eliminated, would be detrimental to your aquarium.
Why are the beneficial bacteria good for the fish tank? These bacteria are essential for biological filtration. They break down harmful chemicals and toxins and release less harmful ones.
For example, beneficial bacteria break down ammonia, which is dangerous, into nitrate, and then break down nitrate into nitrite, which is safer in small quantities. It’s all part of the nitrogen cycle.
How To Clean A Filter In A Fish Tank
Step 1 – Get two large buckets to hold the filter.
Step 2 – Unplug the filter, remove it from the aquarium, and transfer it to one of the buckets.
Step 3 – Fill the second bucket with room temperature water that has already been conditioned. You can also use some of the water from your aquarium.
Step 4 – Start to take apart the filter.
Step 5 – Use the room temperature water to clean the filter media. Please give it a good rinse to remove most of the built-up particles or until the water is nearly transparent. Do not scrub because you don’t want to destroy the good bacteria.
Step 6 – Clean the motor, covers, and other filter parts using warm, NOT HOT, conditioned water.
When done, put the filter back together, return it to the tank, and turn it on.
That’s it! You’ve successfully cleaned your aquarium filter without getting rid of the beneficial bacteria! You
How Often To Clean The Filter In Your Aquarium
Aquarium filter cleaning can be done once every 3 to 4 weeks. The larger the aquarium, the larger the fish, and the number of fish, the more frequent you need to clean the filter. In contrast, a large aquarium with tiny micro fish like Neon Tetras would need less regular cleaning.
The Bottom Line
Cleaning a fish tank filter is a quick and straightforward process. The most important thing to consider is to take care not to destroy the beneficial bacteria that live on the filter. You can use the above steps to clean an internal or external filter.
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