Cleaning Aquarium Filter

When you set up an aquarium and get it running successfully, it is very normal to forget about regular maintenance. Changing water weekly is most important thing to do but there is something that you must remember and the thing is to keep your aquarium healthy.

The filter of the aquarium contains beneficial bacteria which helps the fish to live. So, cleaning the aquarium filter shouldn’t be considered lightly. Moreover, you need to keep this in your mind that you have to clean the filter without causing any damage to the bacteria province that is very effective.

How to Clean Your Aquarium Filter?

For the fish, the water in the aquarium can be compared to the air we breathe in. Thus, without proper cleaning and pure water your fish might die. The fish tank filter has its own cleaning mechanism but to function properly and work efficiently, it should be cleaned on a regular basis.

There are many types of filter available on the market. You need to know all the information about your aquarium filter for cleaning it in a specific method to that type and avoid damage when cleaning. Here is a list of the different types of filter and their cleaning guides.

Reason for cleaning your fish tank

Fish tank is the house of fishes like ours to live. Dirt, grime and other kind of mess gathers in the water and makes the environment dirty and unclean. Fishes are delicate creatures that’s why they respond very negatively if their environment changes. Moreover, dirty water is also the reason that causes harm to the aquarium filter. Thus, it becomes a necessity to keep the water of the tank balanced, nutrient rich, and clean.

How often you should clean the fish tank

Cleaning the fish tank regularly and trouble the fish often might cause a negative impact on the health of the fish. So, it is better to clean the aquarium once in a week. You should clean the aquarium when the aquarium stays in a comparable state of cleaning. This will allow less dirt to grow and keeps the environment of the tank clean and hygiene.

How to clean the filter?

Mechanical filters cleaning

  1. The existing water in your tank should be taken for cleaning process and take a few cups of the water. This will make you sure about the balance of the chemical where the fish has adjusted to.
  2. Take your filter off after unplugging it.
  3. Put it in a bucket or basin and wash it with the water that is taken from tank.
  4. Scrub the filter pipes, filter tubes and the casing. Make sure that the dirt is off properly.
  5. Rinse everything off and clean it.
  6. Plug it back after replacing it back to its place.

Chemical filters cleaning

  1. Take out some tank water for cleaning.
  2. By unplugging first, remove it from the aquarium.
  3. After removing the carbon, scrub your filter thoroughly.
  4. Put the new carbon in the filter.
  5. Put the filter back and plug it again.

It is important to do the work correctly and frequently. When the water becomes foggy, then it is time to replace the carbon.

Biological filters cleaning

This type of filters uses necessary bacteria to filter the water. If you scrub it hardly, it would cause harm or damage the colonies of bacteria. You should rinse off the filter by using tank water and clean as much as it requires.

Cleaning a sponge filter

This process is quite similar to cleaning a mechanical filter. You need to apply the same rules as the mechanical filter. Place the sponge and filter quickly to the tank so that the bacterial colonies do not die.

Canister filter cleaning

This filter is different from other filters. You don’t need to clean it once a week and after a deep cleaning, you can clean it after few months. Apply the following rules to clean a canister filter.

  1. Detach the outlet and intake hoses and ensure that you unplugged everything.
  2. Take some tank water in a bucket and put the filter in it for cleaning.
  3. discharge the excess water from the canister filter after putting it in a sink.
  4. Take another bucket filled with tank water and rinse it off. Scrub the hoses and clean it.
  5. Don’t use any kind of chemical to clean it because it may harm your fishes and use only tank water to do this process.
  6. After scrubbing and wiping everything, reassemble everything and attach the hoses and filter media should be replaced.
  7. Plug it back in the tank and check whether your filter is working properly or not.

Cleaning a hang-on-back filter

  1. Take out some water from the tank.
  2. After removing the filter, disassemble it.
  3. Scrub every part of it nicely.
  4. When doing this process, leave any bio-wheel or sponge pad in your tank.
  5. Reassemble your filter in the tank and replace bio-wheel, sponge or pad.
  6. Plug it back like before.

An Undergravel filter cleaning

An undergravel is an internal filter and you need to vacuum the gravel when you change the water of the tank. To clean it in an appropriate way you must follow some steps.

  1. While changing the water, vacuuming the gravel is necessary. You should move it to loosen the dirt in it.
  2. Rinse the filter after removing it and scrub thoroughly. Do not scrub harshly.
  3. Clean the gravel and change the filter.
  4. Continue the process of water changing.

Regular maintenance

To maintain a filter, you need to keep in mind that you should clean it but no do this cleaning very often which causes problems for fishes. If your filter contains carbon, ensure that you are changing the chemicals or other parts as needed.

So, keep cleaning the filter of your aquarium and let your precious fish live their lives to the fullest.


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