How To Maintain (Look After) My Fish Tank

How To Maintain (Look After) My Fish Tank

Follow these step-by-step instructions for healthy happy fish

Regular maintenance of your fish tank will ensure your fish stay healthy and the filter will last longer. It only takes 15 – 20 minutes if done regularly; if you leave it then it takes longer and becomes an onerous chore.


 You will need:

  • magnetic algae pad or a simple algae pad on a handle
  • gravel syphon
  • jug
  • 2 buckets

How to de-algae the tank.

This needs to be done 2 – 3 times every week.

Turn all the electrics to the tank off and remove the lid.

Take the magnetic pad and place one side on the outside of the tank and the other inside. Gently move the pad over the whole surface of the glass; it may not reach the corners so a pad on a handle may be necessary to clean the whole glass thoroughly. If you are just using the pad on a handle gently clean the entire surface of the tank. Don’t use household scourers as they are too abrasive and will scratch the glass. There are scourers for glass and acrylic tanks so make sure you have the right one for your tank otherwise you will end up scratching the surface.

Carry out the process gently in order to minimise any disturbance to the fish.

Replace the lid and turn on the electrics.

How to change the water

This needs to be done every 2 – 3 weeks.

Turn all the electrics to the tank off and remove the lid.

As all the muck sinks to the bottom of the tank you will need a gravel syphon to remove it from the gravel; using a jug to scoop out the water will only result in taking out the clean water from the top of the tank.

Place your bucket which will collect the dirty water lower down than your tank.

Fully submerge the syphon and gently shake it up and down; then it should just start to syphon the water.

Crunch the nozzle into the gravel; it will pick out the dirt and the heavier gravel will just fall back. Go through the whole tank.

Remove about 25% of the water.

Have some tap water ready in a bucket, making sure it is the same temperature as the water in the tank. Add de-chlorinator to the water in the bucket to the dose advised on the bottle, we are adding 10ml; this will remove any heavy metals present in the tap water. Also add the recommended dose of Filter Active to the water in the bucket; this helps build up the biological bacteria lost during the process. We are adding 5ml.

With a jug gently pour in the water; if you pour it over an ornament the water disperses gently and doesn’t shock the fish. Don’t pour it over the filter as this disturbs the bacteria. Fill the tank to its previous level.

Replace the lid and turn on the electrics.

Aquarium fish

How to clean the filter

Do this at the same time as you change the water; every 2 – 3 weeks.

Turn all the electrics to the tank off and remove the lid.

The filter is the heart of the fish tank so needs to be cleaned regularly in order to keep the fish happy and healthy.

It has several compartments with different filters and each one is cleaned slightly differently.  The polyfilter keeps the water clean and can just be rinsed in tap water. The second filter is biological and eats all the detritus. This cannot be rinsed in tap water so is rinsed out in the water which has been syphoned from the tank. If it is rinsed in tap water all the good bacteria is removed. Give the pad a couple of good squeezes out, no more otherwise too much bacteria will be removed.

Take apart the magnetic impeller and clean off all the algae, this can be rinsed in tap water. Put it back together and clean off any other algae from the pump. Reassemble the filter and replace it in the tank.

Replace the lid and turn on the electrics.


Profile Image Angela Slater

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.