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Buying an aquarium can be a really nice decision especially if you have children at home. Watching the fish interact can keep kids engaged for hours.
The store where you bought the aquarium will have given you a list of dos and don'ts, and the staff can also tell you exactly when and how to clean the tank, though doing so can be daunting especially if it is your first time.
What you can see almost quickly in the first few days after your purchase would be the slimy algae forming on the little accessories inside the tank. Instead of using clean agents, you might want to consider buying algae-eating fish such as a plecostomus (sucker fish) that feeds on algae, indirectly cleaning parts of your aquarium.
Have a glass cleaning routine because that is where most of the bacteria is likely to fester. If you have a larger aquarium, invest in a scrubber for scraping off the gunk into the water before proceeding to change the water.
Water filters work to keep aquariums free of feces and waste that fish excrete. The parts of the filter need to be cleaned regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions. The gravel at the bottom of the tank is where a lot of bacteria and dirt gets deposited. Use a wet vacuum to suck out dirt without touching the bigger rocks.
There is no need to use any cleaning solvents or liquids as they can cause distress to the fish and could be fatal. If there is dirt or a stain that seems stubborn; use a little salt to scrub it off but remember to remove the fish from the water first.
For very large aquariums, you may opt to engage the services of professionals to maintain and clean them.
• There is a procedure to follow in aquarium cleaning
• Include algae-eating fish to help keep the tank clean
• Avoid using cleaning solvents as they can harm fish
Source: Urmila Santosh, Special to Classifieds
The writer is a freelancer