How to Change the Water Safely in an Aquarium


One of the most important aspects of successful fish keeping is good aquarium maintenance, including routine water changes. By following these tips, your tank environment will improve almost overnight.

  • Unplug all filters and heaters. As the water drains from your tank, your filter will not be able to draw water through the intake tube and it will run dry, possibly damaging the equipment. Aquarium heaters should never be exposed to air while plugged in, as the heat will cause the glass housing to shatter, destroying the heater and causing an electrical hazard.

  • Place the siphon in the tank and manoeuvre it so that the vacuum end and most of the hose fill with water. Plug the end of the hose with your thumb and lower it into the bucket. If there was enough water in the hose, gravity will take over when you remove your thumb and water will flow from the aquarium into the bucket. Alternately, you can place the vacuum in the tank and suck on the end of the hose (like a straw) until water starts to flow through, then drop the hose into your bucket. This method is easier for some, but you risk getting a mouthful of aquarium water,
  • Now it is a good time to wipe nuisance algae off the sides of your aquarium. If you have an acrylic tank, only use scrub pads designated as safe for acrylic (these are available at most fish supply stores). Glass tanks don’t scratch as easily and I’ve even used Scotch pads on mine.  Just be sure that they’ve never had soap or other chemicals on them!
  • Replace any decorations you’ve disturbed while the water level is low. Fill your bucket with fresh water the same temperature as your aquarium water (you can use a thermometer, but even your hand can be fairly accurate). Add de-chlorinator to the bucket, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a pitcher to move water from the bucket to the tank because it disturbs the tank less and don’t spill as much. Repeat this until the tank is filled to the appropriate level.
  • If you have a filter that hangs on the back of your tank, make sure that it is primed (full of water) and then plug it in. Once your filter is working properly, you can plug your heater back in, wipe the water spots off of the outside of the glass, and you’re all set! It might take a couple of tries to get a system worked out, but it’ll go quickly once you get the hang of it. A ten or twenty gallon tank shouldn’t take more than fifteen minutes. If it gives you any idea, I can do all six of mine in under an hour.

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Related posts:

  1. How to Check Aquarium Water
  2. How to Choose Heaters and Thermostats for an Aquarium
  3. How to Choose an Aquarium
  4. How to Adjust pH in Aquarium Water
  5. How to Transport and Settle the Fishes in Your Aquarium

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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