Fish tanks need cleaning for the same reasons that any habitat does. You would not want to live in a filthy house with stale air and dust everywhere, and fish and other aquatic life do not want to live in a tank with debris and tainted water. The two major reasons why fish tanks need cleaning are for appearances and the health of your pet fish.
Fish Tank Cleaning - Make it Look Good
Fish waste falls to the bottom of the tank and lays on the gravel or festoons the plants and ornaments in your tank like some disgusting garland. Excess food is just as bad. It can moulder on the bottom of the tank and look horrible. Vacuuming of the substrate and gravel is the only way to get rid of this waste.
Algae is another culprit in the war to make your fish tank sparkle. Algae can grow on ornaments, plants and the glass, making your tank look dingy and dirty. It is especially important to scrape it off the glass with a specially made aquarium scraper or a razor blade. It is important to clean algae out of the fish tank because it can upset the healthy balance of the water.
Fish Tank Cleaning - Healthy Water, Healthy Fish
All of the waste and debris in your tank changes the water chemistry. As waste products, including fish waste and old food particles, break down, they release ammonia into the water. Ammonia should be fixed by beneficial bacteria into less volatile chemicals, but excess will build up and harm fish if you do not vacuum the waste and do partial water changes regularly.
Cleaning the filter in your fish tank is just as important. Some people mistakenly change the filter cartridge regularly, or wash it in steaming tap water to remove the gunk that builds up. Both of these methods of fish tank cleaning destroy bacteria colonies that help keep the water of the aquarium healthy. It is better to swish the filter vigorously through tank water that his been removed into a bucket to remove the bulk of the waste before replacing it in the filter.
If ornaments or fake plants become too covered with debris or algae, they can be removed and scrubbed with plain water. This is done merely to make the fish tank look better.
Fish tank cleaning, whether through vacuuming, filter cleaning or scrubbing of ornaments is important for both the look and health of your aquarium and its inhabitants.