I marvel at the big city aquariums I visit. Imagining myself slipping into a wetsuit to scrub aquarium walls sends shivers up my spine, but I’m not the type to work quite that hard for my pets. Nevertheless, I find watching the cleaning divers fascinating, and a little hypnotic. It has to be almost the same as working on the space station, in my mind.
Your aquarium’s pump keeps debris from floating around the habitat and, if you have shopped wisely, you’ll have one or two aquarium citizens that clean for a living, like catfish in freshwater or a sea star in saltwater tanks. Proper placement of your aquarium prevents algae’s covering every glass surface. You don’t over feed, so you don’t usually have cloudy water, but every once in a while you’ll need to clean your freshwater tank.
Unlike people, fish cannot withstand a suddenly clean environment, well. In fact, they go into shock when suddenly returned to a tank of completely clean water. Losing a goldfish to shock might not depress you, but losing your more expensive or exotic fish will break your heart. Instead of flushing a prized pet into the waste water treatment system, keep about half of the original, dirty water. Return that water, with the fish, to the tank after cleaning!