Maintenance: Tank Maintenance Tips and Tricks

Dear Fellow aquarists, it is always good to know that we can make tank maintenance easier or better. If you have any tips, we would be delighted to publish them here!

Cleaning and disinfecting with Hydrogen Peroxide (H202)

H202 is the perfect solution for sterilising fish tanks, the pipe work, the glass and plastic of your aquarium.

Unlike bleach, Hydrogen Peroxide (H202)will turn into harmless water and oxygen after 24 hours in contact with water. It is therefore the perfect solution for use in the aquarium environment.

Not only will it kill all pathogens and algae spores at a dilution of 1 part Hydrogen Peroxide to 150 parts water, but used in stronger concentrations of 1 part Hydrogen Peroxide to 10 parts water it is ideal for cleaning algae from glassware and ceramic diffusers.

It is also very useful in treating tanks where major algae growth has been a problem. There is no form of algae that will survive this treatment.

For tank sterilisation, where there has been disease or bad algae infestation, the Hydrogen Peroxide should be added, the tank filled with water and the whole system including filtration run for a 24 hour period. Naturally, all livestock must be removed and placed elsewhere as this product is lethal to all organic life-forms in its initial active state.

It must also be remembered that any filter medium treated will now need re-cycling as all beneficial bacteria will also have been killed.

After 24 hours the tank should be emptied, refilled with fresh tap water and run again for another 24 hours. It is at this point that the tank is ready to safely commence fresh set up procedures. The entire system must now be treated as if you are starting from scratch.

For cleaning diffusers and glassware, the objects should be left to soak for several days and the solution strengthened as you see fit.

It is a good idea to keep two ceramic diffusers so that whilst one is soaking clean, the spare may be used in its place.

Please note again: this product must not be used with livestock present.


Rather that siphoning water into buckets and then carrying these from tank to sink or drain, a much simpler method is to use a small compact powerhead/pump. Once the basic vacuuming of the tank is over the rest of the water to be changed can be done directly to a waste source such as a window, toilet, or drain. A small but powerful pump can be used for this. Something like the MaxiJet 1000 is perfect.

A length of standard hose can be push fitted onto the powerhead which is then placed into the aquarium. The other end of the hose is then run to waste and the powerhead switched on. This makes the draining of large bodies of water far less of a task.

This means you are done without the need for buckets and the consequential spills of aquarium water.

Water can also be put back into the tank from a water source by reversing the process and placing the powerhead/pump into the water container and placing the other end of the hose in the aquarium. This reverse process then fills the aquarium simply and easily. Believe me — until you have actually practised this method, you will not understand how much more pleasurable your tank maintenance can become!

This method is particularly useful for tanks over 100 litres in volume.

When not being used for changing water, your powerhead can be used to create a strong, highly efficient water flow around the aquarium, dispersing both CO2 and dispelling any ‘dead’ spots in the tank.


A cheap and effective way to clean aquarium glass is with newspaper and vinegar. Simply scrunch up some newspaper and dampen it with some standard vinegar, then wipe the glass. This method will not result in visible streaks on the glass once it has dried. Obviously, this method can only be used on glass which is not submerged in water!


Here is an easy way to wash substrates that need to be washed. Go to the local home improvement store and get a paint strainer that fits over a 20 litre bucket. If you don’t have a 20 litre bucket, get one of those also. Take the strainer and place it over the bucket. Pour about 2kg of the substrate in question into the strainer. Use a hose to wash the substrate, bun not a high pressure sprayer. You don’t want or need to break your substrate up just get it clean. Now pull the strainer off the bucket, dump the water and repeat till the water is fairly clear. Using this method will save the “fines” but get rid of the dust.