Why are fish tanks prone to getting dirty in summer?

Why are fish tanks prone to getting dirty in summer?

In such a hot summer season, animals have a strong appetite and fast metabolism, making it difficult to maintain a clean water tank. From time to time, the filter of the aquarium should be cleaned. In this blog, we explain how to carry out cleaning work on the aquarium filter.


Why should the aquarium filter be cleaned?

The filter of an aquarium, whether it is an external filter, backpack filter or internal filter, serves not only to generate flow but also to break down pollutants and retain dirt particles.

Biological pollutant degradation is a part of the nitrogen cycle in the aquarium and occurs through the activity of bacteria - tiny organisms that have settled in the filter material.

Especially the so-called biological filter media provides bacteria a suitable habitat. Dirt particles are mainly retained in the aquarium filter by so-called pre-filter media such as filter wool or filter foam, and other mechanical filter materials such as Eheim and Biorb.




When should the aquarium filter be cleaned?

Over time, these media collect more and more filter sludge, which causes the flow and performance of the filter to decrease more and more. Deposits also form in the hoses and pipes, which reduce the flow. When the water flow and current are noticeably reduced, it is high time for a filter cleaning.

Because less flow, both in the aquarium and in the filter, also means less oxygen and nutrient transport. This can result in poor water plant growth, algae formation, or disturbed microbiology.

The filter is only cleaned as often as necessary.

This can have severe disadvantages if cleaned too often, intensively, or in too short intervals. By renewing or rinsing the filter materials, large amounts of beneficial bacteria are continually removed, which must first be rebuilt.

Suppose this happens too often or too intensively. In that case, it can adversely affect the microbiology and pollutant degradation in the aquarium through the nitrogen cycle. In the worst case, this can lead to increased ammonia or nitrite production, which can be dangerous for the aquarium inhabitants. Proper filter cleaning is, therefore, crucial for a well-functioning, stable aquarium.





How should the aquarium filter be cleaned?

As is well known, many useful bacteria live inside an aquarium filter. When cleaning it, some of these bacteria are removed. To minimize this, cleaning only a part of the filter media at a time is recommended instead of all at once.

This way, enough microorganisms remain active in the older filter media to keep the ecosystem intact on a bacterial level. The filter media should be rinsed in a water bath or under running water, with the water at room temperature.

For the same reason, the filter materials should not be cleaned too thoroughly. A certain level of "dirt" should be left behind, as it contains helpful sessile bacteria that metabolize organic pollutants in the water.

Fine filter media, such as filter wool or fleece, can be thoroughly cleaned to restore good water flow. Sometimes, it is even easier to replace them with new media.



Finally, wishing you and your aquatic pets a wonderful summer.