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Page 2 about
Warm Water Aquariums

This page continues the discussion about how to keep Warm Water Fish in an aquarium with an aquarium heater and thermometer.

On this page you can read about how to clean your Warm Water Aquarium and other important topics.

Click here to go back to the first page of this discussion.

1. How to Clean your Warm Water Aquarium.
Once each week clean the inside of your aquarium with a Scrubbing Pad.
Tropical Fish tank scrubber   Use a Scrubbing Pad that is labeled for use in aquariums like the Jungle Algae Remover shown in the illustration to the right. Use your Scrubbing Pad to scrub the inside of your aquarium once a week. Use your scrubbing pad only to scrub your aquarium, do not use the pad for anything else.
Here are the directions from the package of the Scrubbing Pad.

"Jungle Algae Remover Aquarium Cleaning Pad. Environmentally friendly. Made from non-toxic materials. Safely Removes Algae and hard Water Deposits. For use on all aquariums. Glass - Acrylic - Plexiglas - Plastic. 

"Directions for Use: the algae remover features a non-abrasive cleaning pad that safely removes algae, water lines, salt residue and hard water deposits from glass, acrylic, plexi-glas, and plastic aquariums. Can also be used to clean plastic plants, ornaments, filters, hoods, frames, stands, and other aquarium accessories. Before each use, wet the pad, then gently rub surfaces to be cleaned. Rinse pad with tap water after each use.

"Caution: Avoid getting sand or gavel on the pad, as these will cause scratches. Avoid using extreme pressure as this may cause surface scratches or glass breakage. Do not use on dry surfaces.

"If using a cleaning product with the Algae Remover, avoid using household liquid detergents as these may contain ingredients which are harmful to fish."

Incidentally, we do not recommend using sand in aquariums or fish bowls, because the water does not circulate well through the sand, and it soon becomes polluted. You can substitute a thin layer of aquarium gravel that is at most 1/4" thick. Click here for more about aquarium gravel.


Use the pad to scrub the inside surface of the glass in your aquarium. Scrub all four sides: front, back and two ends. Scrub the glass gently back and forth several times until it's squeaky clean.

If you get sand or gravel on your scrubbing pad, it will permanently scratch the inside of your aquarium.

Incidentally, we do not recommend using sand in aquariums or fish bowls, because the water does not circulate well through the sand, and it soon becomes polluted. You can substitute a thin layer of aquarium gravel that is at most 1/4" thick.

Click here for more about aquarium gravel.

Also scrub everything else in your aquarium such as the ornaments and the outside of the siphon tube going to the filter on the back of your aquarium.

Usually you won't need to remove any of these items from your aquarium, unless they are very scummy, just scrub them in the water in your aquarium.

Remove the siphon tube that takes water to your filter. Put the siphon tube in the bucket with the old water that you removed from your aquarium.

Use a test tube brush to scrub the inside the siphon tube, rinse it well, and reconnect it to your filter.

Don't use soap, or bleach, or other chemicals to clean anything that goes in your aquarium.

After you have scrubbed your aquarium, take a rest break for a few minutes then clean the gravel using a Gravel Washer as described below.


Previously I had recommended just buying a kitchen sponge and using it to scrub your aquarium and the accessories in your aquarium.

But it was pointed out to me that this advice is contrary to my advice, given elsewhere, that everything going into your aquarium should be made for aquariums and labeled for use in aquariums.

I was surprised to realize that I had violated by own advice. Furthermore, I was told that some aquarists had suffered "wipeouts" in their aquariums due to chemicals on new sponges. So I bought several new sponges.

Rinsed them out four or five times in warm tap water and put them in aquariums and fish bowls with fish. There were no "wipeouts" and no problems.

I also called the manufacturers of the sponges, when I could find their phone numbers. The responses were pretty much the same.

They did not want to make any guarantees, and they did not want to be quoted by name or by company.

Those sorts of comments would have to come from their lawyers! But each one said, off the record, that their company was very aware that their sponges might be used around food or by people for personal hygiene.

For that reason their sponges would not contain any toxins and should be OK to use in aquariums too.

Taking my tests and their comments into consideration, I would surmise that the wipeouts, mentioned above, were due to some other coincidental factor.

Perhaps the sponges had been used with some strong scrubbing chemical and were not new and clean.

Now we recommend the Jungle brand Algae Remover Pad that is specifically labeled for use on aquariums and aquarium accessories.

  How to Clean Gravel
These photos show Nicholas, age 8, holding a Gravel Washer and using it to clean the gravel in a small pond.

Cleaning the gravel in a small above-ground pond is like cleaning the gravel in an aquarium. In the bucket you can see the dark green water that Nicholas siphoned off the bottom of the pond.

Clean the Gravel
in your aquarium twice a week, as you change 20% of the water. Use a Gravel Washer. There are two sizes. Get the larger size: it works better than the smaller one.

Follow the directions on the package. Be careful not to stir the gravel. Move the Gravel Washer's large tube up and down vertically. Don't move it sideways which will stir the gravel and cloud your water.


Stop gravel washing when you've removed 20% of the water from your aquarium or pond. If your gravel needs more cleaning, wait until the next day to continue.

Replacing more than 20% of your aquarium's water in one day is risky. Discard the old water from your aquarium and replace it with fresh tap water from the faucet.


2. Aquariums Don't Need Gravel.
OK, now that you've learned how to clean gravel, we'll tell you that most fish and aquariums don't need gravel.

Fish in fish bowls will do better if the fish bowl has a layer of gravel 1/4-inch thick, and a plastic pond will also do better with a layer of gravel 1/4-inch thick.

Click here to see a picture my pond in a barrel with a plastic liner.

But an aquarium with an external power filter and a BIO-Wheel does not need gravel.

Click here for information about aquarium filters with BIO-Wheels.

Gravel is purely cosmetic provided that the aquarium has the recommended type of filter. The thinner the layer of gravel the healthier the fish will be.

Gravel often gets full of uneaten food and causes pollution problems. Don't get gravel if you are a beginner.

If you like gravel, and you've mastered feeding your fish so there are no uneaten leftovers, then add a thin layer of gravel not more than 1/4-inch thick.

If you have gravel, use your net to stir it gently every day to help the particles in the gravel get into the filter.

You'll need to change the filter pad in your filter when it gets dirty.


3. A Good Place for Your Aquarium.
Sunlight will contribute to green algae growing in your aquarium, so pick a place far away from windows.

Locate your warm water aquarium away from the heater, the heater vent, and anything else that may be too warm and overheat your aquarium.

Put your aquarium on something flat and sturdy such as an aquarium stand. Click here for more information about aquarium stands.


4. How to Feed Warm Water Fish.
Feed your fish at least twice a day with floating food. Feed food such as
floating flake food and freeze dried blood worms, which are actually mosquito larvae.

Start by feeding your fish a very small pinch of the flake food. Carefully watch them eat. If they eat it all quickly, then give them another small pinch.

Keep giving them small pinches, as long as they eat all of it quickly. Feed them as much as they'll eat without leaving any uneaten food.

After feeding the flakes food, feed your fish a few of the freeze dried blood worms.

Food that sinks to the bottom and is not eaten will cause water pollution, so be sure all the food is eaten.

Use your net to remove the food that is not eaten after ten minutes. It's fun to feed your fish a few freeze dried blood worms for dessert.

Click here for more information about feeding fish.

5. Avoid Contaminating your Aquarium.
Always be sure that everything that goes into your aquarium is not contaminated with soap, bleach, pesticides, or other chemicals.

If you add ornaments such as rocks, gravel, or plastic plants to your aquarium, be sure they are safe for use in aquariums.

Some rocks and gravel contain toxic minerals. Some plastic plants are not intended for aquariums and may poison your aquarium.

You'll avoid contaminating your aquarium by always buying items that are specifically labeled for use in aquariums.

Click here to read some Customer Comments and our Replies about Warm Water Aquariums.


Aquarium Decorations and Ornaments. Click on this image for more information.
Koi - Click on this image for more information about Koi.
Pet Fish Talk is an Internet-Radio Talk Show about Keeping Pet Fish in Aquariums, Fish Bowls and Ponds, that is hosted by the Bailey Brothers, DrTom and Nevin, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, PT, each Wednesday. Click on this image for more information about Pet Fish Talk.
BIO-Wheel Aquarium Filters. Click on this image for more information.
Click on this image to see a list of over 100 short videos of Tropical Fish.
Champion Koi Show. Expert information about Koi Fish and Ponds.


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