August 1, 2022
When to Clean a Fish Tank Filter | 2022 Guide

When to Clean a Fish Tank Filter | 2022 Guide

Fish tank filters are essential for ensuring the water in your aquarium remains as clean as possible. However, even the most effective filter will itself need to undergo maintenance and cleaning from time to time to ensure it performs optimally. Over time, mechanical filtration will lead to filter devices becoming clogged with debris particles. If this debris isn’t removed, the performance of a filter will begin to become impaired. Thankfully, it’s fairly simple to clean a filter.

Common Cleaning Mistakes

Although cleaning fish tank filters is fairly straightforward, many novice aquarists make some common mistakes when it comes to carrying out maintenance. It’s worth remembering that filters aren’t just designed to clean water, they are also essential for ensuring that good bacteria is preserved to ensure a healthy underwater environment for your aquatic animals. If you clean a filter incorrectly, this bacteria can be removed entirely, leading to potentially lethal conditions for your fish.

One thing you should never do is run filtration media under a warm tap. While hot water may be effective at getting rid of stubborn grime, it’s particularly dangerous when it comes to aquarium filters. Tap water contains several chemicals that are harmful to fish. Chlorine is the main danger here, which is why water needs to be conditioned before it is introduced to tanks. Placing your filtration media under a hot tap will also quickly kill off established bacterial colonies.

Filter Cleaning Best Practice

If you want to clean your fish tank filter the right way, make sure you follow a few key steps. Firstly, you’ll need to disconnect your filter from its power supply, before removing it from the aquarium itself. You should also prepare a bucket or large bowl of conditioned water that will be used to clean the filter and its individual parts.

Depending on the design of your filter, it should be easy enough to disassemble it whilst submerged in this cleaning bucket. Simply moving the filtration elements around in this water should get rid of a significant amount of dirt and debris. If you need to use more force, make sure you’re using brushes with soft bristles and nothing firm enough that it might damage your filter and media inserts.

When Does a Fish Tank Filter Require Cleaning?

Frequency of filter cleaning all depends on the size of your fish tank. However, other factors may also play a role in how frequently you need to think about cleaning your filter. A larger tank with a bigger population will generally require more regular cleaning, as any filter you are using will be having to deal with excessive waste and pollutants. If you’re only dealing with a small tank that houses a handful of fish, filter maintenance is not something you will have to worry about too often.

However, as a general rule, you should think about cleaning your fish tank filter at least once a month. If you own a large tank with a considerable fish population, you may want to tackle filter cleaning as regularly as once every few weeks.

Cleaning frequency will also depend on the kind of filter you are using. Conventional filters, regardless of whether they are external or internal devices, will usually need to be cleaned once a month. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance alternative, you may want to consider an under-gravel filter. However, while these filters won’t need to be cleaned as frequently, they aren’t particularly effective when used independently of other systems. They are almost used in tandem with a main filter device and aren’t really recommended for use in tanks where the substrate layer has been used to bed in aquatic plants.

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