A dirty fish tank will usually house floating fish, smell bad and be a disgusting addition to your home. I really hope those are not the reasons you decided fish were the right pet for you. A clean fish tank, what all proud fish moms and dads hope for, is a beautiful, calming addition to the home. Clean aquariums are right for any room. So, to keep the fish swimming happily, keep your fish tank clean. In order to have a clean aquarium, you have to do the work because fish don't take direction very well. They do what they are best at -- swimming and looking good for you -- we do what is responsible to keep them healthy.

Changing the Aquarium Water

24 hours before changing the water in your aquarium, fill clean buckets or basins with tap water and place it in the room where the fish tank is. 24 hours allows the chlorine to leave the water and it also gives the water time to heat up or cool down to a temperature that is close to what your fish are used to.

Gather some buckets, pails or a garbage can.

Place a siphon hose in the aquarium. It is best to siphon from the bottom at the same time vacuum the gravel.

Drain anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of the water out of the fish tank into the bucket.

Slowly add the new water after you have drained a portion of the old water.

Plan to siphon and change water twice per month.

Removing Algae

Algae is the green stuff that builds up on the sides of the aquarium.

Buy an algae sponge from your local pet store. Some algae sponges have a long handle or are a two piece magnetic type. You can also buy a handheld algae sponge and stick your hand into the water.

Scrub the algae off the walls. If you have a lot of algae on the aquarium walls, place the algae sponge near the bottom of the tank and pull it up to the top of the tank. Rinse the sponge and place it back at the bottom of the tank wall, pull it up to the top and rinse. Continue doing this until the algae is gone from the glass.

Scrubbing and removing algae from the aquarium walls is best done before draining water from the fish or before vacuuming the gravel.

Clean the Filter

At least once or twice per week depending n the size of your aquarium and number of fish you have. The more fish you have, the more often you will have to clean or replace the filtering material.

Follow the filter manufacturer's cleaning directions. Each model differs.

Remove the carbon (the black rocks) and rinse them weekly to remove the build up. Throw away carbon at least every month and replace it with carbon. Make sure to rinse the new carbon to remove the black dust before putting it in the filter.

 Have your water tested at your local pet shop weekly or buy an at-home test kit.Make sure all your levels are where they should be based on the type of fish you have.

When you buy your fish, make sure you get information on the temperature your fish prefer along with preferred ph levels, ammonia and nitrite levels.