Owning a home aquarium or fish tank has many advantages. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they offer therapeutic and health benefits. For example, interacting with aquatic animals has proven to be relaxing and reduces anxiety. In addition, taking care of fish in an aquarium had drastic effects on people’s moods, reduced blood pressure, decreased sensitivity to pain, and the overall well-being of humans. These benefits are why you can find fish tanks in many doctors’ offices and places where people have a long wait time.
Benefits of Living Plants in a Fish Tank or Aquarium
An aquarium without plants, whether fake or living, is boring and does not look like the natural habitat of marine life. Choosing the correct type of plants for a fish tank depends on the owner’s discretion and the kind of fish; however, living aquatic plants offer more than decorative properties. Living plants are an additional food source for fish; they provide shelter and produce certain bacteria that help break down fish’s waste. These plants also absorb carbon dioxide and ammonia produced by the fish and turn those gases into oxygen.
Cleaning a Fish Tank with Live Plants
There are many risks involved with cleaning an aquarium that contains living plants. Unlike fake plants, removing live aquatic plants can kill or damage them during the cleaning process. However, cleaning is not impossible and is slightly similar to cleaning an aquarium with fake plants.
Over time, the leaves will accumulate dirt and algae, and other debris from fish food and outside elements. A dirty tank can contain harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses that can have adverse effects on the lifespan of your fish. It would be best to clean aquariums at least once biweekly, depending on the size of the tank and the amount of fish.
Steps to Clean a Fish Tank with Living Plants
Here are the steps to clean your fish tank with live plants. You do not have to remove fish to clean a tank as this can cause additional stress to the fish or hurt them. Fifty percent (50%) of the water should remain in the tank to ensure that essential bacteria are left behind.
1. Use an algae scraper to remove algae and debris from the sides of the tank. Use metallic scrapers on glass tanks and plastic scrapers on acrylic tanks.
2. The next step is to remove all decorations and props. Use fingers to shake or scrape off algae and debris gently from leaves. Remove plants with
excessive algae and debris and gently scrubbed under running water or soaked in a bleach solution for less than five minutes. Ensure that no aquatic animal is hiding in leaves. After soaking, plants should be submerged in clean water to remove bleach solution, rinse carefully before placing back into the tank.
3. Vacuum gravel at the bottom of the tank with a siphon. Replace all the water removed by the siphon.
4. Clean decorations and return them to the tank. Do not use soap as it can leave a residue that will harm fish and living plants.
5. Clean the outside of the tank and other accessories with vinegar or cleaner recommended by the pet store. Clean the filter only when necessary.
Gently scraping leaves or partially changing the water in the tank can cut down cleaning time and prevent the buildup of algae on living plants. Constantly check on the fish’s behavior to identify if the tank needs cleaning or water is to be changed. Fish, just like humans, need a clean environment to live and thrive.