View Full Version : Part 3 Maintaining a Clean Tank

12-30-2015, 05:01 PM
Part 3 Maintaining a Clean Tank

Defining the Problem-- In order to keep an aquarium clean, it is important to know what makes it dirty. In other words, define the problem. The following link is useful for this purpose:


The filtration system that I will present in this tank journal, controls both bioload and biomass. It accomplishes this so well that the whole concept of how to keep the tank clean changes. My purpose now is to demonstrate the results that I have achieved.

Results-- Viewing the tank floor is the best way to illustrate how clean the tank is because feces, uneaten food, algae, and biomass tends to collect there. When the bottom of the tank is clean, chances are that the rest of the tank is clean as well. The following pictures illustrate how clean the filtration system maintains this area. When looking at the pictures, observe how sharp the reflections are, and the lack of feces, uneaten food and algae. In some instances it is difficult to determine where the decorative item ends and where the reflection begins. This indicates that biomass is not present on the floor and thus not on anything else in the tank. Another good indication that biomass is not present is to remove an item from the tank and give it the "sniff test". This is performed by placing the item close to the nose and giving it a good sniff. A foul odor indicates biomass. The pictures were taken 24 to 26 days after the last cleaning. My cleaning schedule calls for removing the decorative materials (including the backdrop) once a month and cleaning them outside the tank. When the decorative items are removed, they still smell clean after a month. Between monthly cleanings, the only tank maintenance I do is feed the fish. The area remains clean because the filtration system automatically removes feces and uneaten food, eliminates algae, and prohibits the accumulation of biomass. A side benefit is that it maintains crystal clear water, so clear that the fish seem to be floating in air. The filtration system setup, and how it functions to achieve this, will be explained in detail in my tank journal.

The following picture was taken just before the monthly clean out and indicates how clean the tank remains. Note how shinny the lift tubes and glass remain.

3-1 Left Hand Side of the Tank with the Background Removed:

The next picture illustrates the general clean conditions of the tank as a whole. The tank remains in this condition for the entire month between cleanings.

3-2 Clean Tank Condition and Bottom Reflections:

The next series of pictures illustrate how clean the tank bottom remains. Note the lack of feces and uneaten food and the bright reflections. The filtration system keeps it this way all month without any intervention on my part. This is the area of the tank that normally gets the dirtiest because it is immediately below where the fish are fed. The pictures were taken about four weeks after the last tank clean up.

3-3 Clean Tank Bottom with Reflections:




How to Dress Up a Bare Bottom Tank-- I think that the reflections at the bottom are visually pleasing. In fact, I prefer the reflections to a sand substrate, and it is not only cleaner but much easier to maintain. This look is achieved by the LED lighting system, the selection of the imitation rock/plant decorative pieces, the crystal clear water, and the filtration system that keeps everything pristine clean. Part of the LED lighting system consists of a string of LEDs curved around and pressed against the curved glass bow front about an inch above the tank floor. They are hidden by a portion of the lower cabinet. This is the light source that creates the reflections. I really like the affect and the LEDs can be programmed to change the color and intensity of the reflections and this adds variation. Detail information about the custom designed LED lighting system will presented in my tank journal.