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Old 11-19-2012, 03:55 PM   #1
Angelclown
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Default Deep clean of 55 gallon tank.......

Going to do a deep clean of my 55 gallon tank today. I have bought two 5 gallon buckets so I can do a deep clean with the tank. I can put the fish in one and the other I can use to change the water. I also have one that I have had for years, I may also use it, but not sure. I will let you all know how it goes. I have to get the nitrates down plus the tank needs a deep clean anyways.

When you deep clean any tank, make sure you have at least two buckets: one for the fish and one to change the water. More buckets are better, in case you have fish that will fight with each other in small spaces. Another tank would be ideal because you want to keep your fish warm during the water change, but they can last at least 2 hours without heat once you transfer them to the heated tank to the bucket, before they start to stress out from lack of heat.

Step one: fill 5 gallon bucket with tank water

Step two: catch your fish and put them in the 5 gallon bucket. Take out all the decorations and plants

Step three: fill 2nd 5 gallon bucket with tank water to be dumped, dump the water into the drain in sink or bathtub (I prefer bathtub, because it is lower than the sink), make sure you vacuum the gravel as well, do this repeatedly until all the water is out of the tank.

Step four: set tap water to right temp for tank and fish.

Step five: fill 5 gallon bucket that you used to get all the tank water out of the tank, with the tap water, then fill up the tank. Do this repeatedly until tank is filled.

Step six: put decorations and plants back in tank, add dechlor to get rid of bad chemicals in the tap water.

Step seven: put fish back in tank

Step eight: put lights/hood back on the tank.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:12 PM   #2
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Some fish can stay in the tank during a deep clean, some will freak. Some will freak in a bucket, so watch them. Covering the bucket can keep them calm (dark) and from jumping out.

Put the dechlor in before the water, it will work faster that way. Or dechlor each bucket as you fill them.

Put the decor back before the last bucket, so you have room for your arm

Its a good plan. When disturbing the gravel makes a cloud of debris, it may be time for a "big clean".
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:39 PM   #3
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Yeah I have cleaned my tank in a long time. It is time to deep clean the tank, plus I have to get my nitrates down and keep them down. I don't want my fish getting sick. I always watch the bucket with the fish. I have two cats that get curious and will check out what is in the bucket and I don't want them getting my fish.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:57 PM   #4
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Step five: fill 5 gallon bucket that you used to get all the tank water out of the tank, with the tap water, then fill up the tank. Do this repeatedly until tank is filled.

Step six: put decorations and plants back in tank, add dechlor to get rid of bad chemicals in the tap water.



a nice person once explained to me that if you put tap water straight into your tank the chloride and other wonderful chemicals in our drinking water will kill and helpful and harmful bacteria in your tank causing your tank to cycle again to avoid this the water must be treated before it goes in the tank. Just thought I would pass on these words of wisdom.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:25 PM   #5
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If you are filling with a bucket, I would dechlor each bucket. If you are using a hose, you put the dechlor in the tank and you dose for the whole tank, then fill it up. The water should be dechlored fast enough to keep from killing the filter bacteria (the filter is likely off anyway). On the other hand, if you have the fish out anyway. A chlorine bath might help with a algae issue.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:23 PM   #6
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Yeah I put in dechlor while I was filling up the tank. I had to put the fish back in the tank as I was filling it up. Flash, my medium clown loach, was laying on his side and breathing kinda fast, so I had to quickly get him in the tank and heat him up and I put in an air stone to help with air in the tank as I am filling it up. Would it be a good idea to just keep the air stone in the tank while the filters run? What else can I do for Flash to make him feel better? He is still on his side and breathing kinda fast.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:43 PM   #7
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Yes, leave the air-stone in for now.

If you think the new water has fewer ions in it than the old water, you can try adding a little salt. If you've ever added salt and not taken it out with water changes, putting fish in clean water can be dangerous. But if he was on his side in the tank water in the bucket, that isn't likely to be the issue. Hopefully its just stress that he will soon get over. Tank cleaning is stressful for you and the fish, but it can also be bad if you don't ever do it. All things in moderation.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:58 PM   #8
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I am hoping that it was just stress from the declining heat from the bucket with the tank water. I used my new buckets but I rinsed them pretty well before using them. The other two clown loaches are jsut fine, so that is what makes me think that it is just stress and not something else. Is there anything else I can do for him?

Loaches are sensitive fish to salt and plus I haven't used any salt with them, so I won't try it at all. I have two bristlenose plecos in with them. The bristlenose plecos are also doing just fine.

Flash is near the heater now, still on his side. I have my heater on 86 degrees, so I am hoping that he doesn't come down with anything. I have meds if he does though.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:44 AM   #9
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An update: I know this is a bit early, but Flash, my medium clown loach, has passed away. I still have Baby Girl and Junior. Something was wrong with Flash but I didn't know what, because he was in the 5 gallon bucket, which I did rinse pretty well before using, and he laid on his side. I didn't think anything of it at first until I saw him do it again. Then I put him back in the 55 gallon tank and filled it. He didn't get better. He passed away. I am heartbroken over this because he is one of my big ones out of the three. Now I have two clown loaches, which I will be keeping an eye on to make sure that they don't come down with anything.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:52 AM   #10
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I am so sorry. I know there is a risk whenever a fish is in a container, but it varies with the fish. Bigger fish are worse. I didn't even ask you what you had. We do what we think is best, but stuff still goes wrong. I don't know if my bad advice killed the fish, but I am so sorry. You are right not to add salt if the tank wasn't salted before and you have salt-sensitive fish. Loha will say you "messed" with the tank.

Last edited by emc7; 11-20-2012 at 01:02 AM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:13 AM   #11
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I have now two clown loaches and two bristlenose plecos in a 55 gallon tank. I am thinking about giving up with clown loaches for a while and go with smaller fish that can fit the tank.

I noticed that Flash had yellow/gold dust behind his eye. Could've he had velvet, or the beginning of it.

No your advice didn't kill my fish, emc7.

I put in some extra dechlor to be on the safe side, not too much just an extra 10mL.

I changed the filter cartridges, because when I rinsed one in the bucket with the tank water, it split open and that to me would indicate they were really bad. I will now be very diligent in water changes and testing my water levels to make sure they are good.

Last edited by Angelclown; 11-20-2012 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:39 AM   #12
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check the nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia it you do not dechlor in your 5 gallon buckets before the water hits the tank you will kill all your biological filtration my best guess you put your fish back into a tank that is now in the process of recycling. I did this same mistake when I got my first python I would put the dechlor in the tank and fill it. then when I put my fish back they would get all stressed and eventually the weaker fish in my system would start dying off and the more hardy fish would start being really stressed and get visibly sick. If what is going on in your tank is what I suspect you need not give up on the loaches only refine some of your habits when it comes to care.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:43 AM   #13
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I put in some extra dechlor to be on the safe side, not too much just an extra 10mL.


also sorry to say (if sadly I am right) the extra dechlor was a wast if you added enough for the water when it changed then it will do it's job. the damage would be done when the water hit your tanks before dechlor not after. hope I have been helpful and good luck
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55g#1-female flowerhorn
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30g- Black ghost knife
20g long-electric blue crayfish
10g-mystery dwarf cichlid
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:55 AM   #14
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The fish was acting bad in the bucket. I'm guessing some sort of stress reaction, but it could be physical damage (hit its head, poked by other loach) or water quality in the bucket. Best to fast fish for 24 hours before putting in a small container.

Clown loaches will eventually outgrow a 55, but it takes a while.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:49 AM   #15
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I am thinking the same thing emc7. I should have tested the water after I put it in the 5 gallon bucket, but I didn't think about it.

wooferkitty: I am checking the levels in a day or so. The water in the tank is all new and needs a chance to get established. I took Flash out right away after he passed, so I doubt that I would have any spikes in my levels.

I changed the filter cartridges as they were nasty and they split open when I rinsed them in the bucket with the tank water. This is after I put the fish back in the tank with new water.

Right now Baby Girl and Junior are both doing pretty good so far today.
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