Do I Remove the Fish When Siphoning Tank?

Category Fish

I need help, I just brought a fish tank and now it is time to clean the tank. I have read everything but I can't find where it says to take out the fish before siphon. Do I take them out and put them in a bowl then when I am finish put them back?


Please help

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September 2, 20050 found this helpful

When you say "siphon" I am assuming that you are planning on cleaning your tank. If so then..

Place some of the aquarium water into an empty washed out and rinsed very well ice cream pail. Be sure that there is NO residue from any soap in the pail. Then catch and release your fish into the pail. Then happily go ahead and clean out your aquarium. Then, dump only the fish back into the aquarium and pour the water in the ice cream pail down the drain afterwards.

On the 'net the other day I came across someone who uses an empty ketchup container (rinsed very well and totally clean) to help him clean out his aquarium. He would squeeze the container to let a lot of air out, then place the container in the tank while the fish were still in there and basically suck out the "garbage" (fish crap) off the bottom of the tank and also the algae off the sides of the tank.


I'd like to try his idea this winter when I bring my fish in from the mini pond that they have been in for this summer. Every day or so the guy also took out some of the water in the tank and poured some fresh water into it. Using the container to suck out stuff and also adding new water each day or so meant that he never had a big job to do every few months in cleaning out his aquarium.

Do you have any plants in the house? They will love the aquarium water. Actually, my cat does too! She drank from the fish tank for 4 years. She never bothered the fish, just liked the taste of the water. Plus it gave me the ability to constantly be adding fresh water thereby not having to clean the tank as often as I would have otherwise have had to. Also there was always water there... the cat didn't have to ever have her "water bowl" empty and have to wait for it to be refilled.

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September 2, 20050 found this helpful

Are you doing a regular cleaning or are you sterilizing the tank?

For a regular cleaning and removing say 50% of the water, leave the fish in the tank. When you're done, add dechlorinated water back to the tank. The fish will be happy and it will be MUCH LESS stressful for them.


If you intend to sterizlize the tank, the short answer is don't. :-) Good bacteria develops in the gravel and ornaments which you don't want to lose.

Here is a fish site I've found VERY useful:

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September 2, 20050 found this helpful

Just be sure to replace the water with pre-conditioned water!

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By kay neugebauer (Guest Post)
September 5, 20050 found this helpful

Hi, the person who told you to only do 50% water change is right,,,,,you can do as little as 25%. What I wanted to tell you is this, two days before you do this fill up very clean empty plastic milk jugs with the same amount you think you will be removing and put the lid on and sit in the shade for at least 24 hours, the chlorine will be removed from the water and use that water to fill the tank back up and always remember to put a few drops of destresser in the water before adding the jugs of water.


Good luck, a clean healthy tank is beautiful!!

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July 29, 20090 found this helpful

Everyone here has some good advice but here's one very important thing to add.

When you are getting ready to siphon your tank, take an unused piece of a nylon (you can get those little "cheapies" at the Dollar store and they'd be perfect) and use a rubber band to secure it to the end of the hose that goes into the tank. That way you don't suck up something or somebody you don't want to! This is especially important if you have very small fish, like neon tetras or something.

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