Dirty Bowls Kill Fish

Or so I was told by the guy at PETCO when we bought Charlie.

Frankly, I was stunned by the amount of literature we were sent home with after purchasing a single fish and a medium-sized bowl. I can’t imagine the stack of paperwork people receive when the purchase large aquariums and multiple fish. Still, no matter how large the tank or bowl, it’s important to keep your fish’s environment clean in order for him to live a long, healthy life.

For starters, it’s important for you to clean your fish bowl or tank on a regular basis. You don’t have to do a thorough cleaning every day, but at least skim debris from the top of the water or periodically scrub the inside of the tank to reduce algae build-up.

Since Charlie’s bowl is far smaller than a traditional aquarium, I only bought a few cleaning tools, such as an algae scrapper, a net and a sponge. For larger tanks you might consider investing in a plastic blade for scraping, lime remover and a brush.

I always start by cleaning the inside of the bowl first. I simply use the algae scrapper to remove and film that collects on the side of the bowl. If you have a larger tank you might consider using a long-handled scrubber to reach deep into the tank. For stubborn algae stains use the plastic blade to scrape the glass.

Next, I clean Charlie’s rock house and other decorative plants. You should never use traditional soap to clean these items, as residual soap can harm fish. Instead, simply scrub them with the algae scrapper.

Finally, Charlie has a deep bed of cobalt blue gravel at the bottom of his bowl. I clean the rocks by soaking them in a 10 percent bleach solution for roughly 10 minutes. If you use this cleaning method, it is vital that you rinse the gravel thoroughly in clean water before returning it to your fish bowl or tank. It’s also important to dry the rocks completely before you return them to the tank. The air will eliminate the remaining bleach.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.