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Page 2 about
Cool Water Fish and Aquariums

This page continues the discussion of cool water aquariums with information and advice about what kinds of fish can live in an aquarium without an aquarium heater. Click here to go back to the first page of this discussion.

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1. Safe Water for Aquariums
Most tap water is safe for fish provided a maximum of 20% of the water is changed in a day. In a few areas you can't use the tap water in your aquarium. For example, some well water has chemicals or minerals that are toxic to fish. So you must be cautious; if you have doubts talk with someone at the local water district or talk with someone else who keeps fish in your area.

Many Water Conditioners will neutralize many toxic chemicals. Usually you can change up to 20% of the water in your aquarium without adding Water Conditioner. But changing more than 20% of the water in one day is risky, even if you add conditioner. Click here for more information about Water Conditioners.

Click here to read more about changing water in your aquarium.

2. How to Clean your Cool Water Aquarium.
Once each week clean the inside of your aquarium with a Scrubbing Pad.
Tropical Fish tank scrubber   Use a Scrubbing Pad that is labeled for use in aquariums like the Jungle Algae Remover shown in the illustration to the right. Use your Scrubbing Pad to scrub the inside of your aquarium once a week. Use your scrubbing pad only to scrub your aquarium, do not use the pad for anything else.
Here are the directions from the package of the Scrubbing Pad.

"Jungle Algae Remover Aquarium Cleaning Pad. Environmentally friendly. Made from non-toxic materials. Safely Removes Algae and hard Water Deposits. For use on all aquariums. Glass - Acrylic - Plexiglas - Plastic."
"Directions for Use: the algae remover features a non-abrasive cleaning pad that safely removes algae, water lines, salt residue and hard water deposits from glass, acrylic, plexi-glas, and plastic aquariums. Can also be used to clean plastic plants, ornaments, filters, hoods, frames, stands, and other aquarium accessories. Before each use, wet the pad, then gently rub surfaces to be cleaned. Rinse pad with tap water after each use."
"Caution: Avoid getting sand or gavel on the pad, as these will cause scratches. Avoid using extreme pressure as this may cause surface scratches or glass breakage. Do not use on dry surfaces."
"If using a cleaning product with the Algae Remover, avoid using household liquid detergents as these may contain ingredients which are harmful to fish."
Incidentally, we do not recommend using sand in aquariums or fish bowls, because the water does not circulate well through the sand, and it soon becomes polluted. You can substitute a thin layer of aquarium gravel that is at most 1/4" thick. Click here for more about aquarium gravel.


Use the pad to scrub the inside surface of the glass in your aquarium. Scrub all four sides: front, back and two ends. Scrub the glass gently back and forth several times until it's squeaky clean. If you get sand or gravel on your scrubbing pad, it will permanently scratch the inside of your aquarium.

Incidentally, we do not recommend using sand in aquariums or fish bowls, because the water does not circulate well through the sand, and it soon becomes polluted. You can substitute a thin layer of aquarium gravel that is at most 1/4" thick. Click here for more about aquarium gravel.

Also scrub everything else in your aquarium such as the ornaments and the outside of the siphon tube going to the filter on the back of your aquarium. Usually you won't need to remove any of these items from your aquarium, unless they are very scummy, just scrub them in the water in your aquarium.

Remove the siphon tube that takes water to your filter. Put the siphon tube in the bucket with the old water that you removed from your aquarium. Use a test tube brush to scrub the inside the siphon tube, rinse it well, and reconnect it to your filter.

Don't use soap, or bleach, or other chemicals to clean anything that goes in your aquarium. After you have scrubbed your aquarium, take a rest break for a few minutes then clean the gravel using a Gravel Washer as described below.


Previously I had recommended just buying a kitchen sponge and using it to scrub your aquarium and the accessories in your aquarium. But it was pointed out to me that this advice is contrary to my advice, given elsewhere, that everything going into your aquarium should be made for aquariums and labeled for use in aquariums. I was surprised to realize that I had violated by own advice. Furthermore, I was told that some aquarists had suffered "wipeouts" in their aquariums due to chemicals on new sponges. So I bought several new sponges. Rinsed them out four or five times in warm tap water and put them in aquariums and fish bowls with fish. There were no "wipeouts" and no problems.
I also called the manufacturers of the sponges, when I could find their phone numbers. The responses were pretty much the same. They did not want to make any guarantees, and they did not want to be quoted by name or by company. Those sorts of comments would have to come from their lawyers! But each one said, off the record, that their company was very aware that their sponges might be used around food or by people for personal hygiene. For that reason their sponges would not contain any toxins and should be OK to use in aquariums too.
Taking my tests and their comments into consideration, I would surmise that the wipeouts, mentioned above, were due to some other coincidental factor. Perhaps the sponges had been used with some strong scrubbing chemical and were not new and clean.
Now we recommend the Jungle brand Algae Remover Pad that is specifically labeled for use on aquariums and aquarium accessories.

Click here to continue on to another page in this web site that contains more information about Cool Water Aquariums.
Click here to go to another page in this web site that contains Customer Comments and our Replies about Cool Water Aquariums.
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This page was updated on November 13, 2015.


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