10 Best Water Polishing Aquarium Filter

Updated on: June 2021

Best Water Polishing Aquarium Filter in 2021


Polishing Filter Pad 100 Micron - 1 Pack -Superior Aquarium Prefilter Media - Cut to Fit 24" by 36" for Fresh Water & Saltwater Fish Tanks, Aquaculture, Hydroponics - Made in USA

Polishing Filter Pad 100 Micron - 1 Pack -Superior Aquarium Prefilter Media - Cut to Fit 24
BESTSELLER NO. 1 in 2021

Polishing Filter Pad 50 Micron - 1 Pack -Superior Aquarium Prefilter Media - Cut to Fit 24" by 36" for Fresh Water & Saltwater Fish Tanks, Aquaculture, Hydroponics - Made in USA …

Polishing Filter Pad 50 Micron - 1 Pack -Superior Aquarium Prefilter Media - Cut to Fit 24
BESTSELLER NO. 2 in 2021
  • TRAPS FINE PARTICLES - Our 50 Micron Polishing Filter Pads’ dense fiber network traps large to very fine particles floating in your freshwater or saltwater aquarium to produce sparkling clear water. Its durable design allows THIS PAD TO BE CLEANED AND REUSED MANY TIMES. Our 50 micron polishing pad removes much smaller particles from water than our 100 micron polishing pad.
  • CUT TO FIT - This 24 inch by 36 inch by 1/8 inch thick filter pad can EASILY BE CUT TO SIZE and will save you even more money over purchasing ready-made pre-cut filter media. Our polishing pad can be used in wet/dry filters, sumps, aquaponics system, and much more.
  • WATER QUALITY - Place our polishing pad in the path of flowing water TO TRAP LARGE AND FINE FLOATING PARTICULATES. This filter pad is very efficient at trapping very fine particles so regular cleaning of the pad is necessary. It may BE USED ALONE OR LAYERED WITH OTHER FILTER PADS such as our Classic or Premium filter pads to extend cleaning time.
  • HIGH QUALITY AND DURABLE - Our polishing pad is constructed with interwoven polyester fibers making it STRONG AND DURABLE ENOUGH TO EVEN BE CLEANED IN A WASHING MACHINE. This pad’s consistent, reliable design gives superior filtration.
  • TIPS – To increase efficiency and extend use of our polishing pad, have water flow through a pre-filter pad such as our FIlterFirst or CalssicBlue then through the polishing pad.

Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter, For aquariums Up To 97 Gallons

Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter, For aquariums Up To 97 Gallons
BESTSELLER NO. 3 in 2021
  • INTERNAL CANISTER FILTER: Submerged motor for quick and easy startup.
  • VERSATILE FILTRATION: Two refillable chambers house carbon or customizable filter media.
  • MICRON WATER POLISHING: High-efficiency polishing with the micron cartridge (included).
  • FOR aquariumS UP TO 97 GALLONS: Capable of filtering 290 gallons of water per hour.

Encompass All Premium 100 Micron Polishing Filter Pad - Cut To Fit 36x30

Encompass All Premium 100 Micron Polishing Filter Pad - Cut To Fit 36x30
BESTSELLER NO. 4 in 2021
  • Our premium 100 micron polishing filter pad provides excellent mechanical filtration. The dense fiber network traps fine to large particles and debris which helps significantly reduce harmful ammonia-producing organic matter in your aquarium while protect your aquarium equipment from debris such as sand and small rocks.
  • Our premium solid construction 100 micron polishing filter pad allows you to cut to fit any size filtration compartment with its industry leading 36x30x0.125" size. Our premium filter pad is perfect for wet/dry, sumps, aquaponic systems and so much more! The premium pad can be combine with other carbon, nitrate reducer, and ammonia reducing pads.
  • Bring clarity to your aquarium with our professional grade premium 100 micron polishing filter pad. Simply place the premium pad in the path of flowing water to trap large and very fine debris and particulates. Our premium polishing 100 micron filter pad is very efficient at trapping fine particulates, so regular cleaning is necessary to maintain the optimal performance.
  • Filter pads are an essential part to keeping aquarium water clear and clean.

Aquarium Filter Pad - Premium True Dual Density 12" by 72" by 3/4 to 1" Aquarium Filter Media Roll for Crystal Clear Water

Aquarium Filter Pad - Premium True Dual Density 12
BESTSELLER NO. 5 in 2021
  • CUSTOMER AND PROFESSIONALS CHOICE - Our true DUAL DENSITY FILTER ROLL is the TOP CHOICE for cut to size aquarium filter material. Our NEW 3rd generation dual layer aquarium filter pads are even thicker than before. The top layer's open fiber construction traps LARGER PARTICLES while the bottom layer's dense fiber network TRAPS FINE PARTICLES - working together to produce crystal clear water in your aquarium.
  • CUT TO FIT - Made in the USA! Our FilterFirst PREMIUM BONDED FILTER ROLL can easily be cut to any size needed and WILL SAVE YOU EVEN MORE MONEY over purchasing ready-made, pre-cut filter material. Our poly filter pad is PERFECT FOR FRESHWATER OR SALTWATER aquariums as a prefilter for wet/dry filters, sumps, canister filters, aquaponics system, and much more. You will receive one 12 inch by 72 inch by 3/4 inch thick filter pad.
  • HIGH QUALITY AND DURABLE - Our filter floss aquarium pad is CONSTRUCTED OF DURABLE POLYESTER FIBERS bonded by our special resin to give it EXCEPTIONAL STRENGTH. The lower section of our pad is made by taking layers of resilient fibers through a process to tighten and entangle the fibers into a dense network producing a thin firm layer, perfect for removing fine debris. Our premium pads' consistent, reliable design gives SUPERIOR FILTRATION.
  • IMPROVE WATER QUALITY- Place our FilterFirst DUAL ACTION POLYFILTER PAD in flowing water with the open weave side up to trap uneaten food, waste, decaying plants, detritus, and other large and fine floating particulates from the water. Changing filter media pads regularly will INCREASE WATER QUALITY by removing solid organic compounds before they continue to break down and add additional nutrients (which can increase algae growth) to the water in your fish tank.
  • ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY - Our aquarium filter media roll is completely safe for all fish and other aquatic life. FilterFirst is made without dyes.

Marineland PA0140 Micron Cartridge, Fits Magnum Canister Filters , 1-Pack

Marineland PA0140 Micron Cartridge, Fits Magnum Canister Filters , 1-Pack
BESTSELLER NO. 6 in 2021
  • For the Magnum and HOT Magnum canisters
  • Unique filtration
  • 1-Pack
  • For the Magnum and HOT Magnum canisters
  • Unique filtration
  • Foam sleeves and other parts

Encompass All Premium 50 Micron Polishing Filter Pad - Cut to Fit 36x24

Encompass All Premium 50 Micron Polishing Filter Pad - Cut to Fit 36x24
BESTSELLER NO. 7 in 2021
  • Our premium 50 micron polishing filter pad provides excellent mechanical filtration. The extremely dense fiber network traps fine to large particles and debris which helps significantly reduce harmful ammonia-producing organic matter in your aquarium while protecting your aquarium equipment from debris such as sand and small rocks.
  • Our premium solid construction 50 micron polishing filter pad allows you to cut to fit any size filtration compartment with its industry leading 36x24x0.125" size. Our premium filter pad is perfect for wet/dry, sumps, aquaponic systems and so much more! The premium pad can be combine with other carbon, nitrate reducer, and ammonia reducing pads.
  • Bring clarity to your aquarium with our professional grade premium 50 micron polishing filter pad. Simply place the premium pad in the path of flowing water to trap large and very fine debris and particulates. Our premium polishing 50 micron filter pad is very efficient at trapping fine particulates, so regular cleaning is necessary to maintain the optimal performance.
  • Filter pads are an essential part to keeping aquarium water clear and clean.

Zanyzap 36 Water Filter Polishing Pads for Fluval 304 305 306 404 405 406

Zanyzap 36 Water Filter Polishing Pads for Fluval 304 305 306 404 405 406
BESTSELLER NO. 8 in 2021
  • Effectively traps micro particles and debris
  • Helps to make your aquarium water crystal clear
  • For freshwater and saltwater environments
  • Bulk packaged to save the environment
  • SATISFACTION GUARANTEED!

Zanyzap 12 Water Filter Polishing Pads for Fluval 104 105 106 204 205 206

Zanyzap 12 Water Filter Polishing Pads for Fluval 104 105 106 204 205 206
BESTSELLER NO. 9 in 2021
  • Effectively traps micro particles and debris
  • Helps to make your aquarium water crystal clear
  • For freshwater and saltwater environments
  • For use with Fluval 104, 105, 106, 204, 205, 206 Filters

amzdeal Water Pump Aquarium 400GPH (1500L/H,15W) Submersible Water Pump with Two Filters Ultra Quiet Water Pump for Aquarium, Fish Tank(200L,>55gallon, Pond, Fountain,Hydroponics

amzdeal Water Pump Aquarium 400GPH (1500L/H,15W) Submersible Water Pump with Two Filters Ultra Quiet Water Pump for Aquarium, Fish Tank(200L,>55gallon, Pond, Fountain,Hydroponics
BESTSELLER NO. 10 in 2021
  • ★High Efficiency and High Quality Materials★: Compared with other submersible pumps, Amzdeal submersible water pump fountain has higher quality and performance. The fountain pump casing is made of high quality ABS plastic and resin, which is anti-corrosion, acid and alkali resistant and waterproof and the protection function of water-proof is IP68. The water pump also has a higher discharge height, the maximum height is 1.6 meters.
  • ★ Water Flow Control and Multiple Water Outlets ★: The submersible pump has a flow size adjustment valve, you can adjust to get the required water flow and control the water flow.The Amzdeal water pump for aquarium is equipped with two water nozzles (13mm/16mm) and one aeration nozzle and one air tube (1.5m). After connecting the water pipe to the nozzle, which can achieve a high angle jets to get the maximum height is 1.6 meters.It is suitable for the garden fountain and large aquarium.
  • ★ Ultra-Quiet Design ★: The water pump aquarium is designed with high quality motor to provide a quiet working environment, also with the function of energy saving and low power consumption, even in the bedroom or at night (power: 15 W). The threaded fittings of the pump make it work more stable. The impeller shaft is made of ceramic shaft which can be used for fresh water or sea water. It is resistant to abrasion, rust and has a long service life.
  • ★Filter Net and Suction Cup ★:Amzdeal fountain pump has two filters, which can effectively filter large blocks during pumping to prevent water pump blockage, effectively improve the circulation system to maintain a clean water environment.And there are four powerful suction cup at the bottom of the small pump that fits well on a horizontal or vertical glass surface to keep the pump running smoothly. Note: Do not use the pump without water. Otherwise, the pump shaft may be damasged.
  • ★Removable and Cleanable ★: The water pump for aquarium can be disassembled and assembled easily without any tools. The removable pump head with filter is easy to clean that prevents impurities from entering the pump, and the pump is small in size, making the pump easy to hide or camouflage and easy to carry. Also the water pump for fountain has a wide range of applications that it can be used in aquariums, ecological tanks, breeding ponds, landscape tubes, gardens, rockery fountains, etc.

Successful Goldfish Aquarium

There are a few things to know to keep goldfish healthy. The first is that if they are healthy, they WILL grow! Boy, will they grow! The second thing is to know that they can foul a tank very quickly. If you are ready for them, they make a tank beautiful!

Placement of the tank is really important! A beautiful aquarium can turn into a terrible chore if it is placed in a difficult-to-service location.

We "acquired" fish (or they more properly acquired us!) when the Asian family who operate our local nail shop (as in fingernails, not hammering nails) informed us that "fish make a home!" They felt that having a water element in the home was very beneficial. Looking back on it, we could have achieved something far less labor-intensive and much cheaper with a desk top fountain!

Believe me folks, there is no such thing as a "free fish!" As the parents of many children who have won a "free goldfish" have found out, there is no such thing as a "free goldfish!" They arrive home in a plastic bag (the fish, not the kids), gulping and looking at you in a helpless way. Those two "free" comet goldfish come with a price: food, housing, water de-chlorinator, etc.Healthy goldfish grow..boy, do they grow! It is an old wives tale that a goldfish will not outgrow its environment. The fish will not grow well, it is true, but only because it is not healthy in a too-small container. Sooner or later the poor fish will die through failure to thrive. A small environment seems easier to keep clean, but the truth is that a large aquarium with a few fish and a filtering system is the easiest. The water in a fish bowl or small tank will need changing far more often than a larger set-up will.

If you are determined to have a fish tank, and this goes double for a goldfish tank, you might want to give consideration to placing your set-up near a tap water/drain source, such as a kitchen or bathroom sink. Even if you end up piping the tank's waste water directly outside into your garden via plastic tubing, you'll still need to add replacement water back into the tank. That's where it gets messy!

Most city water is treated with chlorine, which is quite deadly to fish. As a matter of fact, our pet store used to advise people who needed to euthanize a sick fish to just put the poor thing in tap water. They die within a few minutes.

So each bucket, pitcher or container of water has to be treated with "de-chlor" first. The instructions which came with my big fancy aquarium water tubing kit (for removing or replacing aquarium water) said I could just add the de-chlor (all of it at once), then turn the valve and run tap water into the tank. That runs the risk of the chlorine getting to the fish before the de-chlor does! If it didn't kill the fish outright, over time it could get to them. This kit has proved to be a life saver (and aching back saver). The hose is hooked up, via plastic connectors, to the kitchen sink faucet. When the connector is turned one way and the faucet is turned on, water from the faucet causes suction which brings water out of the tank, through the tubing, and out at the bottom of the connector which is attached to the faucet. The dirty water doesn't ever go to the faucet itself. When the connector is turned the other way, water from the faucet Will flow through the tubing and into the tank. I only use this device to fill a tank which has no fish in it. That way, the de-chlor can be added, so many drops per gallon, and no fish are exposed to the chlorination before it is removed.

By the way, goldfish do best if they have a bit of sea salt added to their water. This is best obtained at a pet store or fish store. However, if you are keeping goldfish AND a snail, back off on the salt (remember what salt does to slugs?!).

Back to putting water in the aquarium. That leaves the bucket-brigade. In our household, one plastic pitcher is designated the "Fish Pitcher" and it is only used to replace water in the tank. Back and forth it goes, from sink to tank and tank to sink, always accompanied by a dish towel to catch the drips and a clean mug to pour the water in so the stream of water doesn't displace the tank's gravel and stir up the bacteria that live under the gravel.

Our family adopted two tiny fancy goldfish babies. They had loads of room in the small 10 gallon bow -front tank. Well, they had room for the first two years or so. We tried the tank in the living room, but it was just too far away from the sink. When the fish were smaller it was okay, however as they grew and needed more cleaning, the tank became a lot easier to manage right on the kitchen counter. The goldfish babies grew up watching me cook. They were interested in everything their humans did! When I'd do a deep cleaning of their tank, they'd frisk and play around my fingers like puppies. But they grew, and grew, and GREW! Not only did it become difficult to keep their water as clean as they needed, but they were running out of room. The bigger of the fish would flap her tail and smack the smaller goldfish in the face, knocking him end over tea kettle. The day came when we had to purchase a 42 gallon tank, with stand, filters, etc., for our growing goldfish.

No matter how tidy and careful one is, water drips happen. That's why aquarium stands are heavily sealed to avoid water stains. Just to show you how goofy I can be, I once kept an aquarium of goldfish on a wood dresser! The dresser was in the dining room and held table cloths, place mats, etc. I was so careful about water drips, and the dresser survived, but honestly, I wouldn't go through THAT again. Every tank cleaning was an ordeal!

So there's feng shui, and there's ease in maintaining your goldfish tank. Go for the easy solution, you'll thank yourself later on. All that being said, one last comment should probably be inserted here: that fish need to be kept away from areas with very hot or very cold air which would radically affecting the temperature of their tank.

When it comes to glass versus acrylic, I have liked the acrylic bow-front tanks better than the traditional square glass tanks. It is said that acrylic plastic will scratch, however that has not been a problem (at least so far) with my tanks. I use an algae scraper and two years later the acrylic still looks like new.

Size is a big deal! It is generally recommended that for every inch of tropical fish, you provide 1 gallon of water. However for ornamental goldfish, it works better if you give them 3 gallons of water for every inch of fish. My ornamental 9-1/2" goldfish and 6-1/2" goldfish got along well in a 42 gallon bow-front tank. They had room to swim. I think they would have preferred a longer tank that wasn't quite as high, because goldfish like to snack on choice morsels lying on the bottom.

Now we get to filtration.The thing about goldfish, whether fancy or comets, that people need to be aware of is that goldfish are messy. Not messy as in flinging their dirty socks around the tank, or hanging their clothes on the floor. Goldfish, well, to be honest, and rather unscientific, goldfish POOP! Boy, do they poop. It comes out in round ribbons the color of whatever they have been eating. And it just keeps coming! Goldfish produce a lot of waste products! After keeping them for five years, I can see why they do so very well in a well-stocked pond! If you have a good biological filter going, with plant life absorbing what the fish put out, and returning oxygen to the pond, it must work wonderfully well.

However, with an aquarium, you start with a pristine, crystal clean tank, and within a day or two, a couple of goldfish can really muck up the water! The water will continue to look clear, which is why it is so important to the health of the fish, to purchase a water test kit and USE IT! The fish don't want to live in a foul home, but they can't exactly pack their little fishy belongings in a bandanna, string it over a pole and leave your tank! They are stuck where they are, and can't do anything about dirty water.

Aside from the fish complaining, what is the problem with water which appears clear, but actually has nitrates or phosphates building up invisibly in it? For one, you can get what Badman's Tropical Fish site refers to as "unsightly algae bloom." In addition, incorrect pH (acid/alkaline) levels will strip a fish of its slime coat, and cause stress which sooner or later does lead to a sick fish and then death.

This is your chance to become the "mad scientist!" Test kits instruct you to compare the color in your test tube to a chart to determine the content of the water. Sometimes you will use a titration test which involves adding an exact number of drops of a liquid "reagent" which changes the color of the sample water in your test tube. The number of drops corresponds to a chart which gives you information regarding whatever it is you are testing for which is in the tank water.

If you are REALLY into tanks, you can purchase an electronic microprocessors set-up which takes information from the aquarium water by a probe placed in the fish tank. The system converts the information from the probe into a digital reading displayed on a central monitor. These monitors can be connected to controllers that will automatically adjust the water conditions to whatever you set them for. These are the most accurate and expensive testing devices available.

By the way, don't use distilled water in your tank. It is made by creating steam, which leaves all minerals behind. The steam is then collected and allowed to turn back into water. What is the harm in that, you ask me? Since the water has NO minerals in it, it will leach the minerals out of your fish! Minerals that they need I order to thrive.

I put a "power head" in both back corners of the tank and started with an additional over-the-tank-edge filter. The power heads send the water (and air) down under the gravel where a biological filter of bacteria will grow. As long as the bacteria get fresh water and air they will continue to thrive and eat some of the waste which is delivered to their doorstep. If you ever lose power temporarily, you'll need to clean the tank from top to bottom. The bacteria living under the gravel will die if the water stops circulating under the gravel for an hour or two. Once that stuff dies, it creates a toxic situation for the fish.

I once lost power at 2:30am, and became aware of the situation when I got up to go to the bathroom. No lights. No filter noise from the fish tank. Oh crumb! I had to get up in three hours and get ready for work, and didn't want to spend the entire time with no sleep, cleaning a tank. I took quite a bit of water out of the show tank, replaced it with clean, and went to bed, hoping for the best. The poor fish quickly started losing their skin because of the toxic substances which were released into the water from what had died off under the gravel. It was terrible! Two days later I euthanized the those fish which hadn't already died.

The most powerful filter I've used and which has become the ultimate for us in fish filters (why didn't someone tell me about this thing in the beginning!) is a box which sits below the tank. A big tube at the back of the tank takes the water to the filter, and another tube returns the filtered water to the tank. As the goldfish got bigger, this filter was a life saver and huge time saver. I still ran the power heads, but they couldn't have done the job by themselves! They just helped to move the water around, so that the swirling current pushed debris to the filter tube to be sucked out of the tank. This is definitely the way to go, as goldfish get larger, well, short of donating them to a goldfish fancier's pond or The Goldfish Sanctuary!

I still had to empty out about a third of the water every week or two and replace it with fresh water. The big filtering box's charcoal bag and foam filtering sponges had to be cleaned and/or changed at that time also.

Fancy goldfish often aren't able to see where they are going very well. Actually, more fish seem to have eyes at the sides of their heads than see frontally like humans do. The poor things will get a fix on a bit of food, then the food floats off in front of the fish, and the fish has lost track of where it went. Comet goldfish don't seem to suffer from such problems. They are lithe and built like race cars. But the bulky ornamental goldfish with their bulbous bodies and sometimes telescoping eyes have a harder time getting their mouths around food. What they don't find and eat ends up in the filter, or if you are really over feeding them, in the water.

We have suffered through the introduction of a nasty sort of bright green algae which was introduced via ornamental tank plants from a fish store. That required doses of a product which coagulates the minute algae so it can be filtered and removed.

Another algae is of the brown variety. It likes low-light conditions. Our tank doesn't get a lot of sunlight in the dining room, and it tends to grow that stuff. I have to admit that the cleaner I keep the tank water, the less quickly the brown algae grows.

If you have a lot of natural light, you may notice green algae growing in the tank. The brown and green algae can be scraped off the sides of the tank, but is harder to remove from the insides of power heads, ornamental rocks and plastic bushes.

And speaking of lights, that is the next subject. You need lighting! The tank doesn't look like anything without it, and the light and acrylic surface which come with it help to cover the top of the tank so you have less evaporation. If you have a cat, they can be very curious indeed. Our cat was discovered, on the table, poised to go after a beta. He said he just wanted to get a closer look. Uh-huh.

The bottom of the tank should have rocks, sand or pebbles. We started with sand, but changed to colored gravel when the goldfish became larger and started sucking up the sand as they fed off the bottom of the tank.

We changed from colored gravel to real rocks when the larger of the goldfish started sucking up the gravel…and then a few catfish! The big calico goldfish adored running her mouth along the bottom of the tank and sucking in water. She would be delighted when a bit of food showed up. I wondered where the catfish were disappearing to. It didn't seem logical that they were hopping out of the tank and walking off. Then, last Thanksgiving day, I looked at the big goldfish, and took a double take. She had a catfish tail sticking out of her mouth. The darn fish had been sucked part-way in, and died there, its pectoral fins keeping it from being sucked all the way down into the goldfish's tummy. What a mess!

The day after Thanksgiving I called the fish store and was told that the goldfish would not survive unless I could find a way to dislodge the dead catfish, pectoral fins and all. It took two days of gentle tugging, as I supported my poor goldfish in a clean, soft, washrag. The fish let me hold it's mouth out of the water, but I kept the gills under the water. The careful (oh, so careful!) use of forceps allowed me to grip the dead catfish, but every time I pulled, it stuck inside the goldfish. The goldfish would wriggle free and we'd start all over again. I talked to the goldfish, praising it and explaining what I was trying to do. The fish would hold still until its throat was being pulled, then it would wriggle free. Eventually, in desperation, I started crunching the dead fish, and pulling out bits of it. Finally enough was smushed for the goldfish to give a convulsive belch and the remains of the catfish were disgorged. What a mess THAT was!

So the other catfish was removed from the tank, and rocks were laid down on the bottom. Rocks that were too large for the goldfish to swallow.

We have enjoyed "Gulliver," an engaging Apple snail of immense proportions. Gulliver hasn't been very helpful with the algae problem. He vastly prefers to much on the aquatic plants in the tank, shearing them off like an enthusiastic and berserk lawn mower. If the silly snail wasn't so entertaining and friendly, we'd have taken him back to the pet store a long time ago. The thing about Gulliver is that he is as interested in us as we are in him! Snails have eye-stalks. Gulliver will watch us with his eye-stalks, with his antennas waving about in the water. Our snail is so darned friendly that if I confine him to a Pyrex mixing bowl full of water so I can work on his tank, he'll start to crawl right out over the side of the bowl. I don't know where he thinks he's going, but if you take your snail out of the tank, keep an eye on it! They obviously can develop a case of wanderlust.

It is true that tropical fish require a heater. We've had several malfunction at one time or another. If you don't notice the drop or increase in water temperature, you'll end up with a tank of dead fish. We generally have had much better luck with more expensive water heaters, but that doesn't mean that you can't be disappointed with a more expensive one either.

Goldfish don't need a heater. That is one less thing you have to fuss with when it comes to them. But that's probably the only thing that is easier.

Fish stores recommend that you purchase some "feeder fish" which are comet goldfish, and allow these hardy souls to live in the new tank until the bacteria levels have settled down. Then the fish are returned to the store and the real residents of the tank are acquired. It is a very good idea to test your tank water so that you can actually see when the tank has settled into a more regular routine.

We have started up a tank "from scratch" with our own fish in it because the tank had to be cleaned and what do you do with the fish in a case like that?! Obviously they go right back into the tank, if they are fish you plan on keeping around for a long time. When the tank has been completely cleaned, the water is monitored via a test kit, so that the fish don't suffer.

Every other day for a few weeks after a total cleaning, I take half the water out of the aquarium and replace it with new (de-chlorinated, of course) water. And this is where you become very glad if the tank is near a faucet and drain!

No all aquariums need to be large, or show pieces in the living room. For what it is worth, I really enjoyed having a small tank on the kitchen counter! It was beautiful, easy to keep clean, and the fish were friendly, curious companions when I cooked. When the fish grew too large for the tank, it was easier to dispense with it entirely, rather than keep it going with a new fish. Very few tanks are nearly labor-free!

When I was a child, neighbors put a tank of fish in their bathroom. You could tend to nature on the "pot," while watching the fish.

Until we acquired "Albert, the "Chinese Algae Eater, I thought that aquariums were labor-intensive. Most are. However Albert is the exception to the rule. These poor fish are caught in Thai (no, they're not Chinese) streams and flown to the United States to be put into tanks with algae. The idea is that they eat the algae, and they are very good at it, however that is their downfall. When this species of fish grows over six inches long, it becomes territorial. It will attack other fish to protect it's territory in the tank.

Albert has shiny gold eyes which reflect the tank light. He sports an attractive pattern in brown over his sleek body. Albert, we've decided, is a horticulturist. His tank never seems to need cleaning, and the plants rooted themselves. Or else Albert planted them - he's not telling. What I do know is that this tank rarely needs anything. There is sufficient algae to keep Albert fat and happy. So we don't feed him. Once in a while I'll drop a few brown rice grains into the tank where they sprout. Eventually they're gone. Whether they die off or Albert eats them is anyone's guess.

Albert lives by himself, and prefers life that way. His tank is a thing of beauty, and doesn't require anything other than the occasional addition of some water to combat evaporation. I haven't had to clean the tank in months and the water levels are excellent. Perhaps we were fortunate in the ratio of pond plants to gallons of water to Albert, I don't know. It is clear that we have a fish who pollutes very little.

If you want to keep goldfish, however, you will have major polluters. Success arrives when you are ready for the mess with a sufficient gallons per fish, a good filtering system, and dedicating the time to keeping the fish's home clean.

And after five years of dedicated service to the two ornamental goldfish, one succumbed to an all-too-common complaint: it developed strangely and died. Apparently the more bulbous the body (the less like the traditional "comet" goldfish your pet is) the more likely it may not develop correctly.

After five plus years as a fish-nanny, I threw in the towel! The remaining ornamental goldfish went back to the fish store. Albert, the Chinese Algae Eater, now lives in the big aquarium. It is wonderful to get up in the morning, and know I don't have to clean the tank for the millionth time. I salute Albert as I walk by, and he watches me from inside his hollow rock with his shiny gold eyes.

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