The Remarkable Ways How To Drain A Fish Tank

Every aquaponics system requires maintenance.  One aspect you will need to learn is how to drain a fish tank.  Welcome to your step-by-step guide on draining a fish tank! 

Draining a fish tank is an inevitable task that all aquaponics owners face from time to time.  There are different reasons that you may need to completely empty the water out from your main tank.  

Some people do it for regular maintenance.  Others do it when there is a serious problem in the tank that cannot be handled without emptying the water.  Regardless of your reason, you have came to the right place to learn!

This article will talk about those reasons and teach you different ways how to drain a fish tank.

Why and How Do I Need To to Get Water Out Fish Tank?

If you have read any of our other articles, you would have heard us talking about the importance of keeping a balanced ecosystem for your fish.  Fish need to live in healthy conditions if you want them to survive. 

In flood and drain aquaponics, you have to drain your tank every few hours.  This is another situation you would need to drain your fish tank.  

A huge risk that aquaponics’ owners face is nitrification of the tank which is caused by a buildup of various debris inside the tank.  The number one tip for achieving this ecosystem balance is keeping your system clean.  As University of Arizona says, “A system that does not effectively and quickly remove manure from the culture water will never produce fish economically”

This is where draining your fish tank comes into play.  One of the best ways to keep a fish tank clean and healthy is to drain water out of the fish tank and replace it with clean, freshwater.  

If you want to ensure you have no problems, we recommend doing weekly water changes of at least 20% of your water.  This means, drain 20% of your water out of the tank and add water to replace that.  

Keep in mind, this is the bare minimum amount of water that you should change out.  It always depends on the reason you are changing your water.  

If you really want to do it perfectly, you can empty 75% of the water out or in some cases all of your water.  

If there is a serious algae problem or a big imbalance that is nearly impossible to fix, you may have to drain all of the water out of your tank.  Another reason you may need to empty 100% of your water is if the fish gets a disease.  You will need to empty everything to sterilize your tank.  

How to Change Your Fish Tank Water

The method you will use on how to drain a fish tank depends on the size of your tank.  As you may have guessed, a smaller tank will be easier and faster to drain.  

Before you drain the fish tank water you need to find a temporary home for your fish.  Fish cannot be left above water for very long.  If they run out of oxygen, they will die.

So make sure to find another container filled with water to drop your fish in while you drain your tank.  Be aware of what this container is used for.  

Some people have made the mistake of using a chemical bucket to put their fish.   The chemicals were still stuck on the sides of the bucket.  Unfortunately,  this resulted in damages to the fish or in some cases, death.  

If you have a small tank, you can use a store-bought siphon gravel vacuum designed specifically for this purpose.  The nice thing about this tool is that it allows you to get all the plant buildup that falls between your gravel beds at the bottom of your tank. 

you can use a store-bought a siphon gravel vacuum

This tool also works particularly fast.  A ten-gallon tank can take 10 minutes to empty if done right.  If you want to do it perfectly, you will have to take longer than this to ensure a thorough job.  

In order to measure the amount of water you remove, you can use a special bucket size to mark when you have removed a certain amount.  For example, if you wanted to do a 10% water change in a ten-gallon tank, you can use a 1- gallon bucket.

You can adjust your catch bucket size based on how much water you want to change.  Sometimes you may want to change more water than others.  This depends on the conditions of your tank.

Other Considerations

Before you empty any water from your tank, make sure to unplug any electronics in your tank.  This will ensure you or your fish will not get electrocuted when dealing with your water change.  

If you have a serious problem, you may need to remove all contents from your tank before draining and refilling.  This means the aquatic plants, any rocks, logs, or decorations in your tank.  

To ensure that water doesn’t get all over the floor, you can put a towel or mat on the area you are doing your water change.  

When you are refilling the tank, make sure to use clean, nonchlorinated water. Also, pay attention to the water temperature because you do not want to shock your fish once you put them back in.  

It is important to know how to drain a fish tank because keeping a clean tank is essential to the success of your aquaponics.  There are other ways to drain water out of your tank such as installing a drain at the bottom of your tank and utilizing a sump tank to collect your water.

But if you want to replace the tank with new water, you will have to drain it out first.   Fish tank water is an excellent source of nitrogen and other nutrients for your plants.  Don’t waste the water you drain out of your tank by throwing it down the drain.  

Use it for fertilizer (you will thank me later).    As you read through our blog, you will continue to build the skills to be an excellent aquaponics keeper.  

Please feel free to comment and ask questions!

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