Red eared slider tank cleaning is one of those things that no slider owner looks forward to, but it simply has to be done. Sliders are notoriously messy eaters and that fact combined with the great amount of waste they produce leads to a tank that will get very dirty on you very fast. The best way to make cleaning as painless as possible is to have the right tools and have the cleaning method down to a science.
The most important part of keeping a clean tank is filtration. You need a powerful filter rated for at least twice the size of your aquarium. Filters are made with fish in mind, not turtles, and bigger filters are always better if you can get one. You will also need to do a 25-50% water change on a weekly or bi-weekly basis; there is no way around this. Don’t change any more water than that or it will cause an algae bloom in your tank and your water will get very cloudy.
There are some chemicals you can use to help keep the algae under control in your slider tank. Repti-Safe© is a good dechlorinator to add when you do a water change. Cycle© is a good product to use to get the beneficial bacteria that will help keep things clean started in your tank. Turtle Clean© is another great product that helps break down soluble waste and reduce odor. A non-chemical solution to have on hand is a Mag-Float©, a magnetized scrubber that you can use from the outside of your tank to clean the outside. This is an ingenious invention that is very easy to use and requires no preparation.
With red eared slider, tank cleaning will eventually come a time in which you’ll need to break down and scrub everything. Though your first thought may be to grab a sponge and soap, you should never use dish soap, hand soap, or any sort of detergent on your turtle tank. No matter how much you scrub afterwards, residue will be left over that could harm or even kill your turtle once you put him back in. Instead of these products, you can use methylene blue or betadine to scrub the tank. Only use these products when the turtle is out of the tank and always make sure that you thoroughly rinse the tank before refilling it and putting the turtle back in. You can usually find methylene blue at pat stores, and betadine can be bought at any pharmacy.