When you decide that a major cleaning is due, take the time (the more you do it, the less time it will take over time) to go through your entire system and do it right. Start from the inside of the tank, then work your way through the rest of the system.
HINT: Placing a couple of old towels on the floor in front of the tank during cleaning helps protect the flooring from water damage.
To start with, scrub the algae from the tank walls and submerged equipment.
- Siphon clean substrate
- Water change.
- Top off with new (pre-mixed) saltwater.
- Retest parameters which were off, previously.
Add supplements to adjust levels to desired levels as needed.
Next is your filtration system. This is where a well designed system really pays off. The old adage: "The easier something is to do, the more often it will be done" rings true here.
- Clean debris from the bottom
- A turkey baster works great for this.
- Empty collection cup.
- Adjust air and water flow as needed.
- Normal output?
- Free of blockages?
- Clean filters.
- Check hose connections
- Clean fixture and bulbs
- Replace old bulbs.
- Clean salt creep
Wipe the cabinet and canopy down with a damp cloth, clean the aquarium glass with a glass cleaner or damp cloth and you are done.