Your Routine Aquarium Maintenance Guide

Fishkeeping is one of the most entertaining hobbies. However, it comes with many responsibilities too. Until you don’t keep an eye on the well being of your fish and put efforts for their maintenance, you may lose your stock once and for all.

Apart from ensuring that their habitat remains healthy, it is essential you provide healthy food too. There are many such small things that are essential for the well-being of fish. Therefore, before things get out of control, it is important to follow a regular maintenance routine.

So, today we have come up with some essential routine aquarium maintenance guidelines. If you are a passionate aquarist and want to keep your fish hale and hearty, follow them for the best outcome.

Why regular maintenance of the aquarium is essential?

An aquarium is a closed water eco-system. Many aquarists believe that since they have installed a water filter, everything is under control. Some also introduce algae-eating fish and bottom-feeding fish with a notion that these fish will clear up the algae proliferation and leftovers of the tank. With all these, cleaning the aquarium and its maintenance did not cross their mind.

Some people believe that the aquarium is just like any other water body. The way we don’t clean rivers, ponds, and lakes, there will be no need for cleaning the aquarium too. However, they fail to understand that the natural water bodies have currents and waves circulating the water. At the same time, rain adds to the freshwater, diluting the harmful toxins naturally.

On the other hand, the aquarium is a closed and artificially created water eco-system. It is completely different from the natural habitat. Nothing can come in or go out from the tank without your interference. Therefore, it is important to install an aquarium filter in the tank. At the same time, its regular maintenance holds equal importance. If filters are left unattended, they become clogged, doing more harm than help. The harmful by-products from the fish excreta, leftover food, etc. keep on building adding to the toxins greatly and making the environment harmful for the fish.

Therefore, regular maintenance of the aquarium is necessary. Performing the maintenance on a regular basis will ensure that the tank’s environment will remain healthy, and the fish will remain stress-free.

What should be the frequency of aquarium maintenance?

Cleaning the tank daily or even weekly is neither healthy nor practical for the fish. At the same time, it is advised not to clean everything at the same time. Cleaning things on rotation like filter at a time and substrate on another is a wise and practical decision.

Aquarium filters are equipped with bacterial colonies. If you disturb them too frequently, the nitrogen cycle will disrupt, spiking the ammonia and nitrates levels drastically. Apart from cleaning the equipment and substrate, it is important to maintain the water chemistry as well. Therefore, once you are done with cleaning, take the water test to ensure nothing is amiss.

What should be in the routine checkup?

There are a few things that you can do daily and a few things that are enough when done once in a month. So here we have divided them accordingly. Check them out!

Things you should do daily

  • Visually check the installed equipment– Watch out if everything is running perfectly. Here you should keep an eye on aquarium filter, lights, or any other equipment like the thermometer, pH meter, etc. if you have installed.
  • Check the number of fish- Keep a count on the fish you have in your tank. You can do that while feeding when every fish come up to take the food. Make sure each one of them is hale and hearty and swimming around the tank joyfully.
  • Check the temperature– Make sure the temperature is within the range.
  • Remove the uneaten food– Once you have fed the fish, check if there is any leftover at the bottom. Try to remove them after some time with a siphon.
  • Top off the water level– If the level of water has dropped; fill the treated water to meet the level.

All these things take not more than 5 to 10 minutes. So include them in your daily routine for the safety of your aquarium and fish.

Note– This is the best time when you should start maintaining a logbook and note down if anything out of the ordinary is happening. For example, if you experience huge changes in temperature like dropping daily, you may need to check your heater. It might not be working properly and need a change.

Things you should do weekly or biweekly 

  • General cleaning– General cleaning should be the priority task for every week. Damp a clean cloth in an aquarium-safe cleanser and wipe off the outside dirt and grime from the aquarium’s glass. It will prevent the tank from getting overly dirt every day.
  • Remove the debris from plants- Another thing that you can do weekly is shaking the plants, both artificial and live and dislodging the debris stacked in them.
  • Remove the algae– Take an aquarium friendly scrubber and scrape off the algae from the inside of the glass.
  • Eradicate the settled debris from the substrate– Once you are done with dislodging the debris from plants and scrapping off the algae, wait for 10 minutes for everything to settle. Once settled, siphon out the settled debris from the substrate gently and lastly, perform a partial water change.
  • Partial change the water– While some experts believe that there should be weekly partial water changes, some advice to do that once in 15 days. Both are acceptable until you are using treated water. At the same time, make sure that the temperature of the water is the same as that of the tank’s water. If you are planning to do that weekly, first complete the above mentioned weekly tasks and make the partial water change the task for the week.

Things you should do monthly

  • Water testing– Water testing means not only checking the temperature but all other parameters like pH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrite, etc. If algae development is high, you can also keep a count of phosphate level in the tank. Make sure each parameter is within the acceptable range before moving further.
  • Check the live plants– the second thing you need to do is checking the condition of your live plants. Remove the dead and decaying parts of the plants like leaves and stems. Trim the excess of the growth of the plants and make them suitable for the tank.
  • Check the filter media– If there is activated carbon or any mechanical media in your filter, change it once in a month. Check if the filter is clogged and replace. However, do not replace the entire media in one go. Retain some part of it so that a good portion of the beneficial bacterial colonies remain in the filter media.

Keep on performing the daily and weekly tasks as well. Make sure you keep your logbook in handy and jot down the tasks you have done.

Things you should do periodically

Apart from the things listed above as daily, weekly, and monthly, there are a few periodic tasks as well that contribute to aquarium maintenance. These are-

  • Replacing the lights and bulbs used in the aquarium once in a year, no matter whether they are okay or not.
  • Cleaning the filter intake and checking the filter media
  • Checking the air pump tubing and cleaning them as per the need
  • Fertilizing the live plants for their proper growth and maintenance

So these are some essential maintenance steps that you should take for a healthy aquarium. It will keep the fish healthy and the tank crystal clear. Follow this simple routine aquarium maintenance guideline and be a sensible aquarist.

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