Maintaining Your Aquarium
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated November 26, 2013)
For many people, when you say the words aquarium maintenance, they think of a huge time consuming operation that no one really wants to do. In fact, it is this thought that keeps many people from actually purchasing a fish tank in the first place. The truth is that maintaining your aquarium isn't all that difficult, and really doesn't take that much time. While it does require that you be a bit dedicated, most of the maintenance is spread out and takes so little time that you won't even really notice that you are doing it.
- Check regularly. The most basic aspect of maintaining your aquarium is to simply check it on a daily basis. That's it...look into the tank and make sure that none of the fish look like they are dead, ill, or in the process of dying. It kind of helps to know what the individual behavior and look of your fish. That way you can tell when there really is a problem.
- Check the water level. Most people have a tendency to forget that water evaporates when it is placed in a fish tank. Know where you want your water level to be at, and make sure that it stays there. When necessary refill the water so that it reaches the appropriate level, using only dechlorinated water so you don't end up hurting the fish.
- Remove and replace. Even if you have a water filter in your aquarium, you need to remove some of the water on a weekly basis. On the average you will want to remove between five and ten percent of the water, and replace it with some fresh dechlorinated water. This simple weekly action has the ability to help balance out the chemistry in the water, and basically make it safer for your fish, and less harsh on your filters.
- Add a bottom feeder. Simply getting a bottom feeder, such as a small catfish, can help to reduce the amount of algae and other waste products that can form in any aquarium. Even so, you may find yourself needing to scrape off some algae from the side of your tank
- Check, replace, or clean filters. At a minimum you should check the filters on your aquarium every two weeks. If they are dirty, then you will need to either clean them or replace them.
- Test the water regularly. Every two weeks you should test the water to make sure that the ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, pH, and other chemical levels are all in balance. The best time to do this is the day after you have added the new water. Make adjustments as necessary.
- Clean the gravel regularly. If you have a bottom feeder, then you should only need to clean the gravel in your aquarium once every month and a half to two months. Otherwise, you will need to clean the gravel out every month.