Rearing fish is an exciting and entertaining hobby. But to ensure your fish are healthy at all times, you’ll need to perform regular aquarium maintenance.
While this is no doubt a lot of work, you should never ignore doing this, or else you risk your beloved pets all at once.
In addition, regular maintenance ensures your aquarium looks appealing to the eye at all times.
Therefore, this is enough reason why you should prioritize regular aquarium maintenance.
Doing regular aquarium cleaning if you’re an inexperienced aquarium owner seems intimidating.
However, it isn’t as hard once you develop an excellent routine.
Here’s a guide to help you out if you’re unsure about how you need to perform the routine aquarium maintenance.
- 1 Which Cleaning Equipment Do You Need When Maintaining Your Aquarium?
- 2 What Should You Do When Performing Routine Aquarium Maintenance?
- 3 Takeaway
Which Cleaning Equipment Do You Need When Maintaining Your Aquarium?
Before knowing how to perform aquarium maintenance, you need to know the tools needed to perform this duty.
And while cleaning the aquarium isn’t complicated, you still need a couple of specialized tools to perform this task correctly.
The most important tools you should get include:
- Water bucket
- Replacement filter media
- Aquarium-safe cleaner
- Algae scrubber
- Filter brush
- Plant fertilizer
- Scissors for trimming the plants
Note that you should only get the aquarium fertilizer and small scissors if your fish tank has live plants.
What Should You Do When Performing Routine Aquarium Maintenance?
There are a few important procedures you must always perform to guarantee your fish remain in a healthy state.
Here’s an overview of the must-do tasks:
1. Water Quality Testing and Tracking
Part of good aquarium maintenance is testing the water regularly.
By doing these proactive tests, you get to know the water chemistry to ensure your fish and system are healthy.
Therefore, you need to teach yourself how to do these tests regularly and buy the appropriate test kits.
When doing these tests, there are several parameters you need to pay close attention to, including;
- Alkalinity: The alkalinity level should range between 120 to 300 mg/L to ensure the pH (potential of hydrogen) levels remain stable. Therefore, you should do regular tests to avoid low alkalinity levels as this causes a quick change in pH level, which then affects the health of the fish.
- pH: The pH level should range between 6.5 to 8.2, and the precise number depends on the fish species. The pH levels must remain relatively stable as drastic shifts can lead to the death of your fish.
- Salinity: For saltwater aquariums, you need to examine the tank’s salinity levels closely. The ideal salinity level usually depends on the type of fish in the aquarium.
- Chloramine and chlorine: You should always pass the water through a de-chlorinator and test it for chlorine and chloramine, which are detrimental to the fish’s health.
- Water hardness: The pH level is greatly dependent on water hardness, with hard water usually causing a significant increase in the pH levels. Therefore, you need to make sure the water hardness is within the range of 100 to 250 mg/L, as this simplifies the pH moderation task.
- Nitrate, nitrite and ammonia: Always test the aquarium water at least weekly to make sure the level of these compounds is at all times low to avoid adversely impacting the health of your fish.
2. Performing Regular Water Changes
It’s no use testing the water if you aren’t planning to change it according to the test results.
And to do this, you need to change the water weekly and monthly.
This ensures the aquatic health inside your fish tank is in an optimal state, thereby safeguarding the health of your fish.
Changing water is this effective because it makes sure the water chemistry parameters are close to optimal.
When doing the water changes, never remove all the water from the inside of your aquarium.
Otherwise, you’ll need to again re-establish the biological filter.
Instead, it would be best to avoid all this by changing 25% of the water after every three to four weeks.
In addition, remove 10% of the fish tank water with fresh dechlorinated water after every week and vacuum the gravel below the bank.
You should use a gravel vacuum or siphon hose when doing these regular water changes.
You should use the time of doing water changes as the ideal opportunity to clean the plastic decorations, scrub for algae, switch your pump’s air stone, and prune the live plants.
However, as you change the water, you mustn’t overdo this to avoid a drastic change in the environment inside the aquarium.
This is vital as this can hurt the health of your fish.
3. Maintaining and Cleaning the Filtration Equipment
Another essential part of making sure the aquarium remains healthy for your fish is by cleaning and maintaining the filtration equipment.
If you don’t, then your efforts to test and change water will be in vain.
The maintenance of the filter involves replacing the filter and carbon cartridge, and rinsing the pre-filter.
This needs to be done regularly to ensure the aquarium is in an optimal condition. This translates to healthy fish.
The cleaning and maintenance of different types of filters usually differ.
Therefore, you need to familiarize yourself with how your particular filter works before you disassemble and start cleaning it.
During the cleaning of the filter, you need to do several things, and these are:
- Inspect the fitter’s other filter media to ensure there’s nothing trapped by grease that the mechanical filter floss didn’t trap
- Clean it at least a few times every month
- Clean the impeller, which is usually fixed to a cylindrical magnet and shaft
- Reassemble the filter
4. Algae Scrubbing
Over time, algae will start growing inside your aquarium. Therefore, you also need to set aside time to remove them.
And this is one of the simplest aquarium cleaning tasks if you do it regularly, and keep it under control.
This means scrubbing algae at least twice or thrice every week, which shouldn’t take you a lot of time.
You can use a wide range of scrubbing tools, but you should be careful about which scrubber to use, especially if you own an acrylic fish tank that can easily get scratched. In this case, make sure to get a scrubber suited for acrylic or glass, depending on your fish tank.
While keeping fish as a pet is a lot easier than having a cat or dog, you still need to do your best to look after them.
You can do this by always doing routine aquarium maintenance to ensure the tank looks its best, and the fish are healthy.
If you had no clue how this needs to be done, reading this post has taken you through every crucial bit of information you need to know.