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What to perform when maintaining an aquarium

Regular aquarium maintenance keeps a tank healthy allowing its inhabitants comfort and longevity. It is a lot easier to prevent trouble rather than having to fix it. Maintaining your aquarium is easy when all of the components in the tank are in proper working order. There are specific guidelines to what works best when maintaining your aquatic environment.

The most important thing to check on a daily basis is your fish. Take a good look at them for a few minutes each day and check to see that there are no diseases present such as skin irritations or fin rot. See that they are eating properly because a sick fish might not present any symptoms other than lack of appetite and diminished physique. Also be sure that there are no casualties because dead fish can cause water contamination levels to spike if not removed right away. Catching the problem early and taking swift action will help to keep maintenance down to a minimum.

Be sure that your aquarium equipment is also running properly. Check daily to see that filters are filtering, air pumps are pumping and submersible heaters are… well; you get the idea. It is vital to maintain consistent conditions because fish tend to get stressed fairly easily.

Having a good water filtration system is very important when it comes to aquarium maintenance. The purpose of a filter is to clean the water of debris and suspended particles, remove ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, and aerate the water. There are many different types of water filters out there. One type is an under-gravel filter which lies on the bottom of the aquarium taking in debris and waste then forcing clear water up a tube and back into the tank. One benefit to having this type of filter is that you don’t really see it since it’s covered with gravel but the downfall is that it is harder to clean because of its location. Another common type is the power filter. It hangs on the back of the aquarium sucking water into it and then it dumps the clean water back into the tank. This filter is easier to clean which is great if you can bear the sight of it. No matter what type of filter you choose be sure that you get one that can handle the volume of water in your tank.

Aquarium filter cartridges - replacement

Routinely checking water levels of temperature, pH and various unwanted chemicals can be very beneficial to the health and maintenance of your aquarium. Temperature is the easiest thing to keep track of, just place an adhesive temperature gauge on the outside glass of your aquarium. Be sure that the heat doesn’t rise or fall too rapidly because fish rely on the water around them to regulate their temperatures. The pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels can be tested with the use of certain chemicals. Master test kits that come complete with “how to” instructions can be purchased at aquatic retail stores for this purpose. Be sure to follow instructions exactly to get accurate results.

Freshwater aquarium water test kits

Water changes play a big roll in maintaining your aquarium. Some experts recommend doing 20% water changes once a week while others tell you to do it every other week. I say it depends on the occupancy of your tank. If you have fish that eat a lot such as Oscars they will produce more waste and you’ll have to change your tank water more frequently. Remember, fish are trapped in their aquarium water along with their waste and the waste of the other inhabitants of the tank. Nowadays there are so many different tools to make aquarium maintenance easier. For water changes there are siphons that come with hose attachments to start removing water for you. All you do is hook it up and turn it on. Then there are other siphons that are not as easy to start but can still be just as effective. Some siphons even come with specially shaped gravel cleaning heads that pick up debris and waste without actually sucking up the gravel.

Aquarium gravel cleaner

While doing partial or full water changes, you’ll want to clean the inside of the glass. There are several ways that you can do this. Padded Magnetic glass cleaners can be used to remove algae buildup from the inside of the glass but only if the algae is not too thick. Scrubbing sponges with long handles are also used to perform this chore. It allows you to get thicker build-up off the glass if you need to. If the magnet and the long-handled sponge are not the methods for you, you can always do it the old fashioned way and stick your hands in there. I use disposable aquarium wipes that are safe to use inside and out so that I have to clean algae less often. You may not enjoy sticking your hands in the aquarium but it definitely works.

Aquarium wipes

Aquarium maintenance is the key to a successful aquatic experience. It takes time and patience but the result is well worth it.

Sources and citations

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