Everything needs maintenance. Maintaining an aquarium becomes very easy once you are well acquainted with the guidelines to follow and if you do them regularly. Preparing a schedule for maintenance can help you avoid problems down the road.
Here are a few tips you should follow to have a hassle free maintenance –
1. Do a partial water change
Water needs to be changed as, eventually, waste products and junk proliferates in your aquarium which can make them vulnerable to diseases or even death. Depending on the number of fishes in your tank you should aim to do at least one-third of the water per week.
Water changes should be part of regular aquarium maintenance but they can vary depending on a multitude of factors. Some fishes require weekly water changes. Make sure you don’t tear down the entire aquarium as they can kill all the beneficial bacteria and shock your fishes.
Changing the water will also ensure that the water parameters are stable and you won’t have to add unnecessary over-the-counter products to keep the water chemistry levels in order.
Remove the water with a gravel siphon, as it will also suck in debris and waste from the substrate, providing your fish with fresh water as well as make your fish are strong and healthy.
2. Test your water regularly
Testing the water for the vital parameters such as pH, carbonate hardness, nitrite, ammonia and nitrate is a good practice. Make sure you maintain proper pH levels. You can use from a range of test kits every week while performing a water change.
Freshwater fish thrive when the pH level is between 6.6 and 7.8 depending on species and a few hardy fishes can go above that range. Although, as an aquarist it’s your your duty to keep a track of any fluctuations in the water parameters including the temperature by investing in a decent aquatic thermometer and heater.
Make sure to test for ammonia regularly if you have a new aquarium. If your pH falls below the desirable levels, ammonia tends to increase.
3. Clean the filter regularly
You should clean your filter at least once in a month. Albeit, if there are large fish or lots of fish in your tank, you might want to clean your filter more frequently.
One thing to keep in mind is that do not clean your filter on the same day you do a water change as you will kill a lot of beneficial bacteria and potentially endanger the lives of your fish as it can lead to an ammonia spike.
How can you tell if your filter needs to be cleaned? The answer is to check if the water flow has slowed down.
4. Clean the sides of your tank to prevent algae build up
Algae buildup on your tank can be expected as algae will not grow in an unhealthy aquarium. Algae can give the water a greenish-cloudy look and it pares down the oxygen level in the aquarium which can pose a threat to your fishes.
You can control algae by having algae eating fishes and you can scrape off hard algae using a glass cleaner.
Do not use algaecides until and unless there’s been a serious algae breakout.
5. Acclimate your fish with the water
It is very important that your fish are happy in their new environment. To do this, float the sealed bag of fish in your aquarium for about an hour. After about 10 minutes of floating, you should start adding some of your aquarium water to the bag. Add a quarter of cup every five minutes in the bag till the bag is full. Ideally a quarantine should be done before entering any fish in to your community tank. This helps your fish to acclimate not only to the temperature of the water but also the chemistry. This helps prevent any shocks that the fish may face in its new aquatic home.
Never introduce any fish in the tank without acclimatization.
Apart from these things, you should also keep an eye out for –
- the proper functioning of the equipments
- check for any leakages
- monitor the behavior and appearance of your fishes
- discard any aquarium supplies that are nearing their expiration dates, and
- feed your fishes in modicum.
6. Prepare a maintenance schedule
Constructing a maintenance schedule can come in handy. Jot down the activities that need to be done
- daily such as checking the temperature, making sure the filter is running properly and observing your fish for any change in behavior or appearance;
- weekly such as doing water changes, vacuuming the gravel, cleaning the glass and
- monthly such as testing water parameters, cleaning the filter and cleaning the cover of the tank.