Easy Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance

Written by admin on November 26th, 2010

One of the ideas that hold many people back from starting up a fish tank is the mistaken belief that it will require constant upkeep and attention.? The truth is that most freshwater aquarium maintenance issues are taken care of by proper set-up in the beginning.? The rest of the upkeep, as you will see, is not too difficult.

There are definitely some maintenance procedures that need to be done to keep your aquarium running at its best.? The key to making the job easier is simply to establish a schedule and make it a habit.

So what are the things that need to be done, how often will they need to be done, and how long will they take?

Aquarium maintenance to-do list:

Water Change ? This one is very important.? As a general rule, change 15-25% of the water every 2 weeks.? You do have a little flexibility on this one, but some tanks may require a bit more.? For example, a well-stocked goldfish tank might be better off with a weekly change due to their higher waste output.? The key is to set a routine and stick to it.? Remember that when doing water changes be sure to condition (de-chlorinate) the water and get it to the right temperature before pouring it in.? It would defeat the purpose if you gave the fish clean water that totally shocks them!
Change/Clean the Filter ? This should be done approximately every three weeks.? It is overkill to do it sooner than that and if you wait too long, the filter becomes much less efficient. Thanks to evolution in filter design over the years, this process is often as simple as pulling out a cartridge and replacing it with a new one (very easy).? Do not use any harsh chemicals to clean your filter, as they could harm the fish and also kill the beneficial bacteria that reside in the filter.
“Vacuum” the Tank ? What?? Depending on how many and what type of fish you are keeping, it may become necessary to clean some of the excess food, feces, plant matter, etc. from the gravel in the bottom of your tank.? There are many gravel vacuums available that are essentially a tube connected to a wide end that runs across the bottom.? They use siphon action to suck up the gunk and this is a perfect way to get your water change out of the way, too.? It is probably not necessary to do this step with every water change, but possibly every other one.
Check Out Your Fish ? This may seem like an obvious one since you’ll be looking at the fish daily, at the very least during feedings.? But I’m talking about really giving them a close examination.? Look for white spots, tattered fins, exceptionally thin or fat fish, erratic swimming, or anything else that doesn’t look quite right.? If you do this on a regular basis you can discover and act on any problems before they become life threatening to your fish.
Test Your Water ? This is another one that falls under the preventative maintenance category that will keep any small problems from becoming big problems.? If the pH, ammonia, or nitrate/nitrite levels are a little out of whack it won’t be a big deal to fix, and the only way to know this is to do a regular water test.
Scrape Algae ? Pretty simple: whenever it starts to build up, scrape it off.? Again, this is easier if done regularly, before it grows into a thick carpet on the side of the tank.? It is a good idea to do this before the water change because scraping will lead to some “floaties” that can be sucked up when siphoning out the water for the change.
Plant Care ? If you are keeping live plants in your aquarium they will need a bit of maintenance.? Many plants will become uprooted and need to be re-anchored.? Some of the fast growers need occasional trimming to keep them from overgrowing your tank, and many plants need a little bit of fertilizer to keep them healthy.

So that is about it.? The list may look long, but if you really add it up, you are looking at 1-2 hours every two weeks to cover everything necessary to keep your aquarium in tip top shape.? That is nothing compared to the constant enjoyment you get from a happy, healthy tank.


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