Maintaining your aquarium is part of responsible fishkeeping and you need to keep your pets happy by looking after their environment. Regular maintenance of the aquarium needs to be done and we will cover four tips to make your pets happy as well as keep them healthy.
To keep our fish and plants healthy in an aquarium you need to focus first on water quality. If you have not bought an aquarium yet, go for the largest one that makes practical sense in your room. Larger tanks hold more water and will find a better balance that is easier to maintain. Small tanks and bowls are notoriously hard to keep healthy.
Change 25% of the water volume every two weeks. This maintains healthy nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia levels. Always use conditioned water. You can buy an additive that will remove chlorine and other problematic chemicals found in tap water. It is also a good idea to “age” the water by letting it stand for an hour or more in a bucket before using it in your tank.
Remember to do any regular cleaning tasks like cleaning the filter and glass before doing the water change. If the cleaning is putting algae in the water then you want to also remove 25% of those and not get them in the newly changed water. Also, shake off any plants and loose accessories to remove debris before changing water. Clean the tank with water only, don’t use any chemicals for cleaning.
Make sure to check on your fishes at least daily. Count them at least daily. Visually see if there are any problems. Look at their fins and how they behave. Maybe one is getting bullied and another fish has been biting their fins. Maybe one is sick and not swimming the way it used to. Get some advice from your local store to treat any issues you spot.
Feed your fish once or twice a day. Get the correct food for your species of fish and read the instructions carefully. Make sure you don’t overfeed your fish. This is a common problem and will affect the water quality. Also, remove any uneaten food after a little while.
Accessories and Equipment
Inspect the equipment and accessories daily. Make sure the lights are working. The lights should be on for around 10 hours every day. Check that the timer is working.
See if the filter is operating. The filter not only cleans but also adds oxygen to the tank. If you also have an air pump make sure it is working and the bubbles are released in the tank. Inspect the heater for any issues. Tank temperature should be around 26 degrees Celsius. Make sure your tank is not in direct sunlight or close to any heating or cooling sources.
The above visual inspection should also be done when doing routine tank maintenance like cleaning. When you are doing the 25% water change also take the time to do a closer inspection of all tank equipment.
Once a month you should also maintain the tank filter. Don’t replace all filter media at once as mechanical filters build up natural and beneficial bacteria. Mechanical filter media might only have to be replaced once or twice a year and only replace a part at a time. Filter media like activated carbon should be replaced once a month.
Daily you need to check the tank temperature. This is the simplest test with an aquarium thermometer that should be permanently installed.
At least once a month you should test the water quality. You can get test kits for testing pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. This will give you a good indication if something is going wrong with your tank. Make sure you know what water type, pH, and temperature your fish and plants alike. Not all fish thrive in the same environments and temperatures.
For the pH, you want to replicate the natural environment of the fish you are keeping. Most freshwater fish like a pH between 6.8 to 7.5, but the exact number will depend on the species of fish. The temperature your fish likes will again depend on the species and the time of the year. Some species need a bit warmer water in summer. Water temperature should be between 22 to 28 degrees Celsius, but again, check on what your species of fish likes.
The easiest way to keep your aquatic pets happy is to give them an environment as close as possible to their natural environment. The water quality, light, and temperature should replicate their natural environment. Doing this with the daily, weekly, and monthly tips above will make sure they are happy.