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Routine And Regular Maintenance for a Successful Aquarium

Dec 24, 2007
The secret to successful fishkeeping would have to be routine and regular maintenance. The simple tasks involved will prevent the fishkeeper being beset with problems and ending up with a messy unhealthy environment for his/her fishes to live in.

Once established, your aquarium will require a minimum of time and effort to keep it looking attractive and its inhabitants healthy and colourful.

On a daily basis: check water temperature, check fish numbers and behaviour, remove debris such as dead leaves (if planted), check filters, air pumps are operating, feed fish.

On a weekly basis: test water quality, if necessary, partial water change, prune plants (if planted), clean condensation tray.

Every 2-3 weeks: Partial water change (approx. 20-30%), clean filters, clean tank, remove algae from front of glass, check if plants need thinning (if planted). It isn't necessary or indeed wise to completely empty out and clean an aquarium. Regular partial water changes are far more beneficial in ensuring that both fishes and plants remain healthy.

Adding fresh water will dilute any pollutants that may be present, such as nitrates, and is best carried out along with a general clean up of the aquarium, in particular removal of debris and uneaten food from the gravel.

It is recommended that all electrical equipment in the aquarium be turned off before carrying out maintenance which involves putting your hands in the water! It's also handy to have a couple of cloths ready to wipe your hands with as you dip in and out of the water.

It is best to remove any rocks out of the aquarium first so that the gravel is easier to clean, place them in a bucket out of the way. (Any buckets and other such equipment should be set aside for aquarium use only, to avoid polluting the aquarium).

A gravel cleaner can be used to clean the gravel thoroughly, without clouding the water too much. Siphon the dirty water into a bucket specifically kept for the job and then dispose of the water in an appropriate place e.g. the garden.

Regular cleaning of the gravel also ensures that it doesn't get clogged up with debris, which is essential if an undergravel filtration system is to work efficiently. Internal filter sponges, or pre-filter media, should be washed in old aquarium water only! not in tap water, as chlorine would destroy the beneficial bacteria present on them; only wash them enough to free them of any clogging debris.

With the water level reduced, you can take the opportunity to clean any items in the aquarium deemed necessary, and remove any algae that may have built up on the front of the glass. (I use a washing up sponge for this, the type with a nylon scourer on one side, an old toothbrush is also useful for cleaning jobs).

You can leave the rear and sides for a more natural appearance, and for any algae loving fish to rasp on. Place any rocks back into the aquarium BEFORE refilling with fresh water. The fresh water should be treated with dechlorinator and be the same temperature as the existing aquarium water, which can then be siphoned into the aquarium.

When the aquarium is filled, replace the covers and lid, wipe the outside glass with a damp cloth, no detergent or cleaners! switch all your equipment back on and check that it's all working. That's all there is to it, but regularly done it will save a lot of misery and you will have an aquarium to be proud of and not one that you would rather hide away.
About the Author
For more information about freshwater tropical fishkeeping please visit my site at www.freshwatertropicalfishkeeping.com for 30 years or more of fishkeeping experience.
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