Most of the problems you would ordinarily encounter with your in-home aquarium can be eliminated by spending a mere 30 minutes every other week on regular maintenance. The goal of performing regular maintenance on your aquarium is to maintain a stable, clean and balanced tank where your aquatic pets can live comfortably and contently. Chances are, if your fish are healthy and active, and your aquarium seems to be functioning properly, you won’t need to make any major changes. Here are the most common cleaning and maintenance procedures that should be performed on a regular basis.
Change the Water
You should never completely change the water in your aquarium, but every two weeks or so, you should change approximately 10 to 15% of the total water content. This is one of the most important maintenance procedures to maintain a healthy living environment for your fish.
Vacuum the Gravel
You should also vacuum the gravel in your aquarium every couple of weeks. The process will remove any uneaten fish food, fish excrement and any other waste that settles to the bottom.
Purify Your Aquarium Water
Ordinary, municipal tap water will always contain either chlorine or chloramine (chlorine plus ammonia), which is not good for your aquarium. You should add a water conditioner or purifier to neutralize the chlorine.
Clean the Filters
Once a month, you should clean your aquarium filters; however, if you have lots of fish in your tank, you may need to do it more frequently to prevent water contamination. Here’s what you need to do:
- Change the dirty filter inserts
- Change any included filter media
- Occasionally, thoroughly rinse the filter to continue removing waste build-up
Test Your Aquarium Water
Since you can’t check the quality of the aquarium water through a visual inspection, you should perform regular testing to check the levels of nitrates, nitrites, the pH level and hardness of carbonates. If you have a saltwater aquarium, be sure to also check the salinity levels.