How to Properly Maintain Your Own Fish Tank at Home

Guest post by Katie Michaels

Fish swimming in a home aquariumMaintaining a home aquarium needn't be a costly or time-consuming business - often doing small regular maintenance tasks will solve bigger problems from happening in the long run so it's best to set up a standard routine as early as possible.

We asked the guys at Aquacadabra to provide us with their top tips on how to properly maintain your home aquarium. Here they are:

  • 1. Maintain tank stability
    Make sure your tank is running properly, constantly, and that the water pH levels remain stable and you shouldn't see too many problems. Watch out for any sudden changes in the water or temperature and deal with them accordingly, to avoid it becoming a big issue.

  • 2. Water maintenance
    You need to change the water in your tank regularly - around 10% of the water should be changed every fortnight to help keep the tank fresh. Make sure the new water matches the parameters of the original water so that it doesn't shock the fish. It's important to filter out any heavy metals or additives which might occur in the water, before preparing it for your tank.

  • 3. Check and clean your filters
    It's important that your filter is working well - check it every month and make sure you change and clean the filter components regularly. If your filters get blocked it won't take long for problems to occur in your tank very quickly.

  • 4. Perform daily checks
    Things to check daily include a general check on all the equipment to make sure it's working properly and keep an eye on your fish behaviour - any changes in behaviour might indicate a problem with the tank set up.

  • 5. Perform weekly checks
    Once a week you should check your fish numbers - if any die and haven't been spotted, the body will quickly contaminate the water and cause problems for the rest of the tank.

  • 6. Check the dates on any supplies
    Check all the dates on any supplies which you use for your aquarium including food, filtration materials and anything else which you use regularly. Don't use anything which has expired, including testing kits, as they could give you a false reading potentially.

  • 7. Vacuum the gravel
    It's important to use water siphons to regularly vacuum the gravel in the bottom of your tank - you can do this at the same time as changing the water. It will ensure the removal of any plant or food debris which has fallen to the bottom of the tank and has the potential to cause pollution issues if left there.

  • 8. Don't overfeed your fish or overstock your tank
    Too many fish or too much food are both bad situations for any aquarium. If you have too many fish they will become stressed and aggressive potentially and the situation won't be good for their health under any circumstances. If you overfeed your fish, you will end up with a lot of food debris in the tank which can cause water pollution issues so when it comes to maintaining a healthy fish tank less is more both for food and fish.

  • 9. Manage temperature and lighting
    It's important to manage the temperature and lighting regularly for your aquarium. You need to keep the lighting managed so that you can see your fish, but also monitor how much sunlight gets to the tank if you don't want it to become overrun with algae. Keep the lights on for a maximum of 12 hours per day - in reality the lights are for you, not the fish, unless you have live plants in the tank in which case you need to light the tank appropriately for the plants.

Maintaining a fish tank at home needn't become a daily chore - getting into a good routine with checks carried out weekly and monthly, will ensure the tank continues to run effectively and smoothly, providing a healthy environment for all of your fish to live in. Choosing the right plants and fish in the first place will make it easier to ensure the tank runs smoothly.

As long as the water is checked and changed regularly and all of the systems are monitored and cleaned, maintenance of your fish tank should become part of the pleasure of owning and looking after it, rather than an onerous task.

Fish tanks are living environments and cannot just be left to their own devices - but with regular upkeep including removal of food debris and algae, there is no reason you can't benefit from the joy of seeing your underwater world creation not only survive but actively thrive.

Owning a home aquarium can bring great joy to all of those who decide to take on the task and with a little care and forward-planning, maintaining it can be a simple and easy part of looking after your fish and plants.

Katie Michaels is a freelance writer who loves pets. Recently, she has been very obsessed with fish and turtles. When not playing with animals you can find her in the nearest local library looking for vintage books to barrow. She writes freelance for Aquacadabra

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