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  • Writer's pictureStewart Kessel

How to Maintain a Healthy Aquarium

Updated: Jan 8

What Aquarium Maintenance is Required?

It is advisable to keep a daily check on your aquarium to determine if the fish and other livestock are behaving normally and that all the equipment is working as expected, including a check that the water temperature is correct. Any unusual behaviour of your fish may be an early indication something is not right with their environment. It is also essential to remove any waste or decaying matter, such as uneaten food or rotting plants, as this will quickly start to affect the water parameters and hence the health of your livestock. An inspection to ensure no leaks and top-up of any evaporated water, preferably with reverse osmosis water, completes your regular daily checks.

As well as the daily checks your aquarium will require routine maintenance - this includes regular water changes, removal of any build-up of waste material in the substrate, cleaning the aquarium glass, cleaning the aquarium decor and checking the correct operation of the aquarium equipment. The aquarium filter will also require regular checks and maintenance to ensure continued proper operation.

As part of the maintenance programme, it is also advisable to check the water parameters, to ensure these remain optimum for your chosen livestock and that there are no changes that could cause stress, ultimately leading to disease.

The frequency of the maintenance routine will be specific to your particular aquarium set-up. Smaller volume aquariums generally require more care and attention to ensure stable water parameters compared to larger volume aquariums. The best maintenance programme for high-energy CO2 injected heavily planted aquascapes is much larger weekly water changes. Planted aquariums with a low stock density and good filtration can be more stable over more extended periods. Some fish species are generally messier than others requiring more regular maintenance.

For most aquariums a weekly maintenance routine is optimum, consisting of removal of waste and other decaying matter, cleaning of the aquarium glass, water parameters tests (NH3, NO2, NO3, pH) and a 10-25% water change.

You should also couple your weekly maintenance with a monthly routine, which in addition to the above would include checking the filter and filter media. In particular, ensuring excess waste is removed from pre-filter sponges and bio-media to maintain good water flow. The filter maintenance will also include removing, inspecting and cleaning of the filter impeller and impeller wells; and in the case of chemical filtration inspection and replacement as necessary of the resin or carbon media. Cleaning of aquarium decor, equipment and filtration tubing is also advisable.

Author: Stewart Kessel CChem, MRSC


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