There are many things elements of aquarium maintenance that you should be doing on a regular basis. This ensures your tank is looked after properly and you keep happy and healthy livestock. Aquarium maintenance includes, but is not restricted to:
- Water Changes & Siphoning.
- Disease Prevention
- Filters & Equipment
- Substrate Levels
Every two weeks, a water change of 25-30% is strongly recommended. In both a freshwater & Saltwater Aquarium, it is recommended to use a siphon device as it will also remove waste from substrate. The waste in substrate can build dangerously high levels of nitrates and harmful bacteria. This scenario can lead to a fish disturbing the substrate and water levels spiking throughout the tank, causing a huge amount of damage.
Siphon from the bottom, drawing out as much waste as possible. In a tank with sand, rather than gravel you will hold the siphon slightly higher, drawing off the top of the sand where the bacteria is kept.
Replacement water in the freshwater aquarium should be de-chlorinated and water obtained through reverse osmosis where possible. Bring the new water to the same temperature as the existing water and slowly top back up. There are many methods of doing this including the drip method, auto top ups or just manually gradually adding the water back to the existing level.
Replacement water in the saltwater aquarium should contain the same parameters as the water you’ve removed. Use a refractometer or similar device to test the salinity. If you need to make adjustments to bring the salinity up or down do so in the replacement water. Again, ensure the temperatures match and gradually add the new water to the aquarium.
It is much easier, and less destructive, to prevent diseases entering your aquarium, rather than treating afterwards. With food, make sure you are supplementing the correct vitamins and amino acids for the fishes resistance to be at it’s highest levels.
It is also recommended to add garlic to foods as this cleans the blood and makes diseases such as white spot or ich, very hard to take hold. Keeping your aquarium at the highest temperature your fish will be comfortable in, will also prevent whitespot from taking a hold so easily.
When adding new fish to your setup the first thing to do is really analyse the fish in the shop before you buy. Is it lively and swimming without difficulty? Is there any noticeable Ich or fin rot? Do it’s eyes look filmy? Ask the shop worker to feed the fish in front of you so you can see it is completely happy and healthy before taking it home.
After purchasing the fish, it is recommended to have a quarantine setup to house the fish before entering your main aquarium.
A quarantine is a smaller setup that will allow you to house new fish and monitor until you are sure they are disease free and in great shape. Quarantines are usefully empty tanks with water parameters matching those of your main tank. In here, it is easier to treat any bacterial ailments the fish is suffering from without the dander of infecting, and then treating, your existing aquarium.
It is recommended quarantine for up to 2 weeks. Keep your fish well fed and when ready to move, bag your fish and float in main aquarium. Slowly add the water from the new aquarium over a two hour period so your fish can get used to any small difference in water quality that might have been present.
Once you’ve released your fish, continue to keep a watchful eye as if it is being harassed in the aquarium, this can also bring on whitespot. By doing the right research on the compatibility of fish and adding order, you will be able to prevent this in most cases.
Filters & Equipment
All equipment should be checked when doing water changes. Filters should be monitored for any blockages or clogging. Do not wash filter media under tap water. Any chlorine present can kill the beneficial bacteria that has established within the filter media. Instead, rinse the media in the existing tank water before the water change is done. This will clean extra waste while keeping the useful bacteria.
Make sure heaters are working correctly. It is useful to have a replacement or second heater running. This ensures that if a heater does fail, the water temperature won’t fall dramatically. It also lessens the amount that one heater has to do and keeps both heaters working for longer.
If you are using a skimmer, examine the hoses, cups and components to make sure there are no blockages. Empty the cup where necessary and if very dirty you can clean with a sponge using existing tank water.
There are particular levels of substrate that are recommended to keep, particularly when using a sand bed. It is recommended to keep the level of sand between 2-4 inches or 4-6 inches for burrowing fish. Use the deeper side of this if you are housing species that like to burrow like gobies. A deep sand bed, similar to the Berlin Method, is designed to cultivate anaerobic bacteria in the bottom layers of sand, converting nitrate to nitrogen gas to remove toxic nitrates.
This is an effective filtration technique that is done in a natural way. However, not having the right species to burrow and aerate the sand, can cause dangerous levels of nitrogen gas to form and bubble outwards, causing your tank to spike.
This is a general overview of what to keep in mind when maintaining your aquarium. Through research and routine you can ensure that spikes and incidents are kept to a minimum. For information on keeping specific species of fish, there is information listed under each fish profile on this site. This information includes temperament, diet, breeding, appearance, origins and preferred environment.
Simply use the drop down menu to navigate through the fish, or use the search bar to locate an exact species.