How to Maintain a Healthy Fish Tank

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Fish Tank – as part of the expert series by GeoBeats.

When purchasing an aquarium there are a number of things you have to look at, obviously the biggest one being maintenance of the aquarium. It is often said that aquariums are lots and lots of work. People do not keep aquariums because “boy it takes so much effort”. Really it does not, just general maintenance. Usually we require or recommend say, a partial water change once a month even. Depending on how many fish obviously, if you have lots of fish this may go back to every couple of weeks. If you do not have very many fish at all you can do it every couple of months. What this means is that you are doing a partial water change of the aquarium. Do not tear down the entire aquarium, that is a very common problem. Big mistake. Aquariums are biological systems and if you tear down the entire aquarium, you have killed all of the beneficial bacteria that is in your aquarium. So you are doing a partial water change, it also means you are leaving the fish in your aquarium. You can do this by just removing the water with a gravel siphon. Put the siphon in the aquarium, start the water flow, you can clean your gravel or just take part of the water out of the aquarium. Very very easy to do.

When you are thinking about this, you usually only want to do say 25-35 percent of your water because you do not want to change your water chemistry too extremely on your fish. PH shock can be a really large important problem. Especially a problem when we have no hardness in our water. What that means is our PH tends to drop extremely low because we have nothing buffering it against doing that. So it is important if you have large fish, lots of fish, that you keep you keep in mind with that. Or when you do that water change you may end up doing some harm to your fish. So it is important that you only do a fairly small water change about 25 percent or so. With that in mind it is also important when you are doing that water change obviously that you remove the chlorine from your tap water, these can easily be done by adding drops to your tank that will neutralize the chlorine instantly. When de-chlorinating your water is very important because in a lot of larger cities you will have, chloramine in your tap water, which is a bond of chlorine and ammonia in your tap water. This does not dissipate by letting water sit out, so it is important that you use the drops or liquid in your aquarium to remove this from your aquarium, or this will in fact kill your fish. So it is very very important that we remove that.

Now that we have changed our water, the things you need to do when cleaning your aquarium obviously is filter cleaning, this is an important factor. Again it depends on the large number of fish you have in your aquarium, if you have a large fish, or lots of them, you are going to have to clean your filter more often. Again when cleaning your filter be careful not to sterilize your filter. It is kind of like what we talked about with changing water. Squeeze the sponge out, remove the carbon pad in the filter. It is important sometimes that you do not do this the same time that you are also changing your water, because you are removing a lot of bacteria when you are cleaning your tank, cleaning your gravel bed for instance, and cleaning your filter at the same time. You can remove an awful lot of that beneficial bacteria which will lead you into a potential ammonia spike. It is best if you alternate filter cleaning and water cleaning. Filters you can usually tell if they need to be cleaned by the fact that the water flow has slowed down on the filter. If the water is still moving very well through a filter, usually it does not really need to be cleaned, even though it probably looks like it does. It is still functioning very well.

So if the water flow slows down, it is important to clean it. A lot of people like to clean algae in their aquariums. Algae is an interesting thing. Algae does not grow in an unhealthy aquarium. So if algae is growing in your aquarium, it means your aquarium is doing very well. So wiping algae can be done by a variety of different ways, algae pads are things you can just wipe off of the front. One thing that tends to work really well for the hard algae that you tend to get a lot is a credit card or like a hotel room key because you can actually get that hard algae off of the front of you aquarium very, very well. So algae is a factor depending on whether you like it or dislike it. We tend to only clean the fronts of the aquariums. Again algae is a beneficial thing in lots of ways, it helps the biological system of your aquarium so leaving it on the sides or the back is not a problem at all. It is kind of a pr…