Did you know that fish can help keep you company? Building a home aquarium isn’t always easy, but doing so can prove incredibly worthwhile and has some surprising mental health benefits.
To keep your fish happy and your aquarium environment safe, you’ll have to perform regular maintenance. The good news is that it doesn’t take much time once you know what to do and what to look for.
Read on to learn all about the basics of aquarium maintenance.
Inspect the Tank
You’ll want to look over your aquarium every day, keeping an eye out for any obvious issues. Count your fish, make sure the temperature is at an appropriate level, clean up any uneaten food, and make sure things like lights and filters are working properly.
Testing Water Quality
Your aquarium can only be healthy if you maintain its water quality. You’ll need to monitor the levels of nitrites, nitrates, and the pH balance. Inexpensive test strips can provide all the information you need to know.
Nitrite is a toxic waste byproduct that forms when ammonia in your tank breaks down. You never want to find nitrite in your aquarium, as it can cause methemoglobin toxicity.
Nitrates are another ammonia byproduct. While less toxic than nitrites, you’ll still need to keep these levels below 10 ppm in freshwater aquariums and below 5 ppm in saltwater.
The pH of the water in all aquarium types should hover around the neutral rating of seven, but doesn’t need to be exact.
Changing the water in your tank is perhaps the most important step in maintaining a healthy aquarium. In most cases, you should expect to replace about 15% of your aquarium’s water every two weeks.
You’ll also want to treat the water with a water conditioner to break down contaminants like chlorine, which can be detrimental to the health of your aquarium ecosystem.
Manually cleaning aquarium plants, outside surfaces, and the inside of the glass is another important part of aquarium keeping. You’ll also need to clear any debris from the substrate at the bottom of the tank. Plan to clean the tank while you change the water.
To clean your aquarium, you’ll need a few tools at your disposal. This includes a rag to wipe down surfaces, a siphon to collect the debris from the substrate, and an algae scrubber.
You can use an ammonia-free aquarium cleaning solution, but a wet cloth is usually enough to get the job done. Never use household cleaning products to clean your aquarium, as they are incredibly toxic to aquarium fish.
If algae development becomes a problem in your saltwater aquarium, algae eaters can help. These fish will feast on algae and other detritus.
Aquarium Maintenance Keeps Your Fish Healthy
Keeping a fish requires commitment, but staying up to date with regular aquarium maintenance allows them to thrive. Change and test your water bi-weekly, clean your tank regularly, and always keep an eye out for issues with aquarium accessories.
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