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A well-maintained aquarium is not just a stunning centerpiece but also a healthy home for your underwater inhabitants. But how do you maintain that clear, clean state that makes observing the tank’s residents a true relaxation? In this blog post, we provide you with a concise guide on optimal care and maintenance of your aquarium. 

1. Regular Water Changes 

Splash of water zoom in
image: Terry Vlisidis – unsplash.com

Consistent water changes are the cornerstone of aquarium care. Ideally, you should replace about 20-30% of the water with fresh, dechlorinated water on a weekly basis. This helps minimize the accumulation of toxins and waste products and maintains the biological balance in the aquarium. With each water change, you’re not just removing old water but also adding fresh minerals and nutrients essential for the health of plants and fish. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to siphon off visible dirt or leftover food from the bottom. 

2. Checking Water Quality   

The water quality is pivotal for the well-being of the aquarium inhabitants. Thus, it’s essential to conduct regular tests. Using test strips or specialized drop tests, you can easily check the pH level, water hardness, as well as the concentrations of nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia. Deviations from the ideal values can indicate various issues, such as overfeeding, overcrowding, or malfunctioning filters. Regular testing allows you to identify potential problems early on and take appropriate measures to ensure the health of your fish. 

3. Filter Cleaning 

The filter is the heart of every aquarium. It ensures the water remains clear and pollutants are broken down. Therefore, it should undergo thorough cleaning at least once a month. It’s important to note that the filter houses beneficial bacteria essential for waste degradation. So, when cleaning, care should be taken not to destroy these bacterial cultures. Instead of cleaning the filter under running water, it can be rinsed out in a bucket of aquarium water. This way, the vital bacteria are preserved and can continue their important work in the aquarium. 

4. Algae Control 

Fish in cloudy water
image: Marco Guidi – vecteezy.com

Algae are a natural part of aquarium life, but when they become rampant, they can significantly mar the appearance of your aquarium. One of the primary causes of excessive algae growth is excessive light, especially direct sunlight. It’s advisable to place the aquarium in a location where it’s not exposed to sunlight all day. Additionally, introducing algae-eating inhabitants, such as certain fish or snails, can help control algae populations naturally. However, if algae growth becomes too extensive, specialized algae control products can be used – always paying attention to the instructions and considering their effects on the aquarium inhabitants. 

5. Cleaning the Glass  

Clear aquarium glass not only provides a better view of the inhabitants but also contributes to the overall aesthetic of the aquarium. However, over time, algae and other deposits can form on the glass. Algae magnets or specialized aquarium sponges are ideal for gently and effectively cleaning the glass from the inside. It’s crucial to avoid harsh cleaning agents, as they can harm the water and its living organisms. 

6. Plant Care  

Woman placing plants in fish tank
image: Sumeth Anusornkamala – vecteezy.com

Aquarium plants are not only decorative but also play a vital role in oxygen supply and provide hiding spots for fish. Like all plants, however, aquarium plants can wilt or die. It’s important to regularly remove decaying or yellowing parts to keep the water clean. If the plants show signs of nutrient deficiency, a specialized aquarium fertilizer can help provide the necessary nutrients. 

7. Feeding 

A balanced diet is essential for the health of aquarium inhabitants. However, it’s just as important to ensure you don’t overfeed. Excess food that goes uneaten can decay and cloud the water. It’s recommended to feed only as much as the fish can consume within a few minutes. It’s also advisable to regularly vary the amount and type of food to ensure all fish receive a balanced diet. 

8. Equipment Check  

Devices such as heaters, thermometers, pumps, and lighting should regularly be checked for their functionality. For instance, a failing heater can cause critical temperature fluctuations that are harmful to many fish. For lighting, care should be taken not to leave it on too long to minimize algae growth. Modern timers can be of great assistance in this regard. 

9. Inspection and Quarantine of New Inhabitants 

Single goldfish in fish tank
image: imsogabriel Stock – pexels.com

Before introducing new fish, plants, or decorations to the aquarium, they should be placed in a quarantine tank. This prevents the introduction of pathogens or parasites into the main aquarium. Especially with fish, this quarantine period should last at least two weeks, during which you should closely observe the newcomers. For plants, a brief bath in a mild potassium permanganate solution can help kill off any unwanted germs before placing them in the aquarium. 

Conclusion 

A well-maintained aquarium is not only a visual delight but also greatly contributes to the health and well-being of its inhabitants. With regular care and a vigilant eye, you can ensure your aquarium is always at its best. And a clear, clean underwater view is time and again a calming and fascinating experience! 

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