Regular maintenance of an aquarium is directly proportional to the health of your fish!
If you are a welcoming a new pet fish you should know how to maintain an aquarium first, So, here is a basic guide for the upkeep.
Do your research
Like in case of any pet, you must do your research before maintaining an aquarium and welcoming a pet fish. You need to know various factors like their temperament, space requirement and compatibility with other fish.
An overcrowded aquarium means elevated aggression, stress, diseases and overall unhealthy living condition for your fish.
Cycle the fish tank
Cycling is the process that involves the production of such micro-organisms in the filter that support your fish economy by neutralizing their waste and making the aquarium habitable. This process is a must before adding fish to the aquarium. Thus, you should not buy an aquarium and fish on the same day, the aquarium has to be habitable first. Make sure never to cycle the fish tank with a fish already in it
Regular testing & monitoring of water
So how can you know if the water is safe for your fish? It’s time to invest in a good water testing kit, a must-have equipment if you own an aquarium. It helps in monitoring the levels of nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and pH-level of the water.
There is nothing like “normal” pH that applies to all fish. Fish originating from different sources have different pH levels, so are their needs. Saltwater fish prefer an alkaline pH of 8.0 or higher. Freshwater fish flourish in a range lower than that, somewhere between 5.5 and 7.5, depending on the species.
How often? A fish tank should ideally be tested once a month and any time if there is a dead fish or illness.
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Change water regularly
Water change must be a part of regular aquarium maintenance. The frequency may vary depending on the size. As a matter of fact, the smaller and heavily stocked tanks require more frequent water changes as compared to the larger and lightly stocked ones.
Remove approximately 1/3rd of the water from the fish tank and replace it with clean and fresh water. This helps in diluting the existing chemicals in the water and makes it healthier and habitable for your fish.
In case you fail to do this basic thing, it will be hard to upkeep the aquarium as the waste buildup will pollute the water to the point that it’ll become unhealthy for your little pet fish.
You should also regularly vacuum the gravel in order to remove the debris that has accumulated on the bottom of the tank.
Maintain Light in and around the aquarium
Managing algae in an aquarium can be one hectic task. Like any other plant, algae also require light to grow. Keeping a dark aquarium doesn’t make sense, of course. So, it’s smart to choose the right place for the aquarium. Avoid places with strong sunlight.
This situation will vary if you have live plants in the aquarium, which require a full 12 hours of overhead lighting every day. Interestingly, the live plants suck up many of the nutrients that algae need for survival, which keeps it in check. Thus, live plants can help maintain a healthy environment for your pet fish.
You should ideally keep the fish tank light on for maximum 12 hours every day or even less. As for the fish, the moderate natural daylight is enough for them. You can turn the lights off when you aren’t around.
Enjoy your parenting journey!