27 Dec How to Keep Your Aquarium Clean and Healthy- Our Top 10 Pro Tips
- Start slowly.
The temptation is to get everything immediately but it is best to take things slowly. The tank needs time to get established, for the proper bacteria to grow. Do not buy a million chemicals and pieces of equipment it is better to let the tank cycle through naturally. A reliable filter with good carbon and a plan for regular monthly maintenance is all you need.
Larger tanks are more stable in terms of temperature and water chemistry and also give your fish more room so there is no overcrowding however they can be a challenge to clean, so the proper cleaning equipment will make the task easier.
- Hide and Seek?
The more hiding places your fish have the more they come out. Sounds totally backwards but if each fish has its own spot to call “home” they become more comfortable and will stay out in the open more and be much less stressed. Less stress means healthier fish.
Many fish can’t be kept together. As a guide you should select fish that are compatible, have comparable water chemistry & temperature requirements, exhibit like behavior. There are broadly 5 groups:
- African Cichlids: Colorful, active and easy to care for but aggressive and need good rock structures to have their own territories.
- South American Cichlids: Personable, active and easy to care for. They’re less aggressive than their African cousins.
- Goldfish: Many varieties with beautiful, flowing fins. However they are good only with other goldfish due to their diet & temperature requirements which vary greatly from other types of fish.
- Tropical Fish: Very colorful and active. This group gives you the widest variety of fish to pick from and some do best in pairs, some in three’s and others in larger groups.
- Semi-Aggressive Tropical fish: Very colorful and active but tend to bully smaller tank mates, so make sure they are all similar in size.
Your best plan is to check with your local expert. We provide fish recommendations to our aquarium maintenance clients.
- Self Cleaning:
For fresh water tanks cat fish are great for any tank. It is always a good idea to have one or two for every 10 gallons of water to keep the tank clean. Once the tank is established algae eaters can also be added to help with the maintenance.
Always buy the next size filter up from whatever the tank size indicates. So if you get a 20 gallon tank buy a filter for a 30 – 40 gallon tank. It is really the only way to ensure the tank will stay clean and we recommend this to all our customers.
- Water Changes:
The easiest way to do water changes is by using a hose. We use hoses with our clients as it reduces spillage and clean up. Siphon out the water and add water from the tap. However as almost all tap water contains both chlorine and chloramine you must add a de-chlorinator to remove them. Alternatively if you use buckets and do not have a de-chlorinator, let the tap water sit for at least 48 hours before using. Change about 25% of the water once in a month and make sure the water you are adding has the same temperature and pH.
For tropical fish keep the tank at 76 to 79 degrees. Keep it as constant as possible as abrupt changes will shock the fish.
- Tank Lights:
Lights should only be on 6 to 8 hours a day and are really only essential if growing live plants.
- Feeding Fish:
Fishes stomachs are the same size as their eye-balls -which are tiny- so they really need very little food. I generally recommend feeding once a day and only giving them enough so that they eat everything in 5 minutes. This will also mean less food is wasted & less debris needs to be cleaned out of the tank.
- BONUS TIP! Alkalinity/Acidity (pH):
Optimum pH for freshwater aquariums is 6.8. It is important to keep it below 7 because at that pH ammonia turns to ammonium which is far less toxic to your fish and keeps the fish and the whole tank healthier. Saltwater aquariums should be kept at a pH of 8.0 and reef aquariums do best around 8.3. Check the water regularly to maintain this pH.