Make Your Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance Fun!


German blue ram
Fish guru
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Chicago Area

A Lot owners find that setting up their freshwater aquarium was the easy part, the maintenance to keep it running is the challenge! They have it up, but oh my, there are problems presenting themselves that they just didn't expect!

Junk Floating In Your Aquarium?

Tired of dirty water? Well believe me, your fish don't care for it either!

If you want low maintenance, consider a power filter, it does a great job removing drifting particles. Using chemicals, a good power filter will also reduce common impurities, discoloration and smells.

Aside from swapping out the filter cartridges every 3-4 weeks, which should take about 5 minutes, you will need to take an extra 10-15 minutes every few months on a detail cleaning of the filter interior. With the filter cartridges normally being throw away, all the tedious cleaning is eliminated.

Very little will mar a gorgeous tank faster than green algae growing in, on and around everything inside your aquarium.

If you're looking for a quick solution, consider a Plecostomus. At best, this fish could be considered "handsome", but it can put a dent in your algae growth. On the plus side, the Plecostomus has a fantastic personality!

Of course, you can always remove the algae by hand. Even if you do have algae eaters in your tank, there will inevitably be some amount of hand cleanup required. There are some great tools on the market today that will aid you in this endeavor.

Remember that algae thrives in sunlight! You can get away with placing your aquarium by a widow with daylight exposure, just not sunlight; unless of course you are intending to grow algae.

Strong Scents?
Powerful smells emanating from your tank are dangerous to your fish, clean your filter more often if this is an issue. They simply can't live in that sort of environment.

Unclear Water?
There can be many reasons for this, overfeeding is the usual culprit. Your fish ought to be fed no more than 2-3 times each day, adjust the quantity being fed so that it is consumed in 3-5 minutes. This should eliminate the problem.

If it does not, try using bottled drinking water or distilled water. Look in your neighborhood grocery store, you should find it for around 50-70 cents per gallon.

Prepare for Your Water Changes
Every two weeks is fine if you are not having water quality problems, if you have a heavy fish load, plan on removing 20% of your water every week with a siphon or gravel cleaner. Any clean hose will work but we prefer gravel cleaners since you can remove detritus from the bottom of your tank while siphoning off the water.

Once your hose is primed, put one end in a bucket, only fill about 3/4 full.

Once you have your 20% removed, just fill the tank back up with prepared water. Depending on the size and setup of your tank, you will need an extra 45-60 minutes once a month to do some extra cleaning, one of the less glamorous chores.

The interior walls of the tank will need to be gently scrubbed, you can pick up sponges and scrapers at your pet supply store, just be sure you get ones that are safe for your tank.

Periodically remove your decorations and soak them in hot water with a bit of salt, then scrub them with a sponge until clean. Caution! Do not use any type of soap on any object used in or on your aquarium! The residue will kill your fish very quickly.

Using a gravel vacuum for your water changes is a great way to get rid of the buildup of dirt and uneaten food. Select a gravel vacuum that is sized for your tank and read the users guide before using your new vacuum for the first time.

Putting Water Back In Your Tank
Any time you are adding water to your tank, whether it is is to replenish evaporation or refill after a water change, the temperature and pH levels need to be the same as what is currently in the aquarium. A great way to put water back in your tank is to use a garden hose attachment connected to your utility faucet. If the pH matches your tanks, get the temperature just right and run a hose direct to your tank. Sure beats sloshing buckets of water on your hardwood floors!

Tap water was not intended for freshwater fish tanks, be sure to check your chemistry BEFORE putting it in. If your having problems with your tank water, you might find that heating a 5-10 gallon container of distilled or bottled water is a better option.