Congratulations on your new aquarium! From the simplest freshwater bowl to the grandest saltwater tank, this handy list will help you keep your aquarium clean and well-cared for... every fish's dream home.
Tips for a Happy, Healthy Home
Keep the Water Clean: Clean water is critical to your fish's long-term health. Mark your calendar to change 20% - 25% of the water once a month or more frequently if needed. This will help maintain proper pH levels and remove waste by-products such as ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.
Monitor Water Temperature: Like us, fish need the right temperature (specific to their species) to thrive. Drastic temperature changes can be dangerous to their health. Be sure your heater functions properly by checking the temperature daily. A comfortable water temperature of 72- 82 degrees F will suit most aquarium fish.
Test the Water: You can get free in-store water tests at your local Petco store or buy kits that test the pH levels, water hardness, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and dissolved oxygen in your aquarium at home. These are relatively inexpensive and detect potential problems so your fish stay healthy and happy.
The Hidden Causes of Algae
The Biggest Cause of Algae Growth is Overfeeding!
Here's a tip for healthy meals: Feed your fish their recommended (nutritionally complete) diet one to two times a day, but don’t offer more than they can consume in one to two minutes. Uneaten food falls to the bottom of the tank and stays hidden among gravel, rocks or aquatic plants. In a short time, it starts to decay, disrupting the Nitrogen Cycle needed for a clean tank. Algae spores feed off the nutrients present in the food and begin to grow. Thus, it's this excess food that feeds algae, not your fish.
Add Some Plants: Live plants are a great addition to your aquarium. They provide shelter and hiding places, and also contribute to a healthy aquatic environment. They use nitrate from fish waste to grow and, in turn, give off dissolved oxygen that fish need to breathe. Remember to use fertilizer, remove dead leaves and change the full-spectrum lights every 6 to 12 months.
Give Your Tank a Monthly Scrub: Keep your pet's home tidy with monthly cleanings. Even the cleanest tanks have some algae and debris — they accumulate on the sides of the tank, in tubing and filters, and on accessories. No chemical cleaners are needed (they can be dangerous to your fish); just use lukewarm water. Occasionally, dismantle filters and lift tubes to remove clogged debris as well. Stiff brushes come in every length and diameter and make it easy to clean every nook and cranny. Magnetic cleaning blades or scrub brushes with long handles help you stay dry while removing stubborn algae from the tank's sides.
Keeping up with these simple tasks will help keep your little swimmers happy and healthy!