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Aquarium Care and Maintenance Tips From the Experts

Having an aquarium in your home can provide a soothing element to the ambiance. Watching fish swim around can remind us to slow down a little and enjoy our surroundings. However, having an aquarium can quickly go awry if the proper aquarium care and maintenance steps aren’t taken. The following will explore some of the things you can to help ensure your tank and the fish and plants inside it are healthy and well-cared for.

Know Your Fish

Before we dive into the broader elements of aquarium maintenance, it’s important to note that different types of fish require specific care. Ensure that you know what pH levels, nutrient content, oxygen levels, and temperature your fish need to thrive. You can research types of pet fish and their needs at Whenever purchasing a new fish, ensure that it will get along well with the ones you already have.

Placement Of Your Aquarium

Believe it or not, where you keep your aquarium can have a big impact on your fish’s health and how much care your tank needs. Keeping an aquarium near a sunny window isn’t going to feel great for your fish; it’s going to warm the water up, and it’s going to encourage the rapid growth of algae. Likewise, keeping your tank somewhere cold like the basement or the garage is going to mean that the water heater has to work double-time to keep your fish happy. Your utility bill won’t be pleased.

Change The Water

You want to be changing about 10 to 15 percent of the water in your tank each week. If there’s a ton of fish within, you can boost that up to 20 percent. Natural waste byproducts like nitrate and phosphate will build up in your tank and put your fish under stress.

Consider A Helper Fish

There are a few types of fish that enjoy keeping things clean. This means that if you include one in your aquarium, it will help you stay on top of the maintenance work required. Plucky fish are one example, but there are several you can choose from. Pleckys like to hang out at the bottom of a tank or along the walls and eat the algae buildup off the pebbles and glass.

Think About The Term Care

Care can mean a lot of things. You’re probably thinking about it in the context of the fish and the tank you have in your home, but it turns out the choices you make regarding your aquarium can have a significant impact on thousands upon thousands of other fish—maybe even millions. When choosing the type of fish that you want to keep, learn a little bit about where the fish comes from and whether any damage is done to the environment or other fish in the process. Tropical fish, in particular, has quite the shady backstory more often than not. Make sure the fish you choose to keep in your home isn’t causing havoc to others.

Clean Your Tank Regularly

Just like humans, fish like things to be clean. This means that you’re going to need to keep an eye on your tank, and when you start to notice cloudy water, a film-like build-up on the glass, or green fuzz growing on the pebbles, it’s time for a clean. Use a net to capture the bigger algae pieces and a fish-tank scrubber (sometimes also called an algae pad). Make sure you chose one explicitly designed for tanks, as many sponges and pads have soaps or chemical residue that could be lethal for your fish.

Then take out the rocks, fake plants, and decorative elements that are noticeably dirty. Make sure you clean them without soap. Again, soap can hurt your fish. Wash them in water only and then let them air dry. Vacuum the gravel if that’s needed (again with a water siphon, not a regular vacuum). Wipe down the exterior of the tank, including the glass, hood, light, and tank top. Only use an aquarium-safe cleaner.

Change The Filter (But Not When You’re Cleaning)

Fish tanks need a unique balance of bacteria. Everything, including humans and all other ecosystems, do too. When you clean the tank as described above, you run the risk of upsetting the bacterial culture. Lucky for you the filter has some of this bacteria in it. Never change the filter and clean the tank at the same time. Wait a few weeks after cleaning to change or clean the filter. Use a thin scrubby brush to clean the filter tubing.

The above tips should help you keep your aquarium well-cared for and well-maintained. If you have any questions, reach out to your local pet care professional.