Aquarium Maintenance and Fish Care 101 What You Need to Know

Putting together your own aquarium is a wonderful and fulfilling hobby, as well as a great way to introduce pets into the household. Fish are incredibly vibrant and entertaining beings, and they can bring joy to the entire family. But while it might seem simple, installing and preserving a tank is hard work.

Fortunately, you have plenty of resources at your disposal. For example, ReefNation.com provides invaluable advice on choosing the right fish, as well as what different types of gadgets to incorporate in the aquarium. Still, it’s important to know where to start. Here is everything that you need to know about aquarium maintenance and fish care.

Setting Up the Aquarium

After deciding to become an aquarium owner and buying all the necessary items and equipment, it’s time to set the whole thing up. First of all, you need to choose a spot in the house that is guarded against drafts and direct sunlight. Afterward, proceed to rinse the tank thoroughly with warm water, and then dry it off with a paper towel.
Detergents and soaps can kill the fish once you put them in, so refrain from using them in this step. Next, you need to apply the same cleaning process on any rocks, castles, and other decorations. Once they are free from debris, place them on the bottom of the tank. Now it’s time to fill it with water up to one-third of the way.
Naturally, you will need to use a kind that is aquarium specific. The first one can be purchased by the bottle in nearly any pet shop, and it has been pre-treated to be safe for fish. If you want to make your own, you can clean tap water with a conditioner such as EasyBalancePlus or Tetra AquaSafe. This removes chlorine, as well as any other harmful substances.
After this step is completed as well, you will want to connect the tube of your pump to any decorations or bubble bars. Once you do this, you can place things such as live plants or shells inside. For aesthetic purposes, it’s best to position them in such a way as to hide the tank’s filtration system. Still, it’s your call whether you want to do that or not.
Add the rest of the water to the aquarium, and let it perform its natural cycle. This is very important, as it creates the proper environment for fish to thrive. Wait at least 24 hours before putting any actual marine life in. This will allow for healthy bacteria to grow on the filtration system and remove any potentially dangerous toxins.

A Balanced Environment

To maintain a balanced aquarium environment, you need to ensure that certain conditions are met. First of all, the normal pH level is anywhere in between 6.5 and 8.2. Its stability has to do with water alkalinity, whose normal range is of 120 to 300 mg/L. If it drops below the inferior threshold of these values, then the atmosphere can become deadly to your fish.
Thus, to balance pH levels, you need to increase alkalinity. In addition to that, always ensure that the water is free from any chlorine or chloramine. The quantity of ammonia should also be kept at zero, but it’s fine to have a little as long as it doesn’t exceed 0.25 mg/L. Cycled environments usually have none, but if you find that yours does, use a neutralizer to fix this.
Nitrite and nitrate levels are ideal when the two chemicals don’t exist in the water. However, small quantities below 0.5 mg/L are fine, and can be easily counteracted with aquarium salt. Keep hardness between 100 and 250 mg/L so that it stays soft and encourages an optimal pH value for the overall setting.
Finally, always keep the temperature in the tank in the limit of 23 to 28 degrees Celsius, or 74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit depending on your geographical location. A heater is perfect for this, and you will avoid any sudden thermal shifts from killing your little aquatic buddies. After all, it’s your job to take care of them now.

Regular Cleaning Routine

To ensure that your fish stay happy and healthy, you need to do more than just feed them. Thus, a regular tank cleaning routine is in order. As far as daily requirements are concerned, it is all rather simple. All you have to do is ensure that the water temperature is in the aforementioned range.
But your responsibilities don’t end here. Next, try to delegate one day each week to test the pH, ammonia, alkalinity, chlorine, chloramine, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness levels in the water. Replace 10% of it with a fresh supply and clean any algae that might have grown over the last seven days. When the end of the month nears, it’s time for a more thorough inspection.
Inspect the filter and replace some of its parts if necessary. Throw out 25% of the old water and replace it with some clean one, then clean any decorative items. Prune the live plans, if there are any, and remove algae from the tank. Finally, replace the air stone, and you’re all set. Your fish will live in a prolific environment for one more month.

The Bottom Line

The ideal aquarium environment begins with a correct setup. After that, it’s essential to know how to maintain the appropriate balance. By cleaning it at regular time intervals, you will ensure that your fish have the life they deserve. It sounds like a challenge, but it will be very rewarding in the end.

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