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Routine Care

girl looking into aquarium

Regular aquarium care is a necessity. Depending on your fish load and aquatic plants regular maintenance can occur more frequently. For a healthy aquarium and maintaining a balanced environment the following must be performed.

This chart is an average maintenance schedule. Details about each process appear after the chart.

Feed inhabitants
Check CO2 flow
Observe fish health and behavior
Observe quality of plant life
If your filter has a pre-filter, check and clean the pre-filter media
25% Water change (if you have a lot of plants or inhabitants small water changes should occur more frequently)
Perform aesthetic maintenance
Test water
Check filter intake and outake are clear and fully functional
Replace air stone
Clean filter media and replace if needed
Clean tubing
50% water change (if you have a lot of plants or inhabitants this should occur every 2 weeks)


Water Changes

Changing the water is one of the most important aquarium maintenance steps. The importance of changing water is to reduce pollutants. This will promote thriving plants, balanced water, and healthy aquarium inhabitants. Consistent partial water changes also helps to reduce algae growth. To change the water you will need a siphon hose or pump with tubing, and a bucket (designated for aquarium use only).

When doing water changes you must make sure foreign chemicals do not disrupt your ecosystem. This is why tap water is not particularly good for aquatic life. Before adding new water to the aquarium you must adjust its chemistry to match your aquarium. You can reconstitute the new water by adding in some current aquarium water into one bucket. Essentially you are adding back the chemicals that promote fish health and taking out the harmful chemicals that lead to buildup of ammonia. If you feel more confident you could instead add the appropriate treatments directly to your aquarium and then add in properly temperature tap water. This method would require you to know the chemistry of your tap water.

Testing & Treating the Water

Test the water on a weekly basis. Monitor the level of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates (especially in salt water) in your aquarium. Purchase test kits at your local fish store or ask if they can test the water in store. Aquarium water treatments are available at your local fish store to help if you need to rebalance your aquarium.

Aesthetic maintenance

Depending on your aquatic plants this type of maintenance can be done monthly or weekly. Trim aquatic plants and remove any dead or floating debris. Clean algae off of rocks, artificial plants and decor. Clean algae and residue off of your aquarium’s glass. Vacuum the aquarium gravel (if applicable) to get rid of debris or algae.

Filter & Equipment maintenance

Depending on your fish load and aquatic plants this type of maintenance can occur more frequently. Typically, you would clean filter media and specific components. Always follow the maintenance instructions found in each of the product manuals.

If you need to replace filter media, we recommend that you undertake the replacement incrementally. For example, first replace one of the multiple filter foams, after two weeks replace the next one, and so on. The reason is that the biologically active microorganisms that have settled in the filter, settle in the filter media. If you replace everything all at once, the filter will not be completely active for several weeks, because regrowth of bacterial cultures takes some time.

Shop Replacement Filter Media