This Article is About
saltwater aquarium
water test kit
calcium reactors
aquarium water
aggressive fish
ph level
How To Properly Maintain Your Saltwater Aquarium
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How to Properly Maintain Your Saltwater Aquarium

Summary

Once you have set up your saltwater aquarium, you will need to maintain it. This article will provide an overview of an ideal aquarium maintenance schedule.

Once you have finished setting up your aquarium, proper maintenance and routine cleaning is the key to a successful aquarium. You will want to follow a strict maintenance schedule for your fish and plants to survive and flourish. Having an aquarium is just like having any other type of pet; they are not self-sufficient in this captive environment, and need to be cared for, cleaned and maintained. Scrubbing algae, checking filters and changing aquarium lights are just some of the items that will be on your list. Below is a standard suggested maintenance schedule and some or all of these items may apply to your aquarium. It is best that you base your schedule on your individual aquarium and use this as a guide.

Visually inspect equipment – Take a few minutes each day to check that all your equipment is working properly. Ensure that aquarium water pumps, heaters, chillers, calcium reactors, etc. are all working properly.

Visually inspect fish and plants – Closely observe fish for signs of sickness, such as ich and wounds that may have been caused by another aggressive fish. Additionally, check coral for pests such as red flatworms. The ideal time to do this is during feeding time when all your fish are out in the open.

Check water temperature - Make sure water temperature falls within the acceptable parameters. A drastic temperature change can be harmful to fish and plants, but may also indicate that the heater or chiller is not working properly and should be immediately inspected further.

Check water pH level – A pH controller will make this task much easier than using a water test kit. Either way, however, the pH level should be checked and documented daily to look for increases or changes in pH which will need to be corrected.

Top off evaporated water (if any) – Top off any evaporated water on a daily basis to keep the salinity level stable. If you use an auto top-off system, you will not need to top off the water. You will, however, need to maintain the auto top-off system.

Additives/Supplements – If you use additives or supplements that are intended for daily use, be sure to add them regularly to avoid changes in water parameters.

Weekly

Clean gravel and change water – Using a siphon to clean debris from your gravel will also remove an adequate amount of water for your water change. Be sure to treat your new water accordingly before adding it to your aquarium. This maintenance can also be done bi-weekly, but weekly is preferred.

Water tests – It is important to check your water parameters on a weekly basis. Check the levels of salinity, calcium, alkalinity, nitrates, phosphates and magnesium. Typically, multi-test kits will tests for all of the parameters that are most important to monitor and are relatively inexpensive.

Clean Aquarium Supplies – It is recommended that most of the aquarium supplies, including: the protein skimmer, filter housing, hoses, connection tubes, and the rim of the aquarium be wiped free of salt creep at least once a week, to help keep salt erosion down.

Scrub algae from tank interior – Algae can grow quickly in an aquarium, so scrubbing the algae from the glass once a week with an algae magnet will keep the tank walls algae free and also make it easier to clean.

Wipe exterior – Wipe down the exterior of your tank once a week with glass or acrylic polish. Polishes will prevent fingerprints and water spots from forming on the outside of your aquarium.

Clean filter socks and pads – Filter socks and pads can become clogged quickly with debris and leftover food. This debris will lower the water quality in your tank. Most are reusable and can be cleaned; however, it is recommended that you keep a few on hand so they can be rotated out. Don’t forget, if you are using a new filter, rinse it thoroughly before use.

1-2 Months

Clean pumps and powerheads – Keep pumps and powerheads last longer and perform better by keeping them clean with equipment cleaner. The impeller and housing can be cleaned with a brush kit.

Change carbon media – Carbon media should be changed once a month. As water passes over the media, it traps contaminates from the water. Over time the media becomes saturated with contaminates and needs to be replaced. Remember to thoroughly rinse new media before adding it to the carbon reactor.

Clean and calibrate probes – Probes should be cleaned by gently brushing the tip of the probe with a soft bristle brush to remove any build-up. After the probe is cleaned, recalibrate it and check for accurate readings.

6-12 Months

Clean return pump – The return pump is bound to accumulate gunk and slime over time. It is recommended that the pump be taken apart and thoroughly cleaned every 6-12 months to ensure that it is running at its highest efficiency.

Replace lamps – The type of aquarium lights that you have will determine if this is the appropriate time to replace bulbs. If you are using LED lighting, chances are this will not be a consideration for some time, however, if you are using fluorescent lighting, consider changing the bulbs. Even if the bulb has not gone out, it may have lost its glow. Your fish and plants will benefit from some fresh lighting.

We hope you have found this article beneficial in helping you to maintain your saltwater aquarium.


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