Maintaining a freshwater aquarium daily, weekly and monthly
Having a freshwater aquarium in your home or business provides a lot of things – it brings literal life into any room, gives you a raft of new pets to cherish and look after and can provide a calming and meditative centrepiece that you could happily spend hours getting lost in. It is also, however, not a small investment and not one you can simply make and forget about.
Regulating your freshwater aquarium is of paramount importance if you want to keep it looking clear and healthy and keep your marine life alive. It’s not just their physical health that’s at stake either, as without the right maintenance your fish could become anxious and irritable and leave your calming aquarium feeling more like a glass cage.
Here, we’ll be detailing the steps you should be taking to keep your aquarium fresh, healthy and looking sharp.
Changing the water
You should be changing your freshwater with clean, filtered water at least every two weeks. Change around a quarter of the tank every time and change it more often if your tank is larger and more full of life. This is the most important maintenance task so keep an eye on it and always remember to tell a friend or family member to change the water for you if you’re away on holiday.
Every day you should be checking that everything is working properly (including the lights, pumps and filters) and checking your fish to see if they seem healthy and happy. Other daily tasks should include removing any excess water, topping off the tank with treated water and checking the temperature. For reference, a freshwater tank should always hover between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the perfect aquarium temperature will depend on your marine life.
Every week or two weeks you should be changing your water and cleaning your tank. You should be able to leave the fish in the tank and work around them but be careful. Cleaning the tank will require everything from algae scrubbers to filter brushes and even scissors (for plant life). Always ensure the filters and lights are unplugged before getting stuck in and remove all non-living materials. Also never remove more than around 25% of the water in the tank at any one time.
Every month you should be checking the pH level of the water in your aquarium to ensure there are no contaminants that could be endangering your wildlife. Of course, if you’ve filtered your water properly this should rarely be an issue, but there are still contaminants that can find their way into the tank through general use. The level should ideally be somewhere between 6.8 and 7.8. If it’s too low, correct the balance by adding limestone or coral to the tank or using a remineralising post-filter to your system. If it’s too high, moss and peat pebbles can be added to your filter to help filter out more minerals from the system.