December 6, 2023

Taking good care of tropical fish tanks involve diligent cleaning and maintenance checks. Doing so will ensure that your fish will stay healthy by preventing any problem from happening.

Daily maintenance

Daily checks would only require a few minutes of your time. This involves checking the water level, doing fish head count, and checking for floating detritus. If the water level drops, you need to replace the water. You must also take out any dead fish or plant matter to maintain a suitable water condition for your tank.

Also check the temperature reading of your heater and thermometer. A huge discrepancy in their readings generally means that the heater is malfunctioning.

Weekly maintenance

Water change and light cleaning of tropical fish tanks are usually done during the weekly maintenance checks. You have to remove and clean dirty ornaments, clean the tank walls, siphon off floating particles and dirt, and prune and re-anchor live plants if you have them in your tank. When changing the water, do not remove more than 25% of the water in the tank. Before you put in the new water, make sure that it is filtered, dechlorinated, aerated, and of the correct temperature. You can leave the fish inside the tank while cleaning as long as you won’t make sudden movements that will disturb them.

Monthly maintenance

Cleaning and replacement of some of the equipment of tropical fish tanks are done monthly. These are your filter media and filter cartridges. Do the monthly cleaning together with the scheduled water change so you can use the discarded water to clean the mechanical and chemical filter media of your fish tank. However, do not replace nor replace the biological media as this will wipe out the bacteria colonies needed for filtration. Make sure that you test the levels of ammonia, pH, nitrates, and nitrites in the fish tank.

It is advisable to keep a record book where your observations, activities, and testing results are noted down. Referring to those notes will help you later on in case concerns regarding water conditions or fish health will arise.

Bi-annual maintenance

The pumps, light bulbs, protein skimmers, filters, and pipes of tropical fish tanks are to be checked, cleaned and/or replaced twice a year. Check the impeller of the pumps if there are missing blades or if it has cracks. Be sure to clean the inside of the pipes. When you change the light bulbs, do so at night when they are cool enough to be handled. If you need to change two bulbs or more, replace the bulbs one day at a time. When removing, reassembling, and reinstalling these equipment, follow the manufacturers instructions.

Cleaning tools

Using the right materials during cleaning will ensure faster cleaning time with less hassle. Your cleaning kit should include algae pads, magnetic cleaners, gravel vacuums, water changing tools, scrapers, brushes, tongs, gloves, and cleaning fluids. Examples of cleaning fluids specially made for fish tanks are scratch removers, salt creep removers, lime dissolvers, and glass polishers.

Jenna is a pet store owner and an aquarium enthusiast who likes to help others succeed in raising their fish as well. She is a featured member and guest speaker at many aquarium clubs, as well as having a few very large tanks of her own. To learn more about tropical fish tanks and acrylic reef aquariums [], please go to

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