Maintaining your fish tank regularly keeps the delicate ecosystem flourishing and your fish in good condition.
Once you’ve set up your tank correctly, all you need to do is schedule in small steps throughout each month for a healthy underwater environment.
What you need for your fish tank
First up, it’s important to ensure you’ve got everything you need for the type of fish you’ve chosen. For most fish, this includes a filter, gravel, a gravel vacuum, an air pump, a net, water test kits, water treatments and a thermometer. If you’ve picked tropical fish, you’ll also need a heater to keep them cosy and warm.
Lights are a great idea too, as they’ll certainly highlight the beautiful colours of your fish, and also help you spot any issues in your tank. Just be sure to turn them off at night in keeping with the natural environment. Speaking of which, you'll need to provide appropriate plants and ornaments for shelter and security. It’s best to leave at least a week for your tank to settle after you first set it up.
Introducing fish to their new home
When you have everything you need, choose a flat, solid surface for your tank that’s not in the path of direct sunlight. To fill it up, use a clean, new bucket that hasn’t been used for any chemical products. Next, pour tap water into the tank to the halfway mark, to easily add your gravel, filter, heater, plants or ornaments.
Then, fill it to about five centimetres from the top and add water treatments as directed. Across the week, you can use your water test kit to check if it’s ready for fish. If you’re not sure, pop into a PETstock store for free water testing before buying your fish.
When you get your new pets home, float the unopened bag in your tank for five to 15 minutes. This helps your fish acclimatise to the temperature. Take the bag out and hold it over a bucket, with your net in place ready to catch the fish as you pour the water out. Put the net carefully in the tank and your fish will swim into their new home.
Easy steps for maintaining your fish tank
Here's a guide to the basics of what tasks to carry out when.
Daily: Chances are you’ll love looking at your new pets, therefore caring for your fish tank on a daily basis is easy. Always do a quick check to ensure your filter, light, or heater is working, and check the temperature if required. Scoop out any debris, like uneaten food, with your net. You’re done! Get back to enjoying them.
Weekly: Once a week, set aside a few minutes to clean the algae from your tank. Do this with a sponge, cloth or algae scraper that’s free of chemicals, by wiping the inside of the glass, as well as any ornaments. Test the pH, ammonia and nitrate levels with your test kit.
Fortnightly: It’s important to do a 25% water change, with a deep clean, once a fortnight. Your gravel vacuum makes this job easy. When you top up the tank with fresh tap water, always add water treatments as directed.
Monthly: With your test kit, check the general hardness (GH) of the water, as you may need aquarium salts. At the same time, you can clean your filter and check the product instructions as to whether or not the carbon or cartridge needs changing.
That’s it! A little routine maintenance can help prevent health problems in your fish or water issues with your tank. And if you do have any problems, ask the staff at PETStock for help.