Aquarium Maintenance

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 30,535
    Marine Biologist Jim Karanikas discusses basic maintenance procedures for your aquarium.

    Hi again, this is Jim Karanikas from Tropical Fish World; I would like to go over some basic maintenance procedures for your aquarium. First of all, we want to keep the aquarium clean for the fish and also obviously clean for us, so we can look at a nice clean aquarium. Probably, the biggest eyesore in an aquarium is Algae. An Algae is going to grow on the sides of the aquarium and may grow on some of the ornaments and decorations that you have in the tank. For the algae that grows on the side of the aquarium, you are going to want to use either one of these types of cleaners that wipe the sides off; you can use a magnet scraper. One side goes in the aquarium and one side is outside the aquarium and you basically just go up and down the sides of the aquarium and it magically cleans the inside without getting your hands wet or if you prefer which is sometime little easier to use a handheld sponge, you want to remember not to use a sponge from grocery store because a lot of the sponges that you use for your sink and your dishes have soap in it and sometimes they have a chemical in it that will prevent fungus or mold to grow in your sponge and that is very, very toxic to your fish. Many people use that in the aquarium and end up killing all their fish. So, if you are going to use some type of sponge to clean the side of tank, make sure it is one from the pet store or an aquarium store and depending upon how big your aquarium is, how deep you got to reach, you are going to choose the appropriate one. Next, you are going to want to change, a little bit of your water once a month, I recommend about one third of the water, removed from the aquarium and replaced about every two to three weeks. Now, you can use a gravel cleaning siphon that would go down into the gravel and clean the gravel out, not harming the good bacteria in there, just remove the debris out into a bucket and you should have a fish bucket, you can use the cat litter bucket or any type of bucket that has only been used for your fish tank, you do not want to use the bucket that has ever had any car soap in it or any other household soaps in it.

    So, you are going to label it fish bucket only. You are going to take your siphon, you are going to clean out the gravel, change one third of the water, discard that water or if you want you can even water your house plants, because it has got a lot of nutrients in it that are beneficial to you house plants. Then you are going to want to take some water from the tap, adjust the hot and the cold, make sure that the temperature using your thermometer is the same in the bucket as it is in the aquarium. You are going to want to put your dechlorinating drops in your bucket before it goes in the aquarium. A very common mistake is to take the water from the sink, pour into the aquarium and then put the drops in, this is sort of after the fact in the aquarium that is in that tap water is going to start doing some damage, the minute it goes in the aquarium. So, make sure you put the drops to dechlorinate the water in the bucket first before it goes back into the aquarium. Alright, now let us clean the filter. Now, this is a really dirty old filter here, I am sure it is going to be pretty greased, so we disconnected it from the aquarium, we have brought it over to our sink and we are going to open up the sides here and see what we have got in it. Alright, we are going to disconnect this here, we are going to set this down here and you see, I have water inside the filter still. Now, this is a canister filter, this is a filter that is sitting underneath the cabinet. They are very quiet and very efficient and you only need to clean them about three to six weeks, depends on how crowded is your aquarium is with fish. The first thing I am going to pull out is the pads; these pads are -- pull out the debris of the aquarium to make the tank look clean for us.

    Some good bacteria may grow in these, but we have plenty of bacteria in other parts of this filter. So, these components can either be rinsed off or changed, so we are going to take them to the sink and we are going to rinse them off. Next, we have our good bacteria and we have couple of chambers in here, we are going to pull them out and this is what your ceramic needles look like, once we have good bacteria growing on, we see that has got a little bit of debris in there. Now, if they get too mugged up and it is gone to slow down the flow of the filter, you can take either some dechlorinated water that you dechlorinated or you can take the water right, that is in the filter here and dispense these out, inside of here. Whatever we do, we do not want to take this to the sink and rinse this all out and clean it with here, real hot water or tap water has chlorine in, because that is going to kill all the good bacteria in here. This is really what is keeping your fish alive in your aquarium is the good bacteria that are - one here and they are microscopic, can not see them but trust me they are keeping your fish alive in the tank. So, we want to hold these really preciously. Second part is filter material like this, we either have an extra sponge in here or we have some carbon or we have some synthetic resin in here. These should be just replaced, so we have put new components inside of here. Now, we are going to add new components to our filter, you just get them off the shelf in your local store and these are the filter pads that are going to go back into here and I just clip in. Now, I like to change too and rinse too. Again, trying to conserve as much as that good bacteria that we have in the filter as possible and also have helps cut down on the cost. This component, we are just going to slide down back in here. The next part we are going to change is the carbon, a filter carbon is usually in the bottom components in this particular brand of the filter. We are going to put new carbon bags, we are going to take them out and the plastic, we are going to rinse them in some tap water and then we are going to place them inside of our chambers here. So, then these components are going to go back together and then they are going to go in the filter like this and you see I have maintained the water that is in here, I am not using tap water in here. Then we are going to put the other components in, now this is our good bacteria, we have not done anything to these except from maybe rinse them out a little bit with the water from the canister. We are going to rinse the top off and put it back on and then most filters have an impeller and the impellers sometimes hard to get to. This one is right inside of this, so you are going to be really very careful opening in up and you do not break the ceramic shaft. You see it comes out really easily, we are going to take this to the sink, we are going to rinse it all off, clean this all off and then we will put it get back together, this back inside here and then we will clip these all in.

    Then, we are going to put this filters back in, the sponges and then we will put this back on top here. Now, we will clip it on and you could see how easily it went on, there is a O-ring that is inside of this top here that if you are not really careful, making sure that it stays lubricated, it will get dry, even though it looks wet with water, it actually is dry and when it is not lubricated, it becomes more difficult to clip on. So, this however becomes really difficult to clip on, it should be that easy, if it becomes difficult to clipping on, you want to make that you lubricate that, that also prevents it from dripping and leaking and also prevent you from breaking the handles, trying to get this back together. Okay, let us go put it back on the aquarium and next we want to talk about water temperature and pH parameters.