Aquarium Maintenance Routines?

wasmewasntit

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Much is said about keeping a strict maintenance routine for your aquarium.

Not only does it benefit your fish by way of refreshing their water but you can also use your maintenance routine to pick up on your water chemistry, your fish health & vitality...and they get used to their human caretaker too - which is equally important when you have nervous or skittish fish, they get used to you and they don't get stress spikes that can sometimes spike other things causing health issues.

It would be interesting to find out what each of us does to maintain their aquariums to help those who are starting out on their fishkeeping journey and who might be unsure or worried that they are doing too much or too little to care for their fish.

So what is your aquarium maintenance routine?

How often and by how much do you change the water?
Do you test the water chemistry on a regular basis?
What about the filter(s)...how often and how do you service them?
 

itiwhetu

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I do 25% water changes weekly and rinse the filter pads in the old aquarium water. I never vacuum or touch the substrate in the tank. I only test my water if I think I have a problem. I trim my plants weekly.
It really doesn't matter what you do as long as you are consistent and do the same thing all the time.
 

I Like Rare Fish

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I do weekly wc on all 5 tanks. I normally have them split between Sunday and Saturday. I do mostly 50-60% water changes, as I learned that normal tap water is cleansed every year. They add 3x the normal chlorine to water, and when I was previously doing fin-level water changes and 80% changes, my expensive group of sensitive fish died.

For the past 2 years I’ve been using buckets and a grave vacuum. I always clean the gravel because the snails are a big pain, and poop all over the floor. I have snails in every tank. The only tank I don’t vacuum is my patio pond, which has gravel infested with Anacharis roots. I would say I do a ‘cleansed every month or so - scraping diatoms, and cleaning one part of my filter media. I don’t trim plants. I let them grow wild, as I do with algae in my outside tanks because algae and plants are the filter.
 

Colin_T

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I used to do weekly water changes on all tanks, and the volume was between 50-90%, (usually around 75%). I had water holding tanks and containers that had tap water and dechlorinator in. Some had mineral salts added too and were used for fish that like hard water. All water holding containers were aerated for a week before the water was used in the tanks.

The bigger tanks had undergravel filters that were gravel cleaned when I did the water changes. Smaller tanks have air operated sponge filters that were cleaned once a month in a bucket of tank water.

I wiped the front glass down when it got too hard to see the fish, and coverglass were rinsed off when I did water changes or when they got dusty.

I tested water regularly when starting out but gave it up after a while because the water was always the same. I had limestone rocks and shells in most tanks to help stop pH fluctuations, and just looked at the fish each day. If any were off colour, I might test the water then but didn't really bother in the end.

I did take test kits with me when I went collecting and always tested the water at collecting sites.
 

jaylach

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Way back when when I had previous tanks I did tests on a regular and only did water changes when the tests showed something out of line. These old tanks were all under gravel filtration.

I just never saw a reason to do water changes unless something was off. I mean you remove a bunch of water and add stuff to the new water to try to make just like the water you removed. :dunno:
 

AmyKieran

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Okay here we go

Water dip tests several times throughout week

Liquid test every week before water change

Water change (25-30%) every week + gravel siphon and glass clean if needed

Filter floss changed every 14 days

Clean both filters every 2 months

Phosphate pad changed every 6 month

Still yet to find out how much I need to maintain plants :p
 

TwoTankAmin

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The only times I test my water are when I am cycling which is usually done in a bio-farm or when I know something is off in a tank.

I basically only use my ammonia and kH kits. I also have a couple of hand held TDS meters and one continuous digital monitor for one tank to measure conductivity/tds, temp and pH.

I currently have 19 tanks and will be adding 8 more for the summer shortly. The bio-farm is a 40B for cyling all the filters for tje 8 tanks holding about 220 gals if fillered to the brim. I started the farm about 9 or 10 days ago and it has all the filters almost ready to go into the tanks. Then in go the fish.

Since i got my very first tank I have been doing weekly maint on them all. This means rinsing media, replacing 50-60% of the water and adding anything a tank required. This can be ferts for life plants or something to control the water chemistry in the altum tank.

I do not own a nitrate kit and have not in years. I do have kit for ammonia, nitrite, KH, GH and two for pH. But I prefer using my TDS pens to the KH or GH one. The KH one is used mostly for the biofarm because what contributes to KH in our tanks is also used by the nitrifying bacteria.

I am not suggesting anobody else should do what I do, it took me over to decade in the hobby to get even close to how I do things now.
 

jams

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Even after 5 years keeping "Wet Pets" still consider myself a "Newbie" compared to most.
After the first year of testing weekly decided it was not needed since I noticed no changes, well except nitrates would increase. Now test only when starting a "New" build.
I always do 50% water change weekly, along with some substrate vacuuming.
Fry and grow out tanks get 50% 2-3 times per week.
Canister filters are cleaned around every 3-4 months depends on the output.
Sponge filters every 2-3 months.

Different strokes, different folks..

Just a reminder, every tank is as unique as a fingerprint, what work for some may not work for all.
 

Wills

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Great thread :)

I do 50% water changes every 5-10 days (depending on work/family) and add Tropica Ferts. I'm currently using Prime but want to switch to API water conditioner when this bottle has run out (though I should really just fix my RO machine)... I currently use 40 litre builders buckets on wheels but really want to change to hoses/python.

Trim plants about every other week and give the glass a scrape (sometimes do this weekly but not had to recently).

Clean out the pre filter sponges on my external every 1-2 weeks - its so easy to do on mine so no big deal.

Once a month I trim my plants quite far and replant any stems that I can and also remove any old leaves on my crypts.

Wills
 
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wasmewasntit

wasmewasntit

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My routine for maintenance...

Water changes every Wednesday & Sunday morning (jug & bucket to remove water, bottled to replace water)
Substrate & "window" cleaning every Sunday morning

Testing....erm...I don't. The test kit gathers dust in the fishbits cupboard unless one of my hooligans indicates an issue....or my nose does (your nose is a great method of finding fault with the water...one sniff or waft can speak volumes)

Feeding wise, the hooligans get fasted Wednesday & Sunday.

Filters.....the AquaEl Turbo 2000 has a full service and tune up every 8th Sunday, floss changed every Sunday and the AquaEl UV/Unifilter 750 has a full service and tune up every 8th Wednesday, sponges get a good squishing in old aquarium water alternate Wednesdays. Venturi's on both have their air hoses replaced every couple of months cos they get a tad manky.
 

AbbeysDad

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I do a weekly water change of 50%, sometimes slightly more.
Wednesday is the 20g, 29g, 38g, 40g (basement tanks refilled from the 45g Brute trash can (aerated & heated water)
Friday is the 60g (Living room refilled from the tap)
Saturday is the 110g (basement tank refilled from the 45g Brute trash can (aerated & heated water)
Filters are filled with sponge material and there are a few air driven sponge filters. I let filters go until there is a noticeable reduction in output flow. The large sponge filters are about once a month.
I rarely test anymore unless I see a problem.
I have well water so don't have to deal with chlorine or chloramine. I used to have high nitrates in my well water, but it's much better now since the 95 acre field across the road is fertilized with manure instead of chemicals.
 
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Gavin MaGrath

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Much is said about keeping a strict maintenance routine for your aquarium.

Not only does it benefit your fish by way of refreshing their water but you can also use your maintenance routine to pick up on your water chemistry, your fish health & vitality...and they get used to their human caretaker too - which is equally important when you have nervous or skittish fish, they get used to you and they don't get stress spikes that can sometimes spike other things causing health issues.

It would be interesting to find out what each of us does to maintain their aquariums to help those who are starting out on their fishkeeping journey and who might be unsure or worried that they are doing too much or too little to care for their fish.

So what is your aquarium maintenance routine?

How often and by how much do you change the water?
Do you test the water chemistry on a regular basis?
What about the filter(s)...how often and how do you service them?
50% water changes weekly is ideal. If I don't get to it exactly weekly it's not a big deal. The weekly routine ensures ideal conditions for the fish.
I don't test water. Like everyone says, it's going to be good with a weekly 50% change. I've a lot of experimentation to test extreme conditions. Then, of course I test. My results include 6 weeks of no water changes and no filtration in 10 gallon tanks with various species, up to 20 fish in a tank. No fish died. Ammonia was .5 ppm. Nitrates around 80. Fish did give birth.
Also...temperature experiments with guppies. I keep some outside in Florida. 20 gallon tank. Plus minus 30 fish. No filter. Temperature ranged from high of 88 -90 in Summer to lows in high 50's in Winter. Besides lethargy in cold water no negative effects. Water was full of algea and floating plants, so that helped. My hypothesis was, that in their natural environment, they likely have these temperature swings and survive. It appears to be accurate. I stopped at a low of mid 50's. Below that would surely have caused issues.
My point here, especially for newcomers, is that it's hard to kill fish. Sometimes having too sterile ofca tank can be a problem as the fish cannot cope woth chemistry change.
Filter material. I never change it until it's falling apart. Then I integrate it with the new one. I want all the beneficial bacteria and other pathogens in the filter material. If it's hard for water to pass through, I rinse in tank water. I've gone as long as 6 months without touching filter material and the tanks thrive. My source for most of my info are my mentor from around 1987 Dr.Jim Langhammer, renound ichthyoligist, founder of American Livebearers and Chichlid Associations. Known for his extensive scientific work especially woth Goodeids and for keeping species in the hobby, we otherwise may have lost; one being the half beak.
Finally, feeding. I try not to overfeed except for growing fry. If you're not doing weekly water changes, don't overfeed.. fish need less than you think. My rule of thumb is less food, more frequently. I always make sure I feed plecos afyer turning the lights off. Many of them turn up dead of starvation if they miss daytime feedings and nothing is left.
I pay no attention to water hardness or PH as long as it's in a decent range. Dr Jim said that fish adapt to local conditions and its a fallacy that they need to be kept in "natural" conditions. Of course, like anything, there are some exceptions, a very few species and conditions for breeding for those species.

My go to source and imo the best source of info online in the hobby right now is
www.aquariumscience.org
 

OliveFish05

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This is a really fun thread! My maintenance varies by tank, because each has such different needs

(2) 75 gallon goldfish tanks - weekly 80% water change and gravel vacuum. Wipe the glass. Probably going to aim to rinse the filter every 2 months

36 gallon rescued axolotl’s tank - 50% weekly water change. Bare bottom tank so I do get the junk off the bottom. I don’t usually wipe the glass

40 gallon planted axie tank - 50% water change every two weeks. Vacuum the surface of the sand. Wipe the glass each time.

20 gallon planted tropical community - weekly top off of about 3 gallons of evaporation. I sometimes change another 3 gallons and try to get some of the junk off the bottom. Same thing for the 5 gallon, but on a smaller scale every two or three weeks.

I use prime in all my tanks
 

Slaphppy7

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Weekly WCs on all 4 of the tanks I currently have running, 50-60% in the wintertime, 40-50% in the summertime, since my "cold" tap temp can get close to 90F.

HOB filters get cleaned monthly, the canister every 3 or 4 months.

Prime as water conditioner; my API test kits usually expire before I use them up...no need to test water in stable, established tanks unless something appears VERY wrong.
 

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