Monthly Maintenance Of Your Aquarium

Monthly maintenance is all about housekeeping. Tasks performed during this type of maintenance keep your supplies fresh and your equipment in good working condition.

Use The Moon As A Reminder

Standing outside looking at the full moon can be a helpful fishkeeping tool. Some of the routine tasks that you perform for monthly maintenance can get lost in your daily activities. Using the phase of the moon to remind you of these tasks will keep you on schedule.

These monthly tasks are steps that you need to take to maintain your water quality, equipment function, and freshness of your supplies. Below are monthly additions to your normal maintenance that keep your aqurarium clean and healthy for your little friends.

  • Inspect Expiration Dates On Supplies Most aquarium additives and supplies have an expiration date on them. Usually you will use these supplies before that date. If not, then they should be thrown away. Expired supplies and additives may have broken down into component chemicals which can be harmful to your fish.
  • Trim Your Aquatic Plants Many aquatic plants can grow quickly. It is important to trim them back so that your aquarium does not become an overgrown jungle. Monthly trimming prevents this and also improves the health of your aquarium plants. This is also a good time to add whatever fertilizer your plants require.
  • Remove Airstones and Bubble Curtains For Cleaning Over time your airstones and bubble curtains begin to get algae and minerals on them. Remove them from your aquarium and brush them off with a clean toothbrush. You may have to replace these air accessories if you have had them for a long time because monthly cleaning may not be enough.
  • Change Your Filter Media Most chemical and mechanical filtration media needs to be changed on a monthly basis. This is when you add new filter cartridges and change the carbon in your cannister filters. Old media can actually make your aquarium's chemical levels worse than if you had no media at all. This happens when the media fills up because the media's ability to sponge chemicals out of the water changes into a source for those chemicals to be added to your water. Mechanical media will have captured all kinds of debris, which will rot and put ammonia into your aquarium system. It is extremely important that these media types are replaced with new media each month. Biological media may need a rinse. Do this by using existing aquarium water and lightly swishing the biological media around in it. Don't use tap water because that will kill all your bacteria.
  • Do A Detailed Water Change And Gravel Vacuum This means that you should gravel vacuum under your decorations and stir your substrate around. This kind of clean out releases any trapped gas in the substrate and cleans areas under your decorations that collect rotting biological material. I like to do a 50% water change during this process. It tends to reset your water quality and help you hold a consistent level until your next monthly maintenance.

Monthly maintenance keeps your aquarium healthy and your filtration working properly. It doesn't take much more time than a normal weekly maintenance, only a few extra minutes. Use the full moon to remind you that it is time for this type of maintenance and you will never forget to do it or wonder when you did it last.

For more information on Monthly Maintenance, go to Wikipedia's Fishkeeping page.

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