How to Do Complete Routine Aquarium Maintenance





Introduction: How to Do Complete Routine Aquarium Maintenance

In this Instructable you will learn how to do routine aquarium maintenance.  This is what you should do weekly to your aquarium!  It will keep your fish happy and healthy by keeping your nitrates low  and your water clairity high!  As you can see from the pictures ive been having some pretty bad algae issues >.<

Step 1: This Is What You Will Need

You will need:
A bucket!
A net! (for various cleaning needs)
Water changer tube siphon thingy! (the thing wrapped around the bottle of chemicals! ^-^)
Pitcher (not pictured)
Water conditioner and other needed chemicals!
Thermometer (not pictured)

Step 2: Siphon Out That Old Water!

This is the fun part!  For this step i would get the bucket and the siphon tube...and some towels if you don't have good aim!  (if your a guy you can easily test this out...hee...hee)  Its sorta hard to get the siphon started.  What i do is get the end of the tube (small end!)  and put it right above the bucket. (that you have right in front of the tank) Then put the big end so that the whole "big end plastic part" is submerged.  Then (wait for it) suck on the small end until it starts the siphon.  WATCH THE TUBE SO THAT YOU CAN TAKE THE TUBE OUT OF YOUR MOUTH AND PUT IT INTO THE BUCKET BEFORE YOU GET A MOUTH FULL OF FISH WATER!!!!  This method is the easiest, quickest, and probably most reliable out of the "Shake method" or the "Blow Method" 

Once you have a constant flow of water going from the tank into the bucket you're going to want to shove the Big end into the gravel, or to use the proper lingo, the "substrate."   then pull it out and let all the gravel fall out of the tube.  Then move to a different section.  Keep moving around until you have either sucked on all of the gravel or sucked out 30% of the water.  In the picture i have sucked out around that 30%.  DO NOT GO OVER THIS AMOUNT!  if you do you will risk stressing out your fish.  if you're doing it right you will see dirty nasty water going up the tube and into the bucket! (duhh)

Step 3: Get Some Fresh Water!

Go dump out that nasty, dirty, water!  I dump mine right in the yard.  At the worst it could do is fertilize the grass....Anyways...

Go get the bucket and rinse it out in the sink! 

Grab your chemicals and measure out the correct amount for your size tank.  ALWAYS USE A WATER CONDITIONER!!  i don't care if you have tap or city water! Use it! Pour your chemicals in your now clean bucket.

Then, Grab that thermometer and adjust the water temp coming out of the tap to plus or minus 2 degrees of the temp of the water in your tank.  You dont wanna put your poor fishies through temp shock! :O  (the ideal temp of a tropical fish tank is degrees fairenheit)  Then you just fill up the bucket!

Step 4: Top Off Your Tank!

Take that pitcher and scoop some water out of the bucket!  Some hints:

Don't pour the water in to your tank too fast.  Nobody wants those pretty little decorations floating around!

Don't pour right out of the bucket.  go ahead and try to do it.  you'll see why you don't want to soon enough!

Step 5: And Thats It!

Thats it!  You've just completed weekly aquarium maintenance!  Good job!  :DD  As seen in the pic, you might have some cloudiness at first but it should clear up!  Thanks fro reading through this!  comment and rate! ;)



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    Are those cardinal tetras I love them I own 2 right now.

    Is it a hazard to the fish to be putting a vacume next to them wont they get sucked up by the hose

    The aquarium wastewater is а good natural fertilizer. Use it to water the plants or the garden.

    I have a question to a fish expert:
    what if you pour that water back through the filter? or a filter? some mechanical filter to get the poop out. Will the fish not be as stressed because the water's the same?

    I currently have a 2.5 gal tank with a mini filter and when i use the gravel vac I only have about 1 minute before I've pulled a ton of water out. Not enough time! So what I do is just pour it over the filter, in hopes that the bacteria and "already fishy water" goes back in and i just get the crap out.

    I'm working on a design that will be a mechanical gravel vac to do just this thing for small aquariums like mine. So far I haven't found a good DIY for what I'm looking for. Can anyone tell me if my method is relatively safe and unstressful for the fish? (1 betta and 1 oto)

    1 reply

    Running the water through a mechanical filter will indeed remove the fish feces, but it won't do a thing about removing urea. You need to physically remove the dirty water and replace it with clean water. As a professor I once studied under so bluntly put it "cleaning an aquarium is like flushing a toilet." ;)

    And to the author of this 'ible, very well written! You got it just right. I'd recommend this to anyone learning how to care for their aquarium ;D

    Very well written.  It basically describes my weekly routine.  I like the look of your tank, very natural. 

    2 replies

    hey that blue green carpet you got going on is acctually a bacteria( not an alge) or at least it looks simmilar to the stuff. I had a 10 gal that got a crazy infestation of it. made the whole thing look all dr seussy. They say, (the internet says), you can kill it with 24hr of total darkness.

    I also have the cloudiness when I change water or gravel vac. I assume that's just bacteria that's been stirred up and loving the new stirred up nutrients? it settles in a couple hours.
    I'm new to this whole thing, I'm sure you can tell, but I love it! Next step, 10 gal aquarium, tons of live plants

    1 reply

    Yeah, same thing happens to me. It is bacteria. Not to mention fish poo, old fish food, plant-matter (If any), basicly gross stuff.

    What have you got in there - I see Tetras, anything else?


    9 replies

    I've got 6 neons and 7 or 8 white cloud mountain minnows.  I had two blue rams in great condition.  sadly they both died about a month ago after a long life.  But that's how it goes! hahah

    Yes they have a tendency to die. Saltwater systems are much worse...


    Id imagine so...i was thinking about taking on the challenge of saltwater but eventually decided against it.  Seems to expensive, tedious, and to be honest, a little too much work!  haha.  Theyr'e beautiful though!

    Yes they are pretty ("look it's Nemo!") - but you are bang-on with expensive, tedious, and too much work.


    I've known people have saltwater kit and (what I said). How does the simple method work (interested)?


    Experimenting (i.e. "Hmm, what a pretty fish! I think I'll get it.") costs more in marine aquariums because your choices are vast, which increases your chances of problems/incompatibilites.  Like fresh tanks, incompatibility often equals death, which makes everything harder.

    Mostly what I meant by keeping it simple is keeping hardy species of fish and creatures that are compatible.  Complexity and incompatibility increase with each new species added.  Keeping a clownfish and an anemone is not hard to do, if they are healthy specimens, and you leave it at that.  But people tend to want to add more creatures after that.  Problems develop with the increased complexity of the marine env't, and it becomes "harder" to succeed.

    You have to know what you're buying and how to care for it.  Fish store sales people look for reasons to say "yes" (it's not their fault, it's just their job), so it's easy come home with things to which you yourself would've (should've?) said "no," had you been better informed.

    At least that's my experience; your mileage may vary.  :-)

    pH nutrient / pollutants? People tell me that it's harder in saltwater but I've not tried. But that's the tank rather what's in it, I'd love to have a cuttlefish...


    Ok, originally I said marine aquariums "aren't much harder," but that comes with the conditions I explained earlier.

    I have test strips that work for both fresh and marine, and have had no need to adjust pH.  Nutrients vs. pollutants is the same issue in both places, too. Gravel vacuuming makes a big difference, which I do during the weekly water change.  Marine critters are more sensitive than fresh creatures to lapses in required water change.

    Advice: read, read, read, read, read, read, read.

    No disrespect intended, but I think people forget keeping fish takes a lot more than just admiring a beautiful tank.  In fact, to be successful, I think it's more work than having a dog or a cat.  (Once, I worked at a bookstore, and found there's a lot more to it than just reading books all day. In fact, there's no time for reading books.  They wanted me to work all the time!)

    Cuttlefish are cool; but, from what I've read, they're very challenging.  They're not for beginners, unless killing them is the plan.  One article I read said you need at least a 200 gallon tank for one, too.  With water being their "air," more water is always best for your fish.  But, imagine changing 20 gallons or more (10% minimum, remember) per week.

    Try starting a 10 or 20 gallon tank with some hardy creatures, and see if it grows on you.  Some people don't enjoy the work involved, or the inevitable ups and downs of aquariums.  If it turns into a lifelong obsession or hobby, you'll know when it's time to try a cuttelfish or baby octopus.  :)