20 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Aquarium

Maintaining a healthy aquarium is the key for the optimum growth of your fish.

In this article, I’m going to share with you some tips to maintain a healthy aquarium.

To maintain a healthy aquarium you need to do the regular maintenance of your aquarium.

You need to regularly check the different water parameters and make sure that it is in the ideal range that your fish require.

Tips to Maintain a Healthy Aquarium

Tips to Maintain a Healthy Aquarium

1. Partial Water Change

You need to do about 25 to 30% water change at least once a month.

There are several benefits of doing a partial water change.

Benefits of doing a partial water change

  1. The partial water change helps to reduce the ammonia in the water
  2. It helps to oxygenate the water
  3. It helps to remove decomposed organic waste material
  4. Partial water change help for the replacement of the trace element and other essential minerals in the water.
  5. It also helps to improve the clarity of the water.

If you are using normal tap water then you should make sure to dechlorinate it before introducing it into your aquarium.

Check out our recommended Dechlorinating Agent

2. Use a Powerful Filter

The aquarium filter not only filters the water but it also provides a place for the growth of the beneficial bacteria.

An aquarium filter does all the three i.e. chemical, mechanical and biological filtration which is essential for a healthy aquarium environment.

So you should install a powerful filter in your aquarium.

If you have a small tank up to 20 gallon then HOB filter can do the work but if you have a larger tank then you should go for a powerful canister filter.

Also, be sure to clean the filter regularly using best practices.

3. Preserve the Beneficial Bacteria

Beneficial bacteria is the key to a healthy aquarium.

Beneficial bacteria, as the name suggests, are good bacteria that help to remove ammonia from the aquarium.

Ammonia is very harmful to your fish and it can even cause death.

Beneficial bacteria grow in places like aquarium filters and in the gravel of your aquarium.

If you have live plants then it provides a larger surface area for the growth of the beneficial bacteria.

So, to preserve the beneficial bacteria in your aquarium you should clean the gravel and filter using your aquarium water only.

This will help to retain the beneficial bacteria in your aquarium.

Also, planting some live plants like Java moss is a very good idea to increase and preserve the beneficial bacteria in your aquarium.

The plants like Java Moss provides additional surface area for the growth of the beneficial bacteria.

4. Keep Live Plants

Live plants are not a must-have a thing for your aquarium. But it provides lots of benefits so you should consider keeping live plants in your aquarium.

Benefits of live plants

  • Live plants help to emulate the natural habitat of your fish in your fish tank.
  • Live plants help oxygenate the tank.
  • They also provide a larger surface area for the growth of beneficial bacteria.
  • They also help to reduce algae from your aquarium.
  • Live plants also provide added filtration
  • Live plants promote breeding.
  • Some fish like Goldfish like to nibble on the plants sometimes. It is a very good source of nutrition for them. So, if you have omnivorous or herbivorous fish then keeping live plants is a great idea.
  • Live plants also provide hiding places for small fish and fry.
  • Live plants are also good for substrate health. They help to break the anaerobic pockets in your aquarium. Anaerobic pockets are the pockets where harmful hydrogen sulfide gas gets stored over time. This gas is harmful to your fish.
  • If you are into aquascaping then the live plants help to keep your substrate built in place.
  • Plants also help to reduce the ammonia in your aquarium. The uneaten food and the waste produced by the fish produce ammonia in the aquarium. And this waste and uneaten food are actually beneficial for the plants. The plants use them as a fertilizer. So, it is a kind of Win-Win situation for both plants and fish. The plants get fertilizer and in return, it reduces the ammonia in the aquarium for the fish.
  • Live plants also offer you a chance to personalize your aquarium according to your taste and give it a unique look.

I have written a detailed article with more benefits and pros and cons of keeping live plants in an aquarium here.

Overall live plants really help to maintain a healthy aquarium.

If your aquarium doesn’t have any live plants and you are planning to keep some live plants in your aquarium.

Then, in the beginning, when the plants are small you should not keep the lights of your aquarium on for a longer period of time.

You should keep the lights on for approximately 4 hours and then as the plant grows you can increase it gradually.

This is because when the plants are small it doesn’t require a lot of light.

So, if you give it more light then the algae will take advantage of it and will grow very quickly.

I have written about how to take care of live plants in an aquarium in detail in this article.

5. Check Various Water Parameters Regularly

When it comes to maintaining a healthy aquarium checking the various water parameters like the ammonia level, the temperature of the water, the pH level of the water is very important.

Keeping all these parameters in the ideal range that your fish requires is necessary for the proper growth of the fish.

The easiest way to check these water parameters is by using a water test kit. Check out our recommended test kit.

6. Right Location for the Aquarium

Many beginners put their aquarium in the wrong place.

This can cause many problems and troubles down the road.

For example, if you have a cold-water fish like Goldfish and if you keep your aquarium near any heat source then this will raise the temperature inside your aquarium.

Also, if you keep your aquarium in the window and if the aquarium gets directly exposed to the sunlight then it can raise the temperature in your aquarium, which can be harmful to your fish.

So choosing the right location is very important for maintaining a constant temperature in the aquarium.

Where to put the aquarium?

You should put your aquarium where there are no heating or cooling sources.

Also, you should not keep your aquarium near any sound source like speakers

You should avoid keeping your aquarium near the door or window because this can change the temperature in your aquarium several times throughout the day which is not good for the fish.

You should put your aquarium near the electric supply source so that you can easily power your filter and aquarium light.

Also, as you have to do partial water change regularly, it is a nice thing to put your aquarium near a water source.

7. Regularly Observe the Behaviour of your Fish

The behavior of your fish can tell you various things about the health of your fish and aquarium.

For example, if you noticed that your fish is coming on the surface gasping for air more frequently then it is a sign that your aquarium has low oxygen.

Similarly, your fish’s behavior can also tell if your fish is suffering from any disease or disorder.

So, you should regularly check the behavior of your fish and if you noticed anything wrong, you should find out the reason and take required action.

8. Feeding

Like us, fish need food for their proper growth.

You should do some research and find out what your fish require for their proper growth.

Your fish will always tempt you to feed them.

But overfeeding a fish can cause problems.

It can even cause the death of your fish.

So, you should be very careful while feeding your fish.

You should feed the amount of food your fish can consume within 2 minutes.

Or you should feed the amount of food equals to the size of the eye of your fish.

Also, you should not feed your fish more than two to three times a day.

9. Clean the Substrate Regularly

When it comes to cleaning the aquarium, the substrate is often overlooked.

But the substrate is the place where a lot of waste gets trapped.

If you have a planted aquarium then there will be a lot of decayed roots of the plants.

There is also a lot of uneaten food trapped inside the substrate.

All these waste material produces ammonia which is very harmful to your fish.

So you should clean the substrate regularly at least once a month.

You may need to clean your substrate more often if a lot of waste gets trapped into the substrate.

You can easily clean your substrate using a siphon. Check out our recommended siphon.

If you noticed any algae growth on your substrate then you should take it out of your aquarium and clean it using a brush.

You should clean your gravel using aquarium water because this will help to preserve the beneficial bacteria.

10. Maintain Healthy Water

Maintaining healthy water is very important for the proper growth of your fish.

You should do some research about your fresh and find out what is the ideal range of various water parameters that your fish require to grow and thrive.

You should look for the ideal water temperature and the ideal water pH range that your fish require.

Your aquarium should also contain an optimum amount of oxygen.

Also, you should make sure that your aquarium does not have any ammonia.

You can easily check water parameters like water temperature, water PH and ammonia using a test kit.

So you should regularly check these parameters and if you noticed anything wrong then you should take required action to fix the problem.

11. Maintain Ideal Temperature

You should do some research about your fish and find out what is the ideal temperature your fish require to thrive.

Maintaining the ideal temperature in your aquarium is very important for the proper growth of your fish.

If you don’t maintain the ideal temperature it can cause serious problems in your fish.

For example, if you have a cold-water fish like Goldfish and if the temperature pf the water increases above 72 degrees for a long period then it can cause nerve damage in Goldfish.

If you noticed any high temperature in your aquarium then I have written about several ways to reduce the temperature in your aquarium in this article.

12. Maintain Ideal pH.

You should do some research about your fish and find out the ideal pH range of water your fish require to thrive.

Maintaining the ideal pH of the water is important for the optimum growth of your fish.

The pH level usually rises if you use any decorations which are rich in calcium like Coral or tufa rocks etc.

Also, if you are using crushed Coral as a substrate then it can also raise the pH of your aquarium water.

So, in this case, using a different kind of substrate can solve the issue.

You can also do a partial water change to lower the pH of the water.

13. Get Rid of Ammonia

Ammonia is very harmful to your fish. Even 2 PPM of ammonia can cause the death of your fish.

So, you should regularly check your aquarium water for ammonia levels.

If you notice low ammonia in your aquarium then you should immediately do a partial water change to reduce the ammonia.

Besides, there are several other ways to lower and get rid of ammonia in your aquarium

Ways to lower and get rid of ammonia in the aquarium

  • First of all, you should cycle your tank before adding fish into it. When your tank goes through the nitrogen cycle, it helps to grow beneficial bacteria in the aquarium that basically helps to lower the ammonia in your aquarium.
  • Using an aquarium filter if you are not using it, will help to get rid of ammonia. If you already have a filter then you should think about adding another filter. The filter will provide an additional place for the growth of the beneficial bacteria which will reduce the ammonia in your aquarium.
  • Increasing aeration in your aquarium may also help to reduce ammonia in your tank. The easiest and reliable way two aerate a tank is by using an air pump with an air stone.
  • As mentioned above live plants also helps to reduce the ammonia in the aquarium.

I have written a detailed article with more ways to reduce the ammonia in your aquarium here.

14. Maintain a Healthy Oxygen Level

Oxygen is very important for the optimum growth of your fish.

There are various signs that can tell you if your aquarium has a low oxygen level.

Signs of low oxygen in the aquarium.

  • If you noticed your fish coming on the surface of your aquarium gasping for air then it is the sign that your aquarium has lo ammonia.
  • Also, if you noticed your fish is moving around less then it suggests low oxygen level in the aquarium.
  • If you noticed the rapid gill moment in your fish then it is a sign that your aquarium has low oxygen.

So, if you noticed any of the above signs then chances are your aquarium has low oxygen.

There are several ways to increase oxygen in your aquarium.

Ways to increase oxygen in the aquarium

  • In an emergency, simply pouring down some aquarium water from some height into the aquarium using a jar is a very good way to instantly oxygenate the tank.
  • Doing a partial water change also helps to oxygen at the tank.
  • If the oxygen in your aquarium is low because of the high temperature of the water then putting some ice cubes into the aquarium will help to increase oxygen.
  • You can use a HOB filter or a spray bar to increase oxygen in your aquarium.
  • Using an air pump is the easiest and reliable way to increase oxygen in your aquarium. Check out our recommended Air Pump

I have written a detailed article with more ways to increase oxygen in the aquarium here.

15. Dechlorinate the Water

As mentioned above, doing a partial water change is very beneficial for your aquarium.

But if you are doing using normal tap water for the partial water change. Then you should first dechlorinate it, before introducing it into your aquarium.

Because chlorinated water is harmful to your fish.

Ways to Dechlorinate the Water

  • The simplest way to dechlorinated water is by simply letting it sit in a bucket overnight.
  • The instant way to the dechlorinated water is by using a dechlorinating agent. 

16. Don’t Overcrowd Your Tank

Overcrowding can cause serious problems for your fish.

When you overcrowd fish tank, your fish growth gets stunted i.e. it will not grow.

Overstocking also raises the ammonia level in your aquarium which is very harmful to your fish.

Overstocking also causes a shortage of oxygen in the aquarium.

So, you should not overstock your fish tank.

17. Research About Fish Before Purchasing a New Fish

Whenever you want to add a new fish in your aquarium, you should research it and find if it is comfortable with the existing environment of your aquarium.

For example, you should research what is the ideal water temperature the fish require and what is the ideal pH the fish require.

Also, you should make sure that it is comfortable with the other tank mates in your aquarium.

18. Maintain Optimum Lighting

Lighting is often overlooked when it comes to maintaining a healthy environment for the aquarium.

If you have a planted aquarium then the light is very important for the proper growth of the plants in your aquarium.

So, you should research how much light your plants require and keep the lights on accordingly.

Besides, if you keep the lights of your aquarium on for more time then it can cause algae growth.

Also, if you keep the lights of your aquarium for less time then your plants will not grow properly.

Overall, maintaining optimum lighting is very important for maintaining healthy live plants in your aquarium.

Checkout our lighting recommendation

19. Regularly Check the Equipments

You should regularly check the equipments of your aquarium.

Faulty equipments can cause problems.

For example, if you noticed the water from your filter is not coming out freely then most likely it is clogged, so in this case, you should clean your filter for optimum filtration.

If you have a heater installed in your aquarium then you should check if it is calibrated with the temperature you want in your aquarium.

20. Acclimate the Fish Before Introducing it into your Aquarium

This is the mistake most beginners make. 

You are very excited when you get a new fish for your aquarium.

But it is very important to acclimate it before introducing it into your tank.

Acclimating the fish is very important because the temperature of the water your fish is packaged in is different from the temperature of your tank.

So, if you introduce the fish directly into your tank then it can shock the fish, due to the difference in the temperatures.

So you should simply hold the closed bag in which the fish is, on the surface of your fish tank and let it float for some time, about 10 to 15 minutes.

And then you should put the fish into the tank by your hand.

You should not introduce the water in the bag into your tank because it may contain any parasite or most likely it has high ammonia if you bought the fish online. 

Because it takes some days for the package to deliver to your home and in the meantime, the water gets concentrated with ammonia due to fish waste.

Conclusion

So, as you can see, there are a lot of things goes into maintaining a healthy aquarium.

It may seem overwhelming but actually it is not that difficult once you get some experience and hold of how the ecosystem works in the aquarium.

Overall, regular maintenance is the key to maintaining a healthy aquarium.

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