Saltwater Aquarium Maintenance, is it really needed ?
Although an aquarium constitutes a self-contained environment, it nevertheless evolves: fish get bigger and reproduce, while plants grow.
Similarly, the water undergoes changes that may not always be visible – the nitrate concentration increases but the mineral salts deplete- which is why it is important to maintenance it. As for the bed, this is enriched by numerous organic substances (animal excreta, surplus food) that will normally be converted into mineral elements.
The equilibrium of an aquarium is fragile and can rapidly be disrupted if a few simple rules are contravened. The first of these rules requires a daily inspection of the tank and its occupants, at feeding time, for example. In this way you can detect any sickness, worrying fish behavior, or an abnormal water color.
The second rule is to maintain the aquarium. When undertaken on a regular basis, the upkeep of an aquarium is not time consuming, and only demands 1 or 2 hours a week. Some operations need to be performed every day, others less often.
Certain parameters of the water, such as the pH, must be monitored once or twice a week.
Bad water can cause problems unnoticeable to even the most discerning eye, so it is important to monitor its quality regularly. Four main parameters have to be monitored: the temperature, the pH, the nitrites, and also the density.
Checking the Equipment
You must also keep a close watch on the aquarium equipment for lighting, heating, aeration, and filtration. As regards the lighting, make sure that the electrical contacts do not get rusty. In the aeration system, the small lozenge which filters the air needs to be changed twice a year.
The diffusers eventually get blocked by algae or calcium. It is best to change them, but they can also be unblocked. Clean the filtration system regularly. Any malfunction in the heating will quickly be reflected in a decrease or increase in the temperature: in this case, it is necessary to change the equipment.
Cleaning the Panes
The more regular the maintenance of an aquarium, the less time-consuming it becomes.
The glass panes of the aquarium can accumulate green or brown algae, calcium, or biological deposits (bacteria and non-pathogenic micro-organ isms).
These deposits vary from one aquarium to the next and do not in themselves represent any danger to fish – the damage sustained by an aquarium through a dirty front pane lies more on the aesthetic plane. So the panes must be scraped with a razor blade or one of the small devices found in specialist stores.
Domestic scouring pads can also be effective, but in the long term they scratch the glass of the aquarium. Do not forget to clean the glass lid, which gradually gets covered with algae and calcium or salt on the inside and dust on the outside, restricting the passage of the light needed by plants.
Here are the other 10 rules to keeping a healthy aquarium
- Provide regular, varied, feeding for fish. Feed two to three times per day, the amount consumed in approximately two minutes (for most fish).
- Keep fish populations within reasonable limits.
- Follow the daily, weekly, and monthly checklist in this guide.
- Select fish that enjoy similar temperatures, water chemistry, are compatible with respect to behavior, and occupy different levels of the aquarium.
- When choosing filtration, consider contact time, filter media volume, and factors which affect filter output.
- Incorporate live plants whenever possible.
- Choose the largest aquarium possible. Volume equals stability and greater flexibility in choices.
- Stable conditions are important. Following the provided checklist will help achieve this.
- Try to plan your aquarium set-up. Select plants, rocks, wood, gravel, and other décor which are complementary.
- Enjoy the hobby! Use it as an experience to learn about a fascinating underwater world.