Updated: Apr 5, 2019
A properly set up fish tank doesn’t require a lot of constant, everyday attention. They are great weekend pets, meaning you can get away with only giving them a lot of attention one day a week. Do not start to think that all of the work can be done only on one day, because that is false. You should be on a normal feeding cycle that works for you and your fish. Some people feed twice a day, some feed only once a day, and some people only feed their fish a few times a week. Depending on the amount you feed at each time, you can choose any of these options and be successful. Besides feeding, there are a few other things you must do once a week to make sure your fish are happy and healthy.
In a cycled tank there should be no ammonia, or nitrite. However, nitrate will start to slowly build up. Nitrate isn’t harmful, unless it reaches really high amount. Live plants doe feed off of it a little, but the only true way to get it out of the tank is by doing a water change. Depending on the quality of your filtration, how many fish you have, and how much you feed your fish, the water quality will decrease at different paces. It is common practice for people to do a 25%-50% water change every week. By swapping out the tank water with new water, it removes waste, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate that is in the water.
It is important that the water you are changing, has the same pH and temperature as what is in the tank already. If there is a difference in these parameters, it can cause the fish to go into shock and even die. It is also crucial that if the water comes from a tap, that you use a water conditioner that removes the harmful chlorine from the water.
This is only applicable if you have live plants in your tank. Each week when doing you water changes, it is a good time to give your plants some attention as well. Some plants grow very fast and need a lot of trimming. Trimming the plants makes sure that they do not overrun the tank and grow out of control. Also removing any dead plant leaves is something that should be done, because dying plant matter will break down, causing ammonia to be released into the tank.
Another important procedure that needs to be followed, is scrubbing down everything in the tank to remove all possible algae. Having algae all over the place can be seen as off putting. So scrubbing it once a week is a good routine. When scrubbing, it is crucial to make sure that the sponge being used is clean of all chemicals. If you do use a sponge that has come in contact with chemicals, then it could kill everything inside the tank.
Filters are what makes sure your tank stays clean, but when the filter gets dirty, it makes it impossible for it to clean the water. Filters should be cleaned about once a month. When cleaning any kind of filter, one needs to make sure not to destroy all of the beneficial bacteria. The good bacteria makes home on the sponges inside the filter, and cleaning them with tap water can kill the bacteria due to the low level of chlorine in the water. So when cleaning filter media, gather old tank water in a bucket, and swirl around the media in it. This would remove a lot of the gunk and gross stuff from the media.