Maintenance and Care Tips to Keeping a Healthy Aquarium:
Aquarium Tip #1: The Number One secret in keeping a healthy aquarium is, DO NOT OVERFEED YOUR FISH. Many people do not understand that fish are scavengers and they will continuously eat. The reason they do this is, in the wild they are not guaranteed food everyday so they will eat until they are so full they can live off their reserves for a few days and/or until they are able to eat their next meal.
In captivity they are guaranteed food so it is important you understand how to properly feed them. You only want to feed your fish what they can eat within 30-45 seconds once a day. The way you do this is in 10-15 second intervals 2 or 3 times, 5-6 days a week. If your fishes are aggressive fish and eat meatier foods like silversides, crabs or other fish you should only feed them 2-3 times a week, NOT EVERYDAY!
It is also never good to feed live feeder fish unless it is ghost shrimp or feeder crabs. The reason is feeder fish such as goldfish; tend to carry diseases & parasites that can be transferred to your fish when they eat them. They are also not very nutritional for your animal; it’s like feeding your fish a bunch of fast food. To avoid your fish from catching diseases or parasites from these animals I suggest you shy away from feeding them live food and feed them frozen foods.
Aquarium Tip #2: My second tip you want to know about is, do not cheap out when it comes to buying filtration. So many people cut corners when it comes to setting up their aquarium because it can be a little pricey. Quality matters when setting up these aquariums, I always advise people it is much more efficient to spend a little more money up front on the filtration then waste a lot of time & money in dead livestock and having to upgrade your filtration in the long run anyways.
So when it is time to buy a filter make sure you look at the GPH(Gallons per hour). For a 20 gallon fresh water tank you would want the water moving about 4-5x the amount of gallons per hour. So for a 20 gallon tank would want the water moving about 100 gallons per hr through the filter. Take that same 20 gallons tank but now make it saltwater you want your flow rate to be about 6-7x the amount of gallons per hr. So 20 Gallon saltwater tank would require a flow rate of 140 GPH.
Filters are always mislabeled are not actually filtering the gallons they say they are. You will always want to buy a filter that says it does more then the size of tank you have.
Aquarium Tip #3: Stay on top of water changes and do them properly! One of the biggest mistakes people make is, they think when its time to do water change you empty the entire tank. This is the WORST! thing you can do for your tank. When you empty all the water out of the tank you are taking out all that healthy bacteria that helps keep your tank in balance and completely distorting it.
So what is the proper way to do a water change? For most aquariums you would generally take 25% of the water out of your tank about once a month, then re-fill it with clean water that you have use some type of water conditioner that helps remove the chlorine & other elaments from the tap water you are about to put into your aquarium. Depending on the size of the aquarium, the animals you are keeping & if you are properly feeding your animals will play a factor on when you do your water changes and how much water you take out. If you have an aquarium with many fish &/or aggressive eaters &/or you have trouble keeping your levels low you will find either about 8-10% once a week or about 15% bi-weekly will help you keep your aquarium healthy and looking good.
The other big mistake people make is they think because there tank looks clean and there is no algae there is no need to clean the tank. Once again that is wrong, just because a tank looks clean doesn’t mean it is, you cannot physically see Ammonia, Nitrites or Nitrates in your tank. You have to test your water to know if you have unsafe level of any of those elements in your water. The reason we do monthly or weekly water changes, is to help keep these elements at low level because if you have high levels of ammonia, nitrites they can be very toxic and harmful to your aquatic life.
Aquarium Tip #4: Slowly stock your aquarium with livestock! This is a HUGE mistake people make all the time. They are too impatient and stock their aquarium way to quick with all the wrong livestock. When you go into most pet stores the sad truth is that they are a business and they need to profit to keep the doors open. Many times stores will not give you the best advice so they can make a sale, because they know how much you want to stock your tank with pretty fish. And if things die they know you will be back although maybe frustrated you will be spending more money again.
When you are first starting an aquarium it is similar to taking care of an infant. New fish tanks are just like babies! And we need to learn to treat them like that. An aquarium is a commitment just like having a child is and people tend to keep their tanks for YEARS & YEARS. Bacteria take a long time to establish, as a child does to grow into an adult. When you add livestock to your tank you should only add 1-4 fish at a time depending on the size of your tank; you should always wait 3-6weeks before adding any more fish.