Check your aquarium’s water
Check your aquarium’s water once a week for its pH, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia levels.
Read up on the chemical tolerances of your particular fish species, so you will know when it’s time for a change of water.
(The people who sold you all the gear may also be able to sell you a water chemical test kit.)
A number of variables affect how often you will need to change the water: how many fish you have, how big they are, the species, the size of the tank, your lighting and the kind of filtration you’re using.
You don’t really change all the water at once.
Just change 10 to 25 per cent of the water in your aquarium, and expect to do it about every two weeks.
To change the water
Round up enough buckets to handle 10 to 25 per cent of the water in your tank.
(You can use the same bucket over and over, but you’ll have to keep stopping the siphon while you empty it out.)
Use a siphon hose to draw the water out.
A clear hose is best, so you can see what you’re sucking up.
Don’t refill the aquarium with water straight from the tap.
Nearly all tap water has chlorine added, which will hurt your fish.
(Many aquarium suppliers will test a sample for you, or you can use a home water-chemical test kit.)
To remove the chlorine, either use a chlorine neutraliser (available from aquarium suppliers), or let the water sit in a basin for 24 hours before pouring it in, giving the chlorine time to dissipate naturally.
Make sure the new water is about the same temperature – within one or two degrees – as the water left in the aquarium.
Nature’s vacuum cleaners
Why not hire some live-in workers for your tank?
The following species are happy to gobble up algae so you won’t have to remove it for them.
Just make sure they’re compatible with the other species in your tank, and check with your local aquarium supplier for species that are appropriate and available in your area.
Sucking catfish (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri)
Snails (assorted species)
Certain hermit crabs
(check with your supplier)