Orangeville, ON (Caroline Davis) An aquarium is perhaps the easiest type of pet to have. There are some basic steps to caring for fish once you establish the tank. There are things you should do daily to care for fish and some things that need only do weekly or bi-weekly. Daily maintenance of an aquarium is fairly minimal. Look at the fish every day to make sure they appear to be overall healthy and happy. This may seem silly, but the primary cause of sickness in fish is stress. So, a contented fish is a healthy fish. Check to see that all lights and filters on the aquarium function correctly. Feed the fish daily. Only feed what they can consume in the first two to five minutes. Any excess food will become debris in the tank and lead to illness or attribute to excess nitrite levels. You should check the water pH and temperature weekly. You should make promptly any necessary change. Check with your local pet store when purchasing fish to find out what levels are appropriate. They vary amongst fish species.

Filter cleaning is extremely important. Filters collect waste excreted by the fish and left in the tank. The filters will eventually fill with debris and cannot do their job. Besides eliminating waste, filter sometimes acts as an aeration device cycling oxygen through the tank. Clogged filters slow circulation. This limits the amount of oxygen in the tank. If left untreated, this could be deadly for your fish. Change the filter on the aquarium every two to three weeks, depending on need. You will know when it needs to be cleaned because the water will become cloudy or smelly. Some filters need to be replaced, while other simply need to be cleaned with water.

The proper way to change water in a tank is to do it gradually. First unplug any lights and equipment before cleaning the aquarium. Change approximately one third of the water in the aquarium every one to two weeks. Treat water from the tap accordingly before adding to the tank and adjust within two degrees of the aquarium. Again, check with your local retailer when purchasing fish. Some treatments allow the tap water to be ready in as little as an hour, while others need to sit overnight before being added to the tank.

Clean the sides of the tank with a scrubber to remove any built up algae. Be careful not to disturb or scare the fish. Move rocks and decorations to loosen any debris. Try to collect this debris when removing the water, either with a bucket or a vacuum type of siphon. Prune any dead leaves from aquatic plants. Clean the outside of the tank with a squeegee and clean tap water. Clean the cover and lid. Last, plug the aquarium back in, and enjoy the freshly cleaned tank.