Have a watchful eye

The greatest amount of time spent in care of your aquarium is observing everything on a regular basis to be sure all is working as it should be. Everything else can be set to a regular routine,

 

Lighting

Unless the aquarium contains live plants, the aquarium lighting is not that critical, however contrary to some people’™s belief, the fish will be less stressed if the lights go on and off at the same time each day. A normal light cycle is 8 to 10 hours a day. A full spectrum light brings out the colors of the fish and plants the best. Fluorescents reach their peak at six months and should be replaced at that time to maintain peak efficiency. Observe your lighting: if the light appears to be getting more yellow and washed out looking, it may be time to change the bulbs.

 

Feeding

“Overfeeding” is feeding too much at a time, rather than too often. You should only feed enough that the fish can easily eat within a couple minutes. Uneaten food contributes to poor water quality, which causes water cloudiness, rapid algae growth, and creates the environment that causes stress and may even lead to fish disease. Observe how your fish feed.

 

Equipment

Equipment can fail without warning and cause major problems as a result. The more frequently you check everything, the less likely you will have a catastrophic event.

Heaters: are notorious for failing. They may either stop all together and allow the temperature to fall, or become stuck in the on position and cause the temperature to rise. Keep a second heater in the aquarium to serve as a back-up. Check for cracks, erosion and watch the indicator light. Have more than one thermometer and check it regularly.

Filters: make sure all hoses and connectors are properly attached. Observe for obvious signs the filter needs to be cleaned or is clogged

 

Health and behavior

Observe your fish and other inhabitants closely to see signs of disease and abnormal behavior. If the fish are gasping for air at the surface the oxygen level of the water is critically low. If they are exhibiting strange and awkward movements the fish may be stressed or suffering from a disease. You may notice mating/spawning rituals or overly aggressive behavior. The more you observe the more you will learn about your fish, proper maintenance, and how to avoid or minimize potential problems.