Water test: A full water test at least once a month and always before adding new fish. Keeping records of PH, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates and Phosphates can be helpful. Calcium should be tested in reef systems. Stability of your water quality is the biggest indicator of whether your maintenance practices are sound and if your equipment is able to handle your aquarium with your current fish load.
Water changes: 20 % every 2 to 4 weeks, depending on fish load and water quality. Gravel clean during all water changes. It is the easiest way to remove extra organics from your system. We run our saltwater fish tanks at a specific gravity of 1.018. Depending on the type of fish in your aquarium, the lower salinity may help to prohibit parasites from reproducing. Reefs need to be at 1.022 to 1.024. Our freshwater systems may be salted to a specific gravity of 1.003 to 1.007 depending on what type of fish are in them.
Prefilters: Cleaned at least every 1 – 2 weeks, replaced every 1 – 2 months.
Air stones: Replace at least monthly.
Canister filters: Cleaned and media replaced every 2 to 4 weeks, depending on fish load and water quality. If you are using micron filters – clean them well! Carbon works very well to keep your water crystal clear. Regardless of where you are running the carbon, use only high grade, phosphate-free carbon. Our favorite is Kent Marine. Carbon should be changed at least once a month, as needed.
Tank: Wipe down tank and decorations should be cleaned or rotated: every 2 to 4 weeks or as needed depending on type of system and amount of light and algae growth. Keep a second rotation of decorations. Having a clean set ready to go in when you are pulling the dirty ones will save you a lot of time and keep you from putting improperly cleaned decorations back into your aquarium that could kill your fish.
U.V. bulbs: Replaced every 6 months for 100% killing power, even if the bulb is still lit! They are not as effective after this point, and are even less effective the longer they go unchanged.
Chillers and pumps: Vacuum out every 2 -3 months, more often if they are in a dusty area. Non submersible pumps oiled once a month, or per manufactures instructions. Power head impellers need to be cleaned every 2-3 months.
Light bulbs: Change every 12 months, even if still glowing.
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