An aquarium is perhaps the easiest type of pet to have. There are some basic steps to caring for fish once the tank is established. There are things that should be done daily to care for fish and some things that need only be done 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 main cause of sickness in fish is stress. So, a happy fish is a healthy fish. Check to see that all lights and filters on the aquarium are plugged in and functioning correctly. Feed the fish daily. Only feed what can be consumed 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 temp weekly. Any necessary adjustment should be made promptly. 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 in the form of excessive fool. The filters will eventually fill with debris and be unable to do their job unless they are cleaned. In addition to eliminating waste, filter sometimes act as an aeration device cycling oxygen through the tank. If the filters are clogged, circulation slows. 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. Water from the tap should be treated accordingly before adding to the tank and adjusted 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. Lastly, plug the aquarium back in, and enjoy the freshly cleaned tank.