Spring has finally arrived. This is a great time to open up the windows, let in some fresh air, and take a good look at your aquariums. A few minutes of maintenance now can help save you a lot of problems later on.
On The Aquarium
How often do you check the underside of your aquarium’s lid? You’ll find a fine crop of mold growing there. This mold may not look like much, but it can trigger allergic reactions to people with asthma or mold allergies, notes MSNBC Today. Mold may also look like cobwebs in your tank. Check the heater, filter, air hoses or anywhere that gets splashed with water. Remove the mold with a paper towel or a rag only used for your aquariums.
This is a good time to check the lids for cracks or chips that may need replacing. Be sure to dust wires or the tops of filters and partially submersible heaters. Do you use an ultraviolet sterilizer? Now is a good time to replace the filter media, recommends Complete Encyclopedia of the Freshwater Aquarium (Firefly Books; 2001.) If your tank has live plants, it’s time to replace fluorescent lighting tubes.
In the Aquarium
Take a good look at the amount of algae in your aquarium. Too much algae will not only look unsightly, but will rob the water of oxygen which may kill your fish. The safest way to remove algae from your tank is by hand. Sometimes commercial algicides can kill live plants or be too harsh for some fish, especially fish fry (baby fish.) Do not kill all of the algae. Leave a little bit to help keep the aquarium’s water chemistry at normal levels.
Also look at the gravel if the gravel is an unnatural color. Painted gravel eventually starts to chip off. This can repeatedly clog the filter or harm your fish. It’s time to replace the gravel with non-painted gravel.
Around the Aquarium
Look closely around the tank for traces of spilled food or signs of water damage. Get down on your hands and knees if you have to. Spilled food particles can disappear in the crevices made by the aquarium and the carpeting. Take a damp paper towel to help make sure the area is clean. Food particles not only grow mold but they also attract household pests like rats and mice which will nibble on wires as well as spilled fish food.
Also check all of the wiring leading to your aquarium. Remove and replace any wire that is split or beginning to fray. If you have small children or curious pets like dogs, make sure the wires are out of the way of foot traffic. Tape up wires to walls if necessary to keep them off of the floor or out of the mouths of kids and dogs.
Alterdon, David. Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish. Dorling Kindersley; 2008.
Boruchowitz, David E. Freshwater Aquarium Problem Solver. TFH Publications; 2006.