Are Aquariums High Maintenance?

Date Posted:20 December 2021 


If you’re considering purchasing a fish, it’s a good idea to learn about fish tank maintenance first. While fish are in many ways low-maintenance pets, there are certain steps you have to take to ensure their health and wellbeing. Maintaining an aquarium is an essential part of caring for fish, and there are many elements to the maintenance process.


These include researching fish species and their preferred environments; choosing appropriate supplies; setting up the aquarium; and regular cleaning duties on a daily, weekly, monthly and periodic basis. The set up and maintenance of a fish tank is a big responsibility, and having the right equipment will make it a lot easier.


Why Is Fish Tank Maintenance Important?


Unlike natural bodies of water, aquariums are enclosed ecosystems that exist within a small amount of water. Rivers, lakes and oceans are able to host life as a result of complex and naturally occurring processes. While the sheer amount of water dilutes harmful toxins, currents and waves constantly circulate the water. Plants replace carbon dioxide with oxygen, and showers of rain boost freshwater levels.


These environments are consistently cleaned and maintained according to nature’s ruling, but fish tanks have no such luck. It is up to us to make sure that any waste, decaying food, or harmful byproducts that build up within these ecosystems are removed. We have to perform regular, thorough maintenance on our tanks to promote the health of our fish as well as keep a pleasant-looking display.


How Often Should You Complete Fish Tank Cleaning and Maintenance?


This query might seem straightforward, but there is no short, simple answer to the question of how often you should clean your fish tank. This will all depend on a number of factors like the volume of water and the amount or type of fish you are keeping. As a general rule we recommend cleaning your fish tank every two to three weeks.


When it comes to fish tank cleaning and maintenance, it’s all about sticking to a consistent routine that spreads individual tasks out over several sessions. You should never complete all your cleaning at the same time, as this could be too disruptive for the ecosystem. If the beneficial bacteria residing within your tank is disturbed too much, it could upset the nitrogen cycle and cause an increase in ammonia or nitrite. Areas that experience a lot of bacteria, such as the filter or the substrate, should be cleaned at different times to ensure this issue is avoided. To be extra safe, you should also test the water a few days after cleaning to check if anything is wrong.


Furthermore, it is recommended that aquarium owners establish a fish tank maintenance schedule that staggers out the cleaning process. There are tasks you can do on a daily, weekly, monthly and periodic basis that will keep your tank sufficiently clean.




Daily fish tank maintenance is mostly about visual checks to ensure that everything is as it should be. Check that the filter, lights, and any other equipment you have is functioning properly. Make sure the temperature is in the correct range, and that the fish appear healthy. Pay attention to how much fish food is left in the tank five minutes after feeding. If there is often uneaten food left over, give your fish less food at future feedings. Use a gravel vacuum to remove any uneaten food and top up the water levels as needed.


Weekly or Bi-Weekly


On a weekly or bi-weekly basis, use an algae pad or floating magnet cleaner to scrape algae off the interior glass. Fish waste and debris settle into the gravel and substrate. Use a gravel vacuum to remove this waste from the bottom of your aquarium, while doing a partial water change at the same time. Remove about 20-30% of the water. If you have live plants, you can trim and prune your plants to remove any dead leaves.


If you have any rocks, logs, aquarium ornaments, plastic or silk plants, these can be taken out to be cleaned with a brush or algae pad if required. When filling the tank, always ensure water conditioner is added to the tap water to remove chlorine and chloramines. This will make the water safe for your fish. Finish off by wiping down the outside of the tank with a glass cleaner and a dry cloth.




Try to conduct a water test on a monthly basis. This test should reveal all you need to know about your tank’s pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. Complete your regular weekly maintenance tasks, including a partial water change. Take care to save a bucket of water from the water change and use this water to rinse your filter media, and replace any that are completely clogged or need changing.


Take note not to replace all the filter media at the same time. Removing all the good bacteria in your filter will cause your tank to go cloudy and milky, and it will take time for the good bacteria in your filter to build up again.




You should periodically replace light bulbs and fertilise live plants, as well as clean the air pump tubing, the filter tubing and the filter intake. If you have an automatic fish feeder, check that there is food in the feeder and fill as required.


What Supplies Will You Need?


  • 2 buckets
  • Towel for spillage
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Gravel vacuum
  • Algae pad or floating magnet cleaner
  • Filter brush
  • Glass cleaner
  • Brush
  • Aquascaping scissors and tools
  • Plant food/fertiliser - if keeping live plants


A Step-By-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Fish Tank


This is a basic guide for cleaning your fish tank, however, depending on your setup, there may be extra steps you need to take.


  • Leave the fish in the tank and work around them.
  • Use the gravel vacuum to transfer waste and water from the gravel to the bucket. Move the vacuum throughout the fish tank until you’ve removed about 20-30% of the tank’s water capacity.
  • Add water conditioner to the tank.
  • Slowly refill the fish tank with fresh tap water.
  • After the tank is filled, add some good bacteria and adjust the pH if necessary.


Where Can You Get Supplies for Fish Tank Cleaning and Maintenance?


If you require equipment for cleaning, water testing, or any other element of fish tank maintenance, check out the first-rate products at Aquarium Kingdom. Our comprehensive selection even includes air pumps, filter media, and spare parts. Shop today and invest in the happiness of your favourite fish!