How to maintain an Aquarium >>
From valuable lessons for newcomers, to helpful reminders for old hands, this article is filled with tips for everyone.

The best formula for successful fish keeping is to keep a regular maintenance schedule. This must be habitual, either weekly or bi-weekly. Wastes accumulate continuously. Remove as much as possible at every cleaning. At the same time remove some old water and replace with dechlorinated tap water.

Weekly maintenance includes algae removal from inside glass surfaces. Use an approved algae cleaning pad so as not to scratch the glass. Clean the gravel using a properly sized Hagen Gravel Cleaner or Multi-Vac. Drain about 10% - 20% of the water. Unplug all electrical accessories before placing hands in the aquarium or prior to removing water. NEVER take out all the water and clean the entire tank; the biological filtration will be destroyed. Be sure to replace any water you remove with properly conditioned and dechlorinated water. Replacement water should be the same temperature as the aquarium. Drastic temperature change causes stress and disease.

Filter media should be checked and regularly changed as required. Leave some old media in the filter to promote bacterial population of the new media. Don't change both foam and charcoal insert at the same time. It is much better to change them on alternating weeks, rather than putting all new media in the filter. Changing too many things at once may result in having to biologically restart the aquarium. After the water change and filter media have been changed, add the weekly dosage of Cycle to the filter intake or simply add to the aquarium.

When reconnecting electrical items, check that the temperature is correct. It is a good idea to check temperature regularly to be sure that the heater has been supplying consistent heat to the aquarium. It is wise to place your hand on the glass every time you check the thermometer. This will give you a "feel" for the temperature as well.

Be sure all other electrical items are working properly.