Follow these 7 simple steps every week  to keep your aquarium water healthy and your fish happy.

1. Unplug everything – heater, filter, lights and any other electrical components you have added to your aquarium.  Specifically, your aquarium heater.  If the water level goes below a certain point on your heater while it is plugged in, the heater can crack when the tank is being filled back up with water.  There is a “minimum” water level line on all heaters so look for it.

2. Wipe off the sides of your aquarium with an algae pad to remove any algae that may be growing there. Even if you can’t see any algae it is there. Flip over any decorative rocks that may have algae growing on them. The algae will then die on the side of the rock that is in the gravel. Two weeks later, flip the rock back over and continue to do this with every water change.

3. Use a siphon and a bucket to remove water from the aquarium. Place the large end of the siphon into the aquarium, suck on the hose for a second to get the water flowing through the hose, and put the other end of the siphon into a bucket that is on the floor. Better yet, use the Marina Aqua Vac which fastens on to your kitchen sink and makes doing water changes so much easier. Available in either a 25′ or 50′ length. No more straining your back with heavy buckets. Simply drain and fill. Aquariums West gives this a “Must Have” rating for anyone with an aquarium. We use this handy tool in the store all the time. Just ask for a demonstration.

4. Place the large end of the siphon into the gravel about 1″ deep. The gravel will spin around and any food or waste will be siphoned out and the gravel will drop back down. Continue to do this over the bottom of the aquarium targeting any special areas that you see decomposing food.

5. Remove 1/3 – 1/2 of the water (you can take out more if it is really bad, up to 75% without damaging your fish. This is only recommended if the tank is really filthy) and then replace with water that is slightly warmer than the water in the aquarium. Use the appropriate amount of Aqua Plus Water Conditioner or Seachem Prime and Nutrafin Cycle or Seachem Stability for the size of your aquarium, mix it in the bucket and then pour it back in.

6. Check your pH level and tweak if necessary.  Depending on what kind of fish you keep and which part of the city or country you live in it may be necessary to adjust your pH.   Ask one of the staff in the store to give you a lesson on how to adjust your pH and what the ideal pH parameters are for your aquarium.

7. Use a good quality Water Conditioner.  Depending on which type of fish that you have you may need to add different types of water conditioners. We now carry the “Gold” level line of Sea Chem Products. They have many kinds of conditioners specific for South American Cichlids, African Cichlids, Discus, and all other kinds of tropical fish.

Marina Aqua Vac

The job of doing water changes has just got easier with Marina’s new Aqua Vac. Available in either a 25′ or 50′ length. No more straining your back with heavy buckets.  Simply drain and fill. Aquariums West gives this a “Must Have” rating for anyone with an aquarium over 25 Gallons. 

We have used every siphon available in the market and the Marina Aqua Vac stands up to the demands of an aquatic store. Other brands break down and need parts replaced, spray water everywhere because they use plastic fittings, and pop off the tap when the pressure builds. Hagen’s Marina Aqua Vac includes sturdy brass faucet adapter that doesn’t pop off while you are cleaning and rarely ever needs to be replaced. 

For smaller aquariums use the Easy Clean siphon from Marina. Includes a handy little clip to hold the siphon on to the side of your bucket so it won’t flip out and get your floor wet. Remember to do water changes at least every two weeks to have a beautiful looking aquarium all the time.