There is a common saying which goes ‘good things take time yet bad things happen quickly’.
This is a saying which is very true in the aquarium hobby.
An important aspect of the aquarium hobby is performing the correct care and maintenance. This aspect is also quite often the first part which aquarists start to slip on.
At first they are very passionate about caring for the aquarium and its inhabitants, however over time for various reasons they start to slip on what was once a strict regime.
Not all aquarists are like this, there are many, many people who are exceptionally diligent in this area.
Failure to perform the correct care will at first appear not be impacting the aquarium however behind the scenes thing may slowly be starting to decline. Aquarium equipment may slowly start to fail, lighting may become inefficient, the protein skimmer may not be as efficient, the various filtration areas may not function to the best of their ability and many more areas which at first you will not notice.
Over time this will slowly start to get worse and it could happen at a pace where you may not notice it. Perhaps not even until something goes drastically wrong for example nitrate readings rapidly increasing, coral colour loss, equipment failure and perhaps even fish/coral loss.
At this point the aquarist faces a decision point. These are sort the aquarium out and return it to its former glory or give up on the hobby.
A lot of people actually do choose option number two. In my opinion this is down to one of two things. The first being that they liked the idea of keeping colourful corals and fish and do not like the idea of having to look after them. The second is a lack of knowledge as to what they need to maintain and why.
I personally believe that a lot of people head down this path as they enter the ‘I’ll do it later’ area i.e. they put off various aspects until the week after. Again this could be down to various reasons, however let’s face it how many of these people actually do perform it later. Some will I’m sure however also I am sure that a lot of people wont.
From this point the decline begins.
Caring for an aquarium in my opinion is not that hard work as long as you know why you are doing these tasks and how it is beneficial to the aquarium environment.
Effectively this does depend upon what stage your aquarium is at. If the aquarium is new then there will be some aspects which you will perform now but will not perform later when the aquarium is more mature. Some examples of these tests are ammonia and nitrite water tests. Once the nitrogen cycle has completed then you will not need to perform these tests unless you believe that there may be problems in the aquarium system.
Later when the aquarium is more mature there are various areas which you will need to test and check on a regular basis.
These are various water tests to ensure that the water parameters are the best that they can be, the protein skimmer will need to be emptied and cleaned, various equipment like the water pumps, heaters etc will need to be checked for failures, the glass will need to be cleaned and the fish/corals will need to be visually observed.
To be honest if you set yourself a regime and allocate a little bit of time per week then it does not interfere with your social life and you can be happy in the knowledge that your little aquatic world is in the best condition it can be.
I set myself an hour on a Sunday evening when Josh has gone to bed. Sometime I do it earlier in the day before he has gone to be if he wants to help me do it.
In this time I first check all the water parameters and record the results, after this I clean the glass followed by a visual check of all the required equipment. If my little notepad states that I need to either replace or check an item which is only done every so often then this is completed – this could be lighting, calcium reactor media, activated carbon etc. Once this is done I then empty the skimmer and give it a really good clean.
Once all of this is done then I sit back and quietly watch the fish and the corals. I check each fish one at a time and ensure that they appear to be well fed and have no visible damage. I then move onto the corals and give them a good check. As a final point of inspection I check for any ‘clean up crew’ which may have become stuck or is upside down.
Once everything is done then I simply sit back and enjoy my little slice of the ocean.
For me I find the care of my aquarium quite easy. The reason for this is that I do not skip things. I have a weekly plan which I follow and if everything is acceptable then it does not take long at all. I know that if I skip any then problems are going to occur and I will regret it later – something I don’t want to happen.