Aquarium maintenance is a necessary job, one which keeps the marine aquarium looking as good as it should with all the livestock healthy. Some aquarists enjoy it, some don’t.
Keeping a notebook to remember those items that need to be done from time to time is a very good idea – when the lights need changing, or the anti-phosphate media, or activated carbon etc. No matter how good the aquarist’s memory is, when months pass between some actions a reminder is useful.
Another advantage when keeping notes is with seawater testing. In the early days of the aquarium, the aquarist will not be sure of the trends. For example, calcium will be depleted at a generally given rate. The demand from the aquarium may be high or it may be low, but it is very useful to know it. So when testing calcium if a note is kept at each test, then over a period of time a trend will appear, and the aquarist can see the rate of decline of the calcium level, which of course will cover routine seawater changes that are completed. So dosing of the aquarium can be accurate, using an additive or an automated device. Then again, look at pH. It is important that, within bounds, the pH is stable. Tests may throw up differences that on their own are generally meaningless. However, if a note is made each time a pH test is completed then again a trend could be seen. Maybe the pH is 8.3 when the lights are on, but on occasion the aquarist notices that it drops to 8.2 or perhaps a bit lower when a test is done early. During the dark period seawater does often have reduced pH then when the lights are on again it rises. Within limits this is acceptable, and with notes the aquarist can see what is happening and how much variation over what period occurs.
Later in the aquarium’s life the aquarist may decide to reduce the frequency of testing. This is fine if the aquarist is confident that seawater ‘habits’ are known. Tests still need to be done however even though less frequently, and a note of the results can be made for future reference. If a very slow decline is happening then the aquarist will see it. If a problem arises, logging down test results will show the effectiveness of any remedial actions taken.
We have produced some simple charts so that there isn’t any need to even purchase a notebook. Just download whatever is needed, as often as is needed. Not every aquarist needs the same tests, for example fish only aquariums only need 3 or 4 whereas reef aquariums need more, and the charts are adaptable as required.