How to Set Up and Keep a Low-Maintenance Aquarium

low-maintenance aquarium

A healthy fish house is one where the fish are content. Any fish owner who wants to maintain a healthy fish environment will have to get wet. Aquariums that are "self-sustaining" may seem ideal, but because to their artificial nature, every fish tank will require some upkeep. However, there are techniques to reduce the amount of time and work required to maintain your fish tank.

Tank Setup

Begin by imagining your perfect tank arrangement. Do you want it to have a certain appearance? Fit in a certain location? Include a certain type of fish? Make a priority list and stick to it. If you're searching for a specific appearance, size, or space, you'll need to narrow down your fish options. If you have a certain group of people in mind, conduct your study to determine how much room they require, whether they get along with each other inter- and intraspecies, and what environment would be ideal for them.

Could You Go Bigger?

Do you believe you could raise the volume once you've chosen your tank, d├ęcor, and inhabitants? Remember that more water means more weight on any surface you choose. More water, on the other hand, will provide for greater maintenance flexibility. With more volume and fewer fish, your bio-load will be lower, allowing you to go longer between water changes.

Filtration Is Key

The majority of tank filters are designed for certain tank sizes. You choose the one that is closest to your tank. However, purchasing a filter that is larger than your tank's capacity allows you to filter more water, giving you more flexibility in your maintenance schedule. A filter that is too large will push your fish around! A filter that is one and a half times the size of your tank is ideal.

Do you have room to install another filter if you currently have one working? No matter what the box says, never remove a filter and replace it with a fully new one! It might take four to six weeks for your filter to be operational.


The bigger your tank, the more filtration you have and fewer fish, and the easier maintenance will be.

Your Minimal Maintenance Routine

Rinse Your Filters

The number of fish you have, how much they're fed, and how much filtration your tank has can all influence how often you rinse your filters. Clean out your filter media before the flow slows down. This will just increase the amount of work your pump needs to do, overloading it and requiring replacement sooner. Remember that your filter media should never be attractive or spotless. The colonies you worked so hard to cultivate will be killed by blasting them clean with chlorinated water, which will destroy the good bacteria that maintain your nitrogen cycle.

Rinse your filter media carefully in treated tap water of the same temperature or in waste aquarium water. A good filter will not be odorless or spotless. Rinse well until the water flows clear.

Check Your Water Quality

Your water parameters should follow a predictable pattern once your system is established (no new fish, food, or equipment in the previous three months). Your aquarium's water chemistry parameters will reveal all you need to know about its health. Purchase a dependable liquid-based test kit and practice with it a few times to ensure you can appropriately test. Your nitrate levels will decide the majority of your upkeep. When nitrate piles up at the end of your nitrogen cycle, it becomes hazardous to fish. Individual species will have varying nitrate tolerances, so find out ahead of time what your fish can withstand.

Rinse your filter media carefully in treated tap water of the same temperature or in waste aquarium water. A good filter will not be odorless or spotless. Rinse well until the water flows clear.

Water Changes

Unless you have a few living plants to help, you will need to remove some old water and replace it with new water because your nitrate has nowhere to go. Keep in mind that you'll need a lot of plants to make a noticeable difference in your nitrate levels. You'll also need to regularly prune plants to remove dead leaves, otherwise your recycled nitrates will revert to ammonia.


To remove excess waste and other debris, use your gravel siphon to go down into the cracks of your substrate. Your caught waste water may be used to rinse filter media and is also excellent for houseplants and vegetable gardens.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to avoid any aquarium upkeep. Only in the wild, where there are several trophic levels and environmental variables, do "self-sufficient" systems occur. In order to effectively care for your aquatic creatures in artificial aquarium surroundings, you will need to get a little wet. You may save yourself a lot of frustration and lost time by taking a few additional steps at the start and putting up a system that you hardly have to work on and can spend more time enjoying.

Shopping List

Determine which is more important before you set up your aquarium: Your tank's size or the species you desire. Once you've made your decision, develop a simple shopping list to ensure you have everything you need.