Tasks and Schedule for Marine Aquarium Maintenance

Fish in fish tank

The health of the fish in a saltwater aquarium depends on the water quality. Apart from routine maintenance (checking water temperature, feeding animals, general observations, and water top-off), saltwater aquariums and all of its components require periodic maintenance and cleaning to work correctly.

The optimal cleaning schedule is determined by the sort of system you have. Wet/dry trickle and canister filters, unlike real Berlin live rock and filter systems, require more regular upkeep. The frequency with which your tank requires maintenance is determined by several factors:

  • Filtration type
  • Biological load on the filtration system
  • Quantity and types of foods used
  • Inclusion of tank janitors
  • Use of toxin ( and ) reducing products

Weekly water quality testing will show when a thorough cleaning is required once your aquarium has been cycled. You'll see patterns in your water test findings as well as visible changes in your aquarium residents over time.

Observing Your Tank

Investing a few minutes each day to examine your aquarium thoroughly will pay off handsomely. Make it a practice to check the following items on a regular basis, and make a note of anything strange in your tank log book:


  • Activity
  • Eating

Tank janitors

  • Activity
  • Keeping up with cleaning

  • Color
  • Open


  • Circulation

Testing Your Aquarium Water

To begin, test your water parameters at least once a week (including Normal Sea Water values and goal water test levels). Although little variations in certain tests are normal, they may suggest a pattern and should be noticed. The following parameters should be tested, and the findings should be recorded in your tank logbook:

  • Temperature
  • Salinity
  • pH
  • Alkalinity
  • Ammonia
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • Phosphate
  • Iodine
  • Calcium

Cleaning Your Aquarium

When you feel that a thorough cleaning is necessary, take the time to thoroughly clean your complete system (the more frequently you do it, the less time it will take each time). Begin by cleaning the inside of the tank before moving on to the remainder of the system. During cleaning, place a pair of old towels on the floor in front of the tank to protect the flooring from water damage.


  1. Scrub the algae from the tank walls and submerged equipment.
  2. Siphon-clean the substrate.
  3. Change the water, as needed, and replace with new (pre-mixed) saltwater.
  4. Retest water parameters that previously were off, and add supplements to adjust levels, as needed.

Filtration system

  1. Clean debris from the bottom of the sump (a turkey baster works great for this).
  2. Change/clean the mechanical filter media.
  3. Check/clean/change the adsorbents for phosphate and nitrate.
  4. , rinsing in saltwater to remove debris (the water you siphoned earlier works great for this).

Protein skimmer

  1. Empty the collection cup.
  2. Adjust the air and water flow, as needed.


  1. Check to make sure pumps are free of blockage and are operating with normal output.
  2. Clean filter media and check all hose connections.


  1. Clean all fixtures and bulbs.
  2. Replace old bulbs.

  1. Check for potential sources of salt creep.
  2. Clean affected parts to remove salt creep.

Tank exterior

  1. Wipe down the cabinet and canopy with a damp cloth.
  2. Clean the aquarium glass with an aquarium-safe glass cleaner or a damp cloth.

Scheduling Aquarium Maintenance

Consider if you should execute these chores more or less regularly as part of your routine maintenance. A excellent sign is the quantity of particles in your mechanical filter. When your filter media becomes blocked, particles are driven around it, undermining the function of the filter. The quantity of water flowing from the filter output may frequently give you a reasonably good sense of when your filter needs attention: if the water flow is slower than it was right after your previous filter cleaning, it's definitely ready for a cleaning.