Aquarium and Fish Maintenance Part 1: How Do My Fish Look?

Posted By: Matt Allen

What does it really take to keep your aquarium clean and your fish happy?  How much maintenance does my aquarium really need?  Am I doing enough maintenance to my fish tank, or am I cleaning it too much? Sometimes these are all difficult questions to answer, but there are some simple questions you can ask yourself to help understand how happy your fish really are.   Over the next three Mondays we will answer these questions and help you get a better understanding of the health of your aquarium and it’s inhabitance.

  1. How do my fish look?
  2. Does my aquarium look clean?
  3. Is my water clean and clear?
  4. Is all of my equipment working properly?

The biggest indicator telling you how healthy your aquarium is will be your fish!  Observing your fish can tell you a lot about what does or doesn’t need to be done to your aquarium.  In a healthy aquarium your fish should be colorful, active, and eating well.  Color is a great indicator of how your fish is feeling and the overall health of your aquarium.  Colorful fish typically mean your water chemistry is good, your temperature is good, that you are feeding them enough food, and feeding your fish the right foods.  Dull colors for an extended period of time is an indicator something is not right with your fish and possibly your aquarium.


 Active fish are typically healthy fish!  Most aquarium fish have an active period during a 24 hour day.  This period may be during the day or night and by observing them and doing a little research you can tell when you fish should be active.  A healthy fish is going to be actively seeking food, a mate or defending territory.  Understanding your fishes natural activity will help you identify if they are healthy.  Normal activity for some fish may be constantly swimming or it may mean a lot of sitting on the bottom with very little movement.  Knowing their activity level will also help you identify problems in your aquarium.  A change in behavior can be an indication that something is not right with your fish or in your aquarium.


Pack on the feed bag!  A healthy fish will actively seek food.  A healthy algae-eating plecostomus will spend most of its time grazing for algae on rock or glass.  A healthy tetra fish will spend most of its day swimming around the aquarium looking for food.  When you feed your fish you should see an active feeding response from the fish in your aquarium.  A healthy fish will also have a full body.  Sunk in bellies or excessively skinny fish can mean there are issues with the fish.  Feeding the right amount of food to the fish in your aquarium is important also.  During a feeding, all food should be consumed within two to three minutes.  If food is consumed too quickly you might need to give your fish a little more food.  If you have excess food laying on the bottom of the aquarium then you need to feed a little less.  Excess food in your aquarium will lead to water quality issues and will affect overall fish health.  Providing the right food and the right amount of food is a big part of keeping happy healthy fish.

Next week we will discuss how clean is my aquarium and water quality.

Questions about the health of your fish or aquarium?  Visit your local fish store and ask them to help you out!  Remember to tell them that Elive Pet sent you!”