Caring for Your Aquarium

Maintenance Schedule

Below is our recommended maintenance schedule for reef aquariums. It provides general guidelines that should be followed and applies to most home aquariums. Please feel free to contact us for answers to any questions you may have.


  1. Visually inspect all aquarium livestock for general health, looking for sudden changes in coloration or behavior.
  2. Visually inspect the protein skimmer, powerheads, wavemakers, calcium reactor, dosing pumps, and auto top-off (ATO) system, if applicable.
  3. Check the aquarium temperature using a digital or glass thermometer.
  4. If you do not have an ATO system, top off the aquarium as needed using reverse osmosis freshwater only, since saltwater does not evaporate.
  5. Feed your fish and inverts according to their feeding categories.
  6. Clean the aquarium glass using an algae magnet. This should be done every 2 - 3 days, depending on your aquarium’s needs.


  1. Empty and clean your skimmer cup. This may need to be done on a less or more frequent basis, depending on your system and its bio-load.
  2. Check the pH, salinity, calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity of your aquarium. Adjust if necessary. This is also a great opportunity to check for phosphates and nitrates.
  3. Wipe down your tank, sump, and other equipment that is not submerged in order to remove salt creep and prevent corrosion.


  1. Thoroughly clean any algae on the inside of your tank, overflow boxes, and powerheads using an algae scraper and pad.
  2. Perform a 10% - 15% water change. Doing this on a biweekly basis will require less work in the long run and maintain a happier, healthier ecosystem. If you are unable to do this every two weeks, adhere to the 25% - 30% water change rule.
  3. Change out all filter pads and any filter socks that you may have.


  1. Replace any chemical media that you may have, such as carbon, nitrate, phosphate, or other resins.
  2. Clean the body and output of your protein skimmer. This will keep algae or other buildup from accumulating in your skimmer.
  3. Check the pH, temperature, or other probes that you may be using on your setup. Take the time to clean and calibrate them as well, especially if you are relying on a calcium reactor.
  4. Clean the internal aquarium powerheads and wavemakers, soaking them in vinegar to remove excess calcium or coralline buildup, if needed
  5. If you are not on a biweekly water change schedule, change the water now. A reef tank should never go longer than four weeks between water changes.


  1. Completely disassemble the protein skimmer and pump and clean these items thoroughly, including the impeller and housing. This will keep your equipment in tip-top shape and extend the life of your pump.
  2. Disassemble and clean the return and feed pumps.
  3. Check reactor media, if applicable.
  4. Wipe down bulbs and reflectors.
  5. Extensively clean all other vital equipment at this time.


  1. Change bulbs. (Note: T5 bulbs should be changed about every 8-10 months.)
  2. Replace all probes such as the pH, ORP, and temperature probes.
  3. Thoroughly inspect all equipment and replace, if necessary.