Aquarium maintenance in the winter

The old adage of ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ comes to mind when it comes to maintaining your aquarium. Aquariums are closed environments and because of that, you need to constantly be making sure that things are running as they should.

The winter months in particular carry with them a little added importance as even in warmer climates like ours here in Florida, the air dries out and bacteria in general finds the conditions for growing and reproducing to be much more appealing.

Here are some winter aquarium maintenance tips that can help keep your tank running as it should through the colder, drier season and give it a great shot to have an even stronger spring.

Water Changes

One of the most important things a tank owner can do is change the water in the winter every two weeks or so. A good standard to go by is about 10-15% of your tank’s volume should work just fine. You’ll want to vacuum the gravel, eliminate uneaten food and other residue that makes its way into the bottom of your tank that causes grime and harmful bacteria.

Test your water

Testing tank water is sometimes one of the most challenging maintenance tasks for a new tank owner to undertake. Water chemistry isn’t visible, so it’s something you simply need to be vigilant about on a more ongoing basis.

A great time to test your water is during the water change we discussed previously. You’ll want to make sure everything is balanced and checks out – from the tank’s pH, nitrates, nitrites and carbonate hardness. All of these chemicals can be purchased at most local pet stores so if you have questions on how to use them, simply ask someone at the store to walk you through it.


The filter is both the lungs and heart of your tank. Not only does it help keep bad bacteria out, but it helps grow and maintain good bacteria that’s essential to the overall health of your tank.  Filter media should be changed at least every four weeks and if you have a lot of fish, perhaps even more frequently than that.

Keeping on your tank in the winter is vital in the winter when the weather is a little colder, a little dryer and there’s more room for bacteria and other bad stuff to thrive. Like we said before, ask people at your local pet shop if you’re unclear on some of the maintenance you need to do or what kind of equipment you might need. Good luck!

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