I’ve said this line a million times in my 25 years in the industry and I’ll make it a million and one (if you’re scoring at home, it’s probably a lot less than a million so cut me some slack): “Any author that’s ever written a book about fish keeping agrees that an aquarium, even when things are going perfectly and water chemistry is spot on, still needs a monthly water change of at least 20%.”
Along with that water change, other essentials that should be done monthly are water testing, filter media changes, and algae cleaning. With that being the case, it’s easy to say monthly maintenance is the standard aquarium maintenance interval. However, there are other factors affecting the health of your aquarium that might require you to consider more frequent visits. One of these factors is algae growth.
Brown, green, whatever the color, algae will grow despite your best efforts. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s natural. In fact, algae growth is a sign that things are generally going pretty well in the tank. It just happens to look terrible to you and I.
When you have your aquarium serviced, it will be crystal clean and free of algae on all surfaces and décor. A week later, you’ll probably see some spots starting to appear here and there that generally just blend in a bit and aren’t too noticeable. A week after that, you’ll probably see some noticeable blotches, and the week after that you’ll be thinking “I’m probably due for service soon”.
Depending on the location of the tank algae growth may be a no big deal or may mean everything. An aquarium in a restaurant that is not stunning is not good symbolically, in the same way that a dirty bathroom can spoil the customer’s experience. On the other hand, a tank showing some algae in the kids’ playroom or a den is probably not much as much of an issue.
We have some clients that demand perfection and the term “museum quality” is what we can achieve with weekly service. Service every other week will result in a consistently clean aquarium, and also allows us to do more preventative maintenance to slow algae growth in the first place.
The requirements of your space and your aquarium service budget are the factors that ultimately decide frequency of visits. There are costs to have a trained aquarist come to your home or office and simply walk in the door, let alone the time it may take to service any given aquarium size. With that being said, you will always get more value out of hiring a trained aquarist (like ours) that a hobbyist who doesn’t know what he’s doing. You’re protecting a valuable investment, after all.
Be sure to speak with your service provider about cost of service up front, so there are no surprises and you can determine the best plan for your ongoing service needs.