Speeding up maintenance and planning a planted aquarium

Iwagumi Aquarium Aquascaping

There are many ways to speed up the monthly maintenance and plant care on a rimless planted aquarium. The key is planning and designing the aquarium along with choosing equipment and aquascaping tools that make the task less challenging and more fun.

How much time does it take to maintain a planted tank?

Everyone loves a beautifully planted aquarium. The enchantment of a picturesque underwater environment is easy to like.  Creating it is a challenge to some and exciting to most aquarium hobbyists.

How much time is spent monthly on these sales can vary widely from not only aquarium to aquarium but often to the type of hobbyists?  Jeff Miotke, one of the best professional aquascapers, may spend twice as much time on an aquarium as the next hobbyist.  The key is that most aquascapers enjoy the time spent perfecting this living art form and find it fun.

Maintenance can take precisely as much time as desired for a planted tank. Ideally, it will take a minimum of 30-40 minutes and a maximum of 60-90 minutes weekly. This is the total time, and not all done in one maintenance session. In addition, another 1-3 hours every month is needed to do other (less regular) tasks. 

To complete the weekly tasks in 30-40 minutes, it is essential to plan and have the correct tools to make this maintenance more manageable and enjoyable.  It is money well spent as it saves time.

How should an aquarium be designed to be easier to take care of? 

Below are best case requirements to achieve this goal:

1. Have an open-top, rimless aquarium, which makes it easier to access. These types of tanks have lights that clip onto the back or aquarium sides and allow access without having to remove or turn off the lights. This is the link to choosing an aquarium.

2. The top edge of the aquarium should be below armpit height, making the interior easy to reach. It is more tiring to do the maintenance from a step stool or ladder. 

3. The height of the aquarium glass should be at most 24 inches. You should be able to reach the soil during setup and maintenance at the front and the back of the aquarium.

4. Water changes should be made with water prepared in advance and using hoses and pumps. Carrying  5 gallon buckets to change the water is physically challenging and often slow. It is nearly impossible to pour in the new water without stirring up the soil in an aquascaped aquarium.

5. Keep the aquarium stable.  This is easier by starting with and using higher-quality components. The four basic principles must be met: strong filtration, CO2 injection, bright light, and clay-based soil substrate.

6. Have proper, efficient, high-quality maintenance tools

It is difficult and tiring when trimming plants with low-quality scissors or tools, So Purchase the best that can be afforded.  VIV and Hydra Aquatics make the best, and UP Aqua makes some mid-range, more economical tools for aquascaping.

Choosing aquascaping tools for maintenance

This video reviews Cleaning your rimless aquarium—the tools to make it easier.

Cleaning tools for maintenance

Purchase a large enough pump so that water can be pumped easily from a distance without effort. This is used to pump new water back to the aquarium for a water change.  A large bucket with wheels, a quality pump, a Vincon flexible hose, and or a Lees gravel cleaning system will speed the water change process drastically.

7. Do not overpopulate the aquarium with fish. It will produce excess organic material resulting in more algae.

Tip – Use slow-growing plants. Although stem plants can be beautiful and help with the biological equilibrium of the aquarium, they require regular trimming; therefore, having them in the tank can be time-consuming. Some faster-growing mosses are also challenging to maintain as they do not float up to the surface and will disperse in the aquarium when trimmed.

Next, we look at the specifics of how to perform panted aquarium Maintenance like a pro.