To maintain a healthy aquarium, you need to routinely clean it. Other than cleaning there are other tasks to maintain the aquarium.
Here I am going to list some essential items to maintain an aquarium.
This is used to catching fish or removing debris and uneaten food. When you are doing the water change or cleaning the tank and need to move the fish to a temporary habitat the net comes in handy. It is easy to use and safe for fish.
This is one of the most important tools everyone should have who is keeping a fish tank. This is used to do the regular water changes. There are a variety of siphons available in the market. They come in different sizes. There are siphons which come with bulbs so you can start the siphoning process without sucking the fish tank water by mouth. Look for the small to medium sized siphon.
Siphons nowadays come with gravel cleaning attachment. Primarily the siphon tube has a wide mouthed tube attached to it. Using the wide mouthed end of the siphon you stir the gravel, This will raise the dirt from the gravel into the water. Now when you siphon this dirty water out it will take most of the dirt particles with it. This dirty water you take out from the tank is full of nitrates. This is an excellent fertilizer for your plants.
This is another one of the must have items for your fish tank. They also come in various sizes and shapes. Look at the specifications on the packaging. Most of them are submersible heaters and it will state if they are able to keep the tank at a standard temperature.
There are other heaters who have temperature adjusting mechanism. Submersible heater is better in design as you can place it horizontally near the bottom of the tanks. This has two advantages: 1. The heat rises and so the temperature in the tank is at the steady level. 2. During the regular water change the heater is submerged all the time since you do only 10 to 30% of the water change.
When purchasing a heater make sure you look at the heating capacity in watts. If your room temperature is within 5 to 10 degrees less than the target temperature of the aquarium, then a heater of 2.5 watts per liter should be enough. If it is more then that then you may need more watts.
You need to have a thermometer in your aquarium. The heater you put in does not show the actual temperature of the water. Thermometer will help you to keep track of the temperature. There are two main types of thermometers available in the market. One is a regular thermometer just like the ones you use it in your house. It has the mercury column, showing the actual temperature. They can be left floating in the aquarium or stick it to the inside of the aquarium using suction cups.
The other kind of thermometer is the flat strip type. They are usually applied to the outside of the aquarium walls. They show the temperature by illuminating the corresponding number using temperature sensitive chemicals.
Scouring pad and scraper
There are various types of algae which grows in the fish tank. Some can be easily removed using the scouring pad. Others are too stubborn, so you need to use a scraper. The best one I recommend is the one which has about a foot-long plastic handle and a metal blade attached to the other end. This will make your job of cleaning the inside of the walls a breeze.
Tongs and grabbers
This tool helps to take out the plant debris from the tank. These are also used to place the plants in the aquarium soil. They come in variety of styles and lengths. Buy one which is appropriate for your tank.
I prefer to consider the aquarium lights as essential for the aquarium. My reason is that I do not use filter. To maintain a healthy aquarium for the fish, I always have planted tanks. The plants need light. Without that the plants cannot survive. For this reason I always have aquarium lights. There are a lot of types of lights available in the market. Some aquariums come with lids and the lights installed in the lids. There are ready to install LED lights available. They come in various sizes and are very easy to install. Many of these lights come with remote control and option to change colours.
Should I buy all the above from the day one?
That is a good question to ask. When I started my first tank, I did not get all of them together but had to go and get as needed. At the same time keep in mind that there are few items which you will need from the day one. You will need to add lights as you are planting the aquarium before adding the fish. You also need to have a heater to keep the water temperature at a set level. The rest you can add as it suits you.