Freshwater Aquarium

Accessories Essential for Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance

An aquarium at home can add a lot to its interior beauty apart from the fact that fishes as pets help you relax after a tough day at work

Have you ever tried knowing how to carry out freshwater aquarium maintenance? If you own a fish tank, you would know how difficult freshwater aquarium maintenance is. It’s true that fishes do not require a lot of your attention and time when compared to most of the regular pets like dogs and cats. Nevertheless, you need to take care of them and the fish tank to some extent. Having a fish tank at home can brighten up your living space and fishes can be wonderful companions if you have kids at home. Observing fishes and helping to take care of them will plant a lot of important values in your children like caring and being responsible. It also helps them to learn more about the aquatic life and their survival patterns. So, it’s quite cardinal that you what do you need for a fish tank and the best way to clean a fish tank. These are, typically, low maintenance freshwater fish accessories that help you master aquarium care for beginners.

Why Do You Need Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance?

A freshwater aquarium maintenance checklist at home can add a lot to its interior beauty apart from the fact that fishes as pets help you relax after a tough day at work. However, not everyone knows to handle fish tanks well. If you’re a beginner, the significant issues that you need to watch out for are the death of your fish, diseases, and bad water condition in the tank. No matter how large freshwater aquarium fish tank you have, there are a few accessories that are mandatory for the tank like filters and gravel vacuums. Also, other accessories are not necessary but add beauty to your aquarium. In this article, we bring you top aquarium care tips for beginners and a few tropical fish tank care and aquarium maintenance accessories that you need to buy for better freshwater aquarium maintenance.

Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance Checklist Accessories

Aquarium filters

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Fish Tank Aquarium filters

It’s the primal thing required in tropical fish tank care and aquarium maintenance. If you do not have an aquarium filter, the environment that you’re providing your fish will become unhealthy after a few weeks. There are different types of fish tank filters that you can choose based on your requirements and the size of your tank.  Before getting into the types of filters in detail, you need to know the three basic types of filtration that happen in an aquarium- Mechanical, chemical, and biological.

Mechanical filtration is when the water in your aquarium is forced through a filter which is designed to catch particles that contaminate it. Chemical filtration process works by forcing chemicals through the aquarium water to treat other undesired chemical components and specific excessive nutrients that are present in the water. The third type of filtration is biological filtration which involves the breaking down of bacteria. It is also called the nitrogen cycle which has to be maintained well in the tank so that there’s no production of excess ammonia that can harm your fishes. This is a cardinal accessory in freshwater aquarium maintenance checklist.

Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO Aquarium Power Filters

An aquarium filter is necessary to keep your aquarium in the best of health. this LED PRO filter is available on for 26 dollars and is backed by a solid 4-star rating. The sizes that are available vary from 30-200 GPH. This filter provides chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration and additional assistance with the Aqueon specialty filter pads.

You don’t have to worry about the filter hanging up, in case of any power interruptions. The machine is self-priming and starts up from where it was interrupted and continues cleaning the water.


Sponge/ air driven filter

These filters are mostly used for nurseries and fish tanks with tiny fishes. A sponge filter is powered by an air pump that pulls the water in and filters it mechanically.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Sponge or air driven filter for fish tank

Biological filtration also happens in this case since there are beneficial bacteria present on the sponge. You have to use the aquarium water to clean the sponge so that you don’t kill the beneficial bacteria.

Powkoo Aquarium Fish Tank Air Driven Biochemical Sponge Filter Corner Filter Sponge:

This sponge filter works excellent for biological and mechanical filtration; it provides superior results and without any noise in aquarium care for beginners. It is available on for nine dollars, and a 4.5-star rating supports its credibility; the reviews have praised its efficiency and quality.

The ribbed design is excellent for increasing oxygen, providing the ideal location for bacterial colonization.

Hang On Back/Power Filters

These are the most common types of filters that are used by people who maintain fish tanks at home or in their workplace for the cleaning of the aquarium. They hang at the back of the fish tank and are capable of all the three types of filtration namely mechanical, chemical, and biological. Mechanical filtration happens when the aquarium water is sucked in through a siphon attached to the filter. This water is then treated by activated carbon that is present in the filter.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Hang On Back or Power Filters

The carbon removes all the toxins and undesired chemicals from the water. The last process is the biological filtration that happens inside the filter cartridge. A large number of beneficial bacteria living inside the cartridge are responsible for this filtration. Most of the hang on back filters today come with biowheels or biological filter pads.

Tetra Whisper Power Filter for Aquariums, 3 Filters in 1:

The tetra whisper power filter is designed for aquariums that are smaller than 40-gallons. It is available on Amazon for 15 dollars and has a 4-star rating as well. Reviews have praised the product for its capability to keep the water clean for a long time. All you will need to do is follow the simple guide that comes along with it while installing the filter.


Canister Filters

Canister filters are another popular option, and they are best used for fish tanks of capacity equal to or more than 40 gallons. They are great for saltwater and planted aquariums because they can perform much better filtration (all mechanical, chemical, and biological) due to their bigger size.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Cannister Filter Fish Tank

Canister filters are bigger and more powerful than most of the hang on back filters which makes them an ideal filter for larger fish tanks.

Polar Aurora 3-stage External Canister Filter with 9-watt UV Sterilizer for Aquarium 265 GPH Built-in Pump Kit Canister:

This product will cost you 60 dollars on, and although it may seem a bit pricey, I can assure you its worth the price… don’t believe me? Then you can go and read the reviews! The product has a four-star rating and is great for big fish tanks, up to 75 gallons with a flow rate of 265 GPH (1000L/hr).

It also includes a convenient self-priming pump that eliminates the need for manual siphoning.

Undergravel filters

Undergravel filters are placed under the gravel layer of your fish tank. They work by pulling the water up through tubes inside them called the “uplift” tubes.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
The Undergravel Filters Fish Tank

You can get these tubes working by attaching airstone and air pump or a power head to the top of them. Sadly, undergravel filters can perform only mechanical filtering.

Lee’s 70/90 Premium Under gravel Filter 18-Inch by 48-Inch:

This product is available on for 50 dollars, and has a 4.5-star rating which is amazing! The reason this filter is slightly on the expensive side is that of the large plates; now, the large plates reduce the need for the number of filter plates that may be required. The added strength of these plates makes the filter suitable for saltwater fish tanks.

Internal filters

Internal filters are ideal for small fish tanks with a capacity below 20 gallons. These filters come with suction cups, and they stick to the sides of the glass of the fish tank, but some people prefer to place it at the bottom of the tank so that the dirt does not have any time to swirl around before it gets sucked in.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Internal Filters Fish Tank

Some types of internal filters may require you to attach an air pump and airline to get water up the filter.

Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter

This internal Power Filter is excellent for your aquarium because it is ideal for all three stages of filtration; mechanical, chemical, biological. It’s available on for 24 dollars and has a solid 4-star rating! There are four variants of sizes that are in stock right now, and they are 10,15, 30 and 40 gallons. The direction and height of the water return can be adjusted.

Wet/Dry or Trickle Filters

These are not as common as the filters we discussed till now, and they are ideal for saltwater fish tanks. One significant portion of this filter is exposed to air while the other part is exposed to the aquarium water which encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Trickle Filters Fish Tank

These beneficial bacteria perform biological filtration and process waste products.

Tetra Whisper EX Silent Multi-Stage Power Filter for Aquariums:

The product is available on in a variant of sizes from 10-20 gallons to 45-70 gallons; you can take your pick, depending on the capacity of your fish tank. It’s priced at 16 dollars and has excellent reviews of customers singing its praises.

Fluidized Bed Filters

freshwater aquarium maintenance
The Fluidized Bed Filters

Fluidized bed filters also hang on behind your fish tank, and the aquarium water is pumped through layers of granules like sand, plastic or silica chips. You may need to buy a separate pump to pump up the water into the filter. This is also a crucial freshwater aquarium maintenance accessory.

Tetra Whisper Power Filter for Aquariums, 3 Filters in 1:

Tetra whisper filter is designed for smaller fish tanks, and is available in variants up to 60-gallons; you can buy it from


Fish tank heater and thermometer

A good aquarium water heater comes with a thermometer built into it. Fishes cannot withstand sudden rise and drop in temperature, and if you live in a place where the environmental temperature fluctuates a lot, you have to get a heater.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Fish Tank Thermometer

Fishes do not produce heat on their own and they completely dependent upon the temperature of the water which is highly influenced by the external environment temperature. While some fishes can thrive in cold water like the goldfish, tropical breeds like Betta requires warm water to live in. You need to get a water heater for your aquarium if you intend to keep tropical fishes.

There are different types of aquarium heaters based on their size and functioning. Below are a few of them explained for you:

Hanging aquarium heaters

Hanging aquarium heaters are the most common and inexpensive aquarium water heaters that you can purchase to maintain optimal temperature for your fishes. These heaters are hung behind the fish tank, and a glass tube with the heating element is suspended into the water.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Hanging Aquarium Heaters

Hanging heaters are inappropriate as well as dangerous for saltwater fish tanks since the salt water will pass electricity and can cause electrical shorts. In this case, the salt can corrode the tubes of the filter as well.

Uniclife HT-6050 Aquarium Heater Submersible with Thermometer for 10 Gallon Fish Tank, 50 W:

The price of Uniclefe is $10 and is currently available in store. This heater has a wide application and can be used for tropical freshwater fish tanks. It can be easily adjusted and displayed at the upper portion of the tank.

Submersible aquarium heaters

These are safer and more efficient when compared to hanging aquarium heaters. Submersible freshwater aquarium maintenance heaters are attached to the fish tank using suction cups or with a clip at the back of the fish tank.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
submersible aquarium heater

They can be immersed deep in the tank and can be placed horizontally, vertically, or in any other angle preferred. If your submersible aquarium heater has a thermostat attached to it, it’s better to place it horizontally in the fish tank.

Aquarium substrate heaters

Substrate heaters are not very common among freshwater aquarium maintenance hobbyists and others who want a simple aquarium at home. This is because it consists of a coil or grid of wire in an insulator and the whole set up is immersed in the substrate of the water. This coil or the wire heats up and radiates the heat to the water to maintain the desired temperature.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Substrate Heater Fish Tank

These heaters are usually used in planted aquariums and aquariums where the gravel acts like an insulator, keeping the roots away from the warm temperature. Substrate heaters solve this issue by heating the gravel as well and by maintaining their temperature warm which is good for the roots.

In-line aquarium heaters

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Inline-Heaters Aquarium

In-line aquarium heater requires water to be pumped through it so that it can heat it and send it back to the tank. These heaters rest alongside a plumbing line which is external and is usually attached to a filter that’s mostly a trickle filter, a canister filter, or a UV sterilizer.

In-Fitter aquarium heaters

freshwater aquarium maintenance
In fitter Aquarium Heaters

These heaters are built inside the aquarium water heater, and hence, they are called In-filter aquarium heaters. Water is pumped through the filter and is cleaned as well as heated at the same time before returning it to the tank.

In-sump aquarium heaters

These filters are not very common, but you may have heard of them if you’re into the aquarium as a hobby. In-sump aquarium heaters are set up in the sump of trickle filter and are placed outside the tank. They are different from In-filter aquarium heaters because they are fixed outside the filter.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
In sump Aquarium Heaters

One of the significant benefits of having an In-sump freshwater aquarium maintenance heater is that it keeps your fishes away from the danger of accidental burning. Fishes like Oscar may swim around and hit the heater which may also lead the heater to damage. To avoid all these issues, you can get an in-sump aquarium heater.

Substrate/ Gravel Cleaner

You need to keep cleaning the fish tank water every once in a while. Doing so ensures there are no sediments in the tank that will choke your fishes to death. The waste from the fishes and dust particles that fall into the water will be adequately cleaned if you’re using a gravel vacuum. If you have a planted fish tank, there are high chances of you’re a getting clogged fast because plants produce waste too.

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Gravel Cleaner Fish Tank

If you do not use a gravel cleaner regularly, there are chances of waste material and dead and decayed fishes (In case of any death) turning your fish tank water into a killing arena. This is because of the accumulation of ammonia in the water which is fatal for your fishes. Freshwater aquarium maintenance is much easier when you get an automatic gravel cleaner than a manual one.

Gravel Vacuum for Aquarium – Fish Tank Gravel Cleaner- Aquarium Vacuum Cleaner – Aquarium Siphon – 8 Foot Long Aquarium Gravel Cleaner With mini Net:

To have easy freshwater aquarium maintenance at home, this gravel cleaner will be of great benefit to you! Priced at 16 dollars, it’s available on Just insert the filter into the aquarium and squeeze the pump; you can spot clean by inserting the filter into the gravel and squeezing the pump and raising it slightly so that you don’t remove the gravel completely.

The product has a 30-day money back guarantee. If you are not happy with the product’s functions or if you want a full refund, then you’ll avail.

Sponge for freshwater fish tank care

freshwater aquarium maintenance
Sponge For Freshwater Fish Tank

Using a soft sponge to clean your tank can be a good idea if you have an acrylic tank. If your fish tank is made of glass, you can use a rough sponge since glass has better tolerance. However, make sure that you don’t scratch the glass which will reduce the visibility of the tank.


This sponge filter is very popular on and is quickly running out of stock. Priced at 8.53 dollars, this filter has a 4.5-star rating and is very high in demand. The reason it’s so popular is that the sponges are highly porous and maximize bacterial action. The sponges have a longer shelf life which helps in easy cleaning.

So order now, before they run out of stock.

Water Conditioner

freshwater aquarium maintenance
The Water Conditioner Fish Tank

Water conditioners are used to condition the water and create the chemical balance so that your fishes can thrive well. Tap water is not ideal for fishes due to its chlorination and uneven pH levels. Water conditioners help to restore the water quality of tap water. So, you can use it in your fish tank. Also, you can buy water conditioners that help to add beneficial bacteria to your aquarium so that your fishes and aquatic plants are healthy.

Aquatic Experts Premium Complete Aquarium Water Conditioner For Fish Tanks:

This water conditioner is popular, and you can view the rating and reviews on to vouch for the credibility! Priced at 15 dollars, this product is worth every cent. With just one teaspoon of the formula, every week, you will instantly get rid of Chlorine, Chloramines, Ammonia, and Nitrites; all this without any of the awful chemical smells.

Test Kits

freshwater aquarium maintenance
The Test Kit Fish Tank

Test kits help you to understand if your fish tank water is in good condition or not. Test kits for freshwater aquarium maintenance are usually pH adjusters. These are kits that help you to keep a check on buffers and other miscellaneous chemicals. It is a must to conduct tests on water before you add it to your fish tank. Test water quality every month to ensure.

API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit:

The API test kit is by far the most favored test kits for any fish tank pet parent. The various kits for saltwater and freshwater available on for 18 dollars. It has amazing reviews and a 4.8-star rating. The kit includes seven bottles of testing formula, one color card and four glass tubes with a cap.

Air pumps

freshwater aquarium maintenance
The Air Pump Fish Tank

Air pumps are vital for freshwater aquarium maintenance since they pump air mechanically into the water which helps the fishes to breathe better. Even though some people do not think that air pumps are necessary, it is essential that you have them so that your fishes do not feel suffocated inside the tank. The air pump is necessarily required when the fishes are many, and swimming space is less.

Tetra Whisper Air Pump for Deep Water Applications:

As with any freshwater aquarium maintenance guide, freshwater would state, that an air pump is essential to a fish tank; this air pump is one of the best in the market. Priced at 38 dollars, it’s available on and has a 4.9-star rating, along with reviews that vouch for its credibility. Tetra whisper air pump is specifically designed for deep tanks that have significant back pressure.


Owning any pet, aquatic or terrestrial, can be a huge responsibility! You need to have the proper tools to maintain a standard environment for them. Moreover, the same goes for aquarium fishes. Hopefully, with the help of the points and equipment listed above, you will be able to create a suitable habitat for your new fishes; by incorporating the proper freshwater aquarium maintenance, you will have healthy and vibrant fish for the long term. If you have any more queries to add, you can leave them in the comment section below.


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