Regular maintenance in a home aquarium is very important. It helps keep the tank clean and healthy for all of the inhabitants.
Water Changes are probably the most important part of regular maintenance. Over time the water collects more and more contaminants such as nitrite, ammonia and too much nitrate. To get rid of these we do water changes. How much to do and when you do it are debatable in my experience smaller more frequent water changes are the best. So it is much better to do a 10% weekly water change than a 40% monthly water change.
The tools needed for a water change are pretty simple. All you need is a bucket and a tube. In a planted tank the gravel cleaner isn't necessary and can actually be bad to use. When adding the water try and make it the same temperature as the tank water as too minimize the shock to the fish.
As you know plants do grow (surprise, surprise) and need regular trimming. To do this all you need is a pair of scissors. It is recommended that you find scissors that you will only use for trimming and nothing else.
Over time your filters and pumps and powerheads will accumulate a mass of gunk. It is good to clean this gunk out every 3-4 weeks. Just take out all the parts and rinse them with water. DO NOT use any chemicals!
Other Weekly Maintenance
Other weekly maintenance is needed and is pretty easy to do at the same time as your water change. Clearing the water and scraping off that darn algae are the main thing to do. To do the water clearing I simply take a fish net and collect all the floating leaves and other plant crap. For algae scraping I use an algea pad (bought for like $3.00) and scrape the glass clean of the algae.
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