What should you be doing daily
Along with feeding my fish twice daily (once in the morning and once in the evening), I top off fresh water lost to evaporation—usually about a half gallon a day, depending on the humidity level in my home. This process can be fairly easily automated, however, eliminating even this simple step.
Each day’s routine also involves an inspection of all the livestock in my tank. I want to make sure that all the animals are present and accounted for (i.e., nothing has perished in the rockwork or leapt from the tank) and that everything looks healthy, uninjured, and disease-free. This really isn’t much of a chore, since it gives me an excuse to observe the tank and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Then I check water temperature and specific gravity to make sure these crucial parameters aren’t straying off course. Monitoring these parameters daily allows me to catch and correct subtle deviations using small adjustments rather than having to make huge (read: stressful to tank inhabitants) corrections after a precipitous change has occurred.
I also perform a quick daily inspection of all my heating, filtration, lighting, and protein-skimming equipment to make sure everything is functioning properly. I find it helpful to run my hand along the various lines, tubes, and connections to make sure everything is properly plugged in (I have a habit of leaving my heater unplugged after water changes) or connected and that I don’t feel any moisture from small leaks.
Because I keep corals and a Tridacna clam in my system, my daily routine includes the addition of calcium and a buffering agent. However, if you plan to set up a fish-only system, this step would be unnecessary.
Finally, each day I empty and rinse out the collection cup of my protein skimmer to prevent an overflow, and I wipe off any salt creep (not your humble author, but that crusty salt layer that builds up on surfaces exposed to saltwater spray) that is accumulating on power cords and other surfaces. You have to be especially cautious about salt creep on power cords, as it can eventually work its way down the cord into the electrical outlet, causing a short.
This may sound like a lot to do each day, but again, these are all very simple steps and virtually all of them can be completed in a matter of minutes.