Start with the foundation of your system - your equipment. Check all devices to make sure they are working properly. Also, find out if they are still performing efficiently. The Kill A Watt™ Power Strip is a great way to check. It measures energy consumption and can be an invaluable tool in alerting you to energy-stealing equipment that is costing you dearly in electric bills.
It's also a good time to dust your exterior equipment, untangle and tidy up cords, and ensure nothing is impeding equipment that requires good ventilation. Inspect tubes to make sure connections are tight, no kinks exist in the line, and that all passageways are free of debris. Take the time to disassemble tubing and run a bottle-type cleaning brush or the MagFox Aquarium Tubing Cleaner through them. Check your filter housing, as well as other submersed equipment. Remove algae and other deposited debris with an easy-cleaning mitt or algae scraper. Remove and clear your protein skimmer's collection cup as you usually do on a weekly basis, and adjust the flow regulator to optimize bubble size. Inspect and clean the skimmer's pump.
Though Bio Balls and other reusable biological media do not require replacement, they occasionally clog with debris, decreasing water flow. If this happens, you can rinse them (with aquarium water only). It's a good idea to use Drs. Foster and Smith Live Nitrifying Bacteria or Stress Zyme after this process.
Aquarium Cleanup - Inside and Out
Remember to perform a water test before and after to make sure your crucial parameters are in optimum range. Test kits alert you to problems with your biological filtration, water chemistry, and other factors that can be detrimental to the health of your fish. Testing takes away the guesswork, so you can promptly make adjustments to ensure the least stressful environment for your fish.
It's also a good idea to keep a written log of your observations and test results. Record these observations in a simple notebook and store it in the cabinet with your fish supplies.
Staying on top of maintenance helps prevent aquarium emergencies, and the fruit of your labor is a visually appealing, healthy display.