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Aquarium Setup - 5 Mistakes to Avoid

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

Buying an aquarium is a lot of work that most people do not even realize until after they have purchased their first aquarium. There are five different factors that can affect the health of a fish. These factors need to be taken into consideration to provide long-term health for the fish. Take the time to think about each factor before taking action. You should have considered these factors before purchasing the fish tank but if you haven't, here are a few tips to help you. Consider these things before even taking the tank out of the box.

Support of the Aquarium

Many people will set their fish tank on top of any old piece of furniture. This is just asking for a disaster down the road, especially if that piece of furniture is not stable. Most aquariums are sold with a warning that specifically tells people to place the aquarium on a sturdy piece of furniture or an aquarium stand that is made for this purpose. They are not trying to get people to buy an aquarium stand to make extra money. It is an important safeguard for your aquarium. Some people think their furniture is sturdy until they fill the aquarium with water and find that the legs on their table do not hold up. Any piece of furniture will not work. The furniture must be able to support the weight of the water and not suffer strain after months of holding up the weight. This is why it is important to buy a specially made aquarium stand that is built to be able to hold up the weight of an aquarium. A furniture built out of wood will warp after a while and if water continually gets onto the wood, warping and swelling will occur. If the aquarium is placed unevenly on the furniture, a stress crack will occur on the glass of the aquarium. A small crack will eventually turn into a large crack which eventually will cause the entire aquarium to fall apart. Fish will die and it will not be pretty. Do not take this risk of having a broken glass tank. Place the aquarium on an flat even surface that can hold the weight - preferably an aquarium stand.

Petco Kingston 29 Gallon Wood Aquarium Stand

Ameriwood 55-Gallon Aquarium Stand

Ameriwood 55-Gallon Aquarium Stand
Amazon Price: $429.00 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 13, 2013)

Lighting Problems

Another problem most beginners have is figuring out lighting. Most beginners don't even think about lighting. The lighting in an aquarium should be completely artificial unless there is only going to be plants in the tank. You should not let sunlight it the aquarium at all. Sunlight can cause major problems in a fish tank. One common problem with sunlight is a phenomenon called green water. This occurs when sunlight hits the tank for a few minutes. Algae growth will skyrocket in the tank and will float in the water making it look green. This is only caused by direct sunlight. Once it occurs, it is difficult to get rid of. This is why the aquarium should be placed in an area that is dark and away from natural sunlight. You do not want any sunlight hitting the tank. There is another problem that can be caused by sunlight hitting the tank. When sunlight hits the tank, it may cause the water to heat up which can hurt the fish. There are many types of artificial lights to choose from. The best advice is to talk to an expert at the aquatic store. Once you have the right lighting and get it into your house, you will need to install it the right way so it does not cause problems. The lighting should be installed according to manufacturer instructions. Although I have mentioned this before, you may need another reminder - DO NOT PUT YOUR AQUARIUM IN THE SUNLIGHT! (yes, I'm yelling)

Controlling Temperature

Controlling the temperature of a fish tank is important but that is not what I am going to talk about. Controlling the temperature outside of the tank is just as important as inside the tank. As I mentioned about about ten times, you should place the tank in a dark area, away from sunlight. Preferably against a supporting wall. Check the entire area for air conditioning vents or heating vents that are close to the aquarium. You do not want them to blow directly onto the tank. Both types of vents can make the tank too hot or too cold and it will be almost impossible to get the right temperature.

Marina Floating Thermometer with Suction Cup
Amazon Price: $17.99 $1.39 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 13, 2013)

Electrical Outlets

An aquarium will need power for the heater, filter and lights. This is why it is important to be close to electrical outlets. You will need anywhere from twenty-five to three hundred watts to run the heater. The heater does not run all the time. Less than one hundred watts will be needed for the lights but this can be more or less depending on the type of bulbs being used. I would estimate the lighting at around forty watts. A standard filter will need less than twelve watts even if two are being used at one time. They don't use much electricity. Adding up all the wattage can significantly raise an electricity bill. Not only that but you will need more than a standard electrical outlet. You will probably need at least three sockets so it is best to use a power bar. The power bar can sit on the floor with no trouble but you will have to make sure that no water drips on it. The best way to prevent water getting on the power bar and causing a short is to use a drip loop as most manufacturers require. Check the manufacturers instructions for further information on how to deal with water. Another way to prevent water drips is to mount the power bar high on the wall so water cannot drip down on top of it. The only way the power bar would get any water on it is if water splashed upward which doesn't happen very often. This will also prevent the possibility of getting shocked. A power blck, such as those that increase the sockets to six, automatically include a drip loop and they keep the power up high and off of the floor.

Fellowes 6-Outlet Strip with 15 Foot Cord

Fellowes 6-Outlet, 15-Foot Power Strip (99026)
Amazon Price: $25.99 $14.34 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 13, 2013)

Hunter Access

Fish have many enemies and some of them live right in your own home. Their biggest enemy and your favorite furry pet is the cat. When deciding on a spot for your aquarium, make sure that your animals cannot get into the aquarium to go hunting. Cats love to take a swipe at fish. Fish can be expensive so you don't want them to become a tasty treat for your four legged friend. Make sure that there is no way they can get into the aquarium.

By following these few tips, you should have eliminated most of the problems that occur with beginners. You may still run into problems but at least the aquarium technician won't laugh at you when you tell him what you did wrong. As long as you keep the tank on an aquarium stand, keep the tank out of sunlight, keep the tank away from hot/cold, keep the power bar up high, and keep your fish safe from predictors you can ensure that your fish will be safe. So sit back, relax and enjoy your new aquarium.

Freshwater Aquariums for Dummies

Freshwater Aquariums For Dummies
Amazon Price: $21.99 $3.98 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 13, 2013)
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