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Setting Up a Fish Tank

By Edited May 7, 2016 1 1

You have finally purchased all the equipment you need for your new aquarium. You have the plants, the tank and the hoses and whatnot. Now it is time to set up the aquarium. Most people will just throw all the equipment together without thinking about it, which will mean that they will have a few more problems after they get their tank setup. Thinking about a plan when arranging the aquarium will save a lot of time and problems after the tank is setup.

Before you begin, you should clean the tank thoroughly. Make sure the cleaning solution is completely rinsed off of the tank before putting water in it. the fish could die if there are any left over contaminants in the water. It is especially important to clean a used tank. Used tanks often contain diseases, mold and parasites. Microorganisms can live in the tank even without water. The best way to clean the tank is to use dish washing soap and hot water. Limit the soap to just a small drop. Rinse the tank thoroughly with hot water. Do this a few times to make sure all of the soap is gone. Fish will die from small amounts of dish washing soap. Everything that will be placed into the tank will also need to be washed. This includes all plants, castles, rocks and hoses. Use a clean bucket to clean the equipment. The bucket should be new as an old bucket may be contaminated with soap. The rocks and gravel can be cleaned under a faucet of warm water. Stir the gravel while cleaning and keep stirring until the water is clear. Some items, such as bogwood, will need to be kept in a bucket of water for a few weeks to get drenched. Bogwood will float if it is not wet. Hopefully, the bogwood you have purchased will have been sitting in water at the store. Choose the items that will go into the aquarium carefully. Some items will change the water chemistry in the tank. It is imperative that all items that will go into the tank are free from disease and microorganisms. This will prevent a change in water chemistry. To clean these items, place them in a bucket and fill the bucket with water and chlorine bleach. Remove all traces of the bleach by rinsing the items thoroughly with fresh water. You may have to soak the items in fresh water to remove all the bleach.

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After everything has been cleaned, you will need to decide where you will place your new aquarium. Finding the right spot is important to the well-being of the fish. The tank needs to be level and the floor should be flat. The tank should be placed on a sturdy piece of furniture. Fish do not like their tank to shake. An aquarium matting can be purchased at an aquatic center. Aquarium matting is placed under the aquarium to make the tank level. The best thing to do is to buy an aquarium stand to set the tank on top of. These look like a piece of furniture and will look good in most rooms.

Before filling the tank, check the water that you will be using. It can be tested by the county. If the water is contaminated with chlorine, you will need to get a water conditioner that will remove the chlorine from the tank. Chlorine is usually added to tap water to kill bacteria but it is not good for fish.

After the tank has been filled, check it for leaks. It is easier to find leaks when they are not being covered up by gravel, rocks, plants, fish and other equipment. Wait at least a day to make sure that there are no leaks.

Once you have determined that there are no leaks, the tank can be emptied and decorations can be placed inside. Start by adding gravel to the bottom of the tank. Some people like to use an under gravel filter, if so, plates should be placed into the aquarium before the gravel. A really neat thing to do is to slope the gravel. Add more gravel in the bank of the tank and less in the front. This will make it easier to view the aquarium. Usually, one to three inches of gravel is common. Some people like more gravel and some people like less. I think it depends on the size of the tank.

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Next, you should install the under gravel filter by reading the instructions that came with it. Now you should fill the tank half way up with water. Only filling it halfway makes it easier to add plants and decorations. The best way to fill the tank is to place a small hose on a plate that rests top of the gravel and let the water fill up. Hopefully, the hose will not disturb the gravel. Direct the water to flow towards the sides of the aquarium. The water should come out of the hose slowly and it should be pretty clear, especially if the gravel was cleaned well. Water may be a little cloudy right after it is poured into the tank but it should get clear after a couple days.

You can now install the equipment into the aquarium. The equipment that should be installed includes the filter, the heater and the thermometer. The heater should be installed close to the circulation to heat the tank evenly while the thermometer should be placed where it is easy to read. It should not be placed close to the heater. Do not plug in the equipment just yet. You still need to finish decorating the tank. Put the decorations such as plants, castles and sunken pirate ships in their desired locations. These items will create hiding places for the fish. They will feel like they are out in the wild this way. The hiding places will make them much more relaxed because they won't have to worry about predators. Another cool think you can do with decorations is to use it to hide cords and tubes. Place plants over a tube to camouflage it. Secure all decorations so they do not become a safety hazard. Make sure that the plants will not float away, the castles will not tip over and the pirate ship will not trap the fish.

Live plants are a good way to add some fun to an aquarium. There are certain plants that are great for beginners. As the aquarium shop what plants are best. The plants can be added at this stage. Some people like to wait until the tank has been full for a couple days to make sure the water is stable before placing live plants into the tank. Get a few books from the library to learn how to take care of aquatic plants. Some live plants will need to be planted, others can be attached and a couple should float on the surface.

Now is the moment of truth. You can plug in the equipment and see if it works. Use the instruction manuals that came with the equipment to make sure you are using it right. Finish filling the tank with water and wait at least half an hour before turning on the heater. The mechanical filter can be turned on as well. Install the rest of the equipment including the air supply, air stones and air pump. If something goes wrong, refer to the instructions that were included with the equipment to locate the problem. Monitor the water temperature for a few days and let the filter run for a day before adding fish.

The last thing that should be done is called cycling. The aquarium needs to by cycled before the fish can be added. There are many books written on cycling which you read to prevent fish death.

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Comments

Nov 18, 2010 8:36am
Deborah-Diane
Very nice, detailed article on how to set up an aquarium. It could save the life of a fish! :0)
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