Setting Up Freshwater Fish Aquariums: Where Do I Start?

Aquarium equipment

To set up tropical freshwater fish tank aquariums you will need this equipment: filter, heater, lighting, gravel, plants and dcor. You will also need replacement filter media and aquarium test kits to assess water parameters and check the nitrogen cycle. I enthusiastically recommend buying whole system aquariums which come with all the vital aquarium equipment. This means you are not bewildered as to what exactly you need for setting up your aquarium or bewildered by the array of different types of equipment for sale. Purchasing tank aquariums with all you want gives you peace of mind and relieves a lot of hassle!

Setting up your aquarium

Before purchasing an aquarium you must decide on the room you have free and research the adult size of the fish you want to keep, both of which will show the size and shape of fish tank that would be suitable. Considering all this has been carefully designed and your ideal fish tank is there with all the necessary equipment ready to be set up, you can follow these steps to hassle-free successful aquarium setup.

1.Place aquarium (on a stand, if needed) in an area away from direct sunlight, draughts and heat, as these change the light and temperature of the tank. Also make certain that the floor is able to carry the full weight of the fish tank when filled with water (approximately 10 pounds per gallon of water).

2.Rinse out the aquarium with water as hot as you can tolerate. Do not use detergents or soaps as residue will be detrimental to tropical fish.

3.Put the under-gravel filter in the bottom of the aquarium (if your aquarium comes with one), following the instructions included.

4.Clean the gravel thoroughly in hot water using a sieve to eliminate any dust or debris. Add the gravel to the tank, covering the under-gravel filter. Create a gentle slope of gravel, deepest at the back.

5.Rinse all artificial plants and decorations in hot water and display in the aquarium.

6.Fix the aquarium heater to the inside of the tank with its suction cups but do not plug it in for at least 30 minutes until the thermostat has adjusted to the water temperature, otherwise the heater may break. Obviously, you need to have researched the species you plan to keep to learn about specific temperature needs.

7.Set up the aquarium filter according to the instructions included, putting the filter media inside.

8.Rest a dish on the bottom of the aquarium to break the power of the water and fill the fish tank with water that is at room temperature. Add de-chlorinator to the water if you are using unfiltered tap water. Check for any rare leaks as you fill the fish tank. (They are easily repaired with aquarium silicone).

9.Unless the lighting of the aquarium is previously fitted underwater, put the light on top.

10.Plug in all the equipment and ensure that everything is working correctly. Make sure there is a dip in the cord before it reaches the electrical outlet, known as a 'drip loop'. This ensures the water drips off onto the floor and does not run directly into the electrical socket.

Your aquarium is now ready to run in its self but is still not ready for supporting tropical freshwater fish. Beneficial bacteria needs to be established first, and the aquarium atmosphere then needs to alter as new fish are gradually added.

How to continue after initial aquarium setup

Allow the tank to settle and the water stabilize for some days. Throughout this time you should keep monitoring the water parameters using aquarium test kits to guarantee they are proper for the fish you propose to have (temperature, pH, hardness, and ammonia).

Nitrogen cycle

You will then need to begin the nitrogen cycle so your aquarium will be ready to sustain healthy freshwater fish (see related article 'Setting-Up Tropical Freshwater Fish Tank Aquariums: The Nitrogen Cycle').

Aquarium upkeep

When the nitrogen cycle is finished and you start adding fish to your fish tank, you should initiate a maintenance schedule. Daily ensure that fish are healthy, especially during feeding times, and ensure that the filters and heaters are operating correctly. Clean your fish tank every one to two weeks and carry out 25% water changes once a month.

Copyright 2009 Jill Kaestner @ Kaestner Marketing LLC