Setting Up Aquariums: Where Do I Start?
by: Joe Haworth
Setting Up Aquariums: Where Do I Start?
To set up fish tank aquariums you will need this equipment: filter, lighting, heater, gravel, plants and dÃ©cor. You will also want replacement filter media and aquarium test kits to examine water parameters and monitor the nitrogen cycle. I enthusiastically advise buying entire system fish tank aquariums which come with all the necessary aquarium equipment. This means you are not confused as to what precisely you need for setting up your fish tank or bewildered by the range of numerous types of equipment for sale. Purchasing tank aquariums with all you want gives you peace of mind and relieves a lot of pressure!
Establishing your aquarium
Before buying an aquarium you need to decide on the space you have free and investigate the adult size of the fish you want to keep, both of which will suggest the size and shape of aquarium that would be suitable. Considering all this has been carefully designed and your perfect aquarium is sitting with all the essential equipment ready to be set up, you can follow these steps to stress-free successful aquarium setup.
1. Position aquarium (on a stand, if needed) in an area away from direct sunlight, draughts and heat, as these alter the light and temperature of the fish tank. Also make certain that the floor is able to support the total weight of the aquarium 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. Position the under-gravel filter in the bottom of the fish tank (if your aquarium comes with one), following the instructions included.
4. Wash the gravel thoroughly in hot water using a sieve to take out any dust or debris. Add the gravel to the aquarium, covering the under-gravel filter. Create a gentle slope of gravel, deepest at the back.
5. Wash all artificial decorations and plants in hot water and arrange in the fish tank.
6. Fasten 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 shatter. Obviously, you need to have researched the species you anticipate to keep to learn about specific temperature requirements.
7. Set up the aquarium filter following the instructions enclosed, placing the filter media inside.
8. Put a dish on the bottom of the aquarium to break the force of the water and fill the aquarium with water that is at room temperature. Add de-chlorinator to the water if you are using tap water that is unfiltered. Look for any rare leaks as you fill the tank. (They are easily repaired with aquarium silicone).
9. Unless the lighting of the aquarium is previously fitted underwater, place the light on top.
10. Plug in all the equipment and check that everything is working correctly. Ensure 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 pass directly into the electrical socket.
Your aquarium is now ready to run in its self but is still not ready for sustaining freshwater fish. Beneficial bacteria needs to be established first, and the aquarium environment then needs to change as new fish are gradually added.
How to proceed after initial aquarium setup
Allow the tank to settle and the water stabilize for some days. During this time you should keep monitoring the water parameters using aquarium test kits to ensure they are ideal for the fish you intend to have (temperature, pH, hardness, and ammonia).
You will then need to begin the nitrogen cycle so your fish tank will be ready to support healthy tropical fish (see related article 'Setting-Up Tropical Freshwater Fish Tank Aquariums: The Nitrogen Cycle').
When the nitrogen cycle is finished and you start adding fish to your fish tank, you should start on a maintenance plan. Each day make sure that fish are healthy, especially during feeding times, and make sure that the filters and heaters are functioning properly. Wash your tank every one to two weeks and carry out 25% water changes once a month.
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