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The Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up an Aquarium

An aquarium can become the beautiful focal point of a room, or it can just be a stunning way to enjoy aquatic life. Whatever your goal, you need to be sure that you don’t waste your time and money by making mistakes when setting up your aquarium.

You need to learn the various steps you must take to create a healthy and safe space for your new fish friends. It’s also helpful to get some top tips and find out some common mistakes, so that you can ensure your aquarium adventure is a success.

Steps to Set Up an Aquarium

Before you can begin setting up your tank, you need to choose one. As you’ll discover, there are many different types of aquariums. You can get some ideas here:

Make sure that you consider how much space you’ll have for your aquarium. Also, think about the type of fish you wish to keep. Beyond that, you can consider themes or the general look you want to go for when making your final decision.

Don’t forget to buy the equipment and tools you’ll need to set up and maintain your tank, but don’t buy the fish just yet. You have a few steps to get through before you can add the fish to the aquarium.

Prepare the tank.

Once you have everything you need, you can begin preparing the tank. You should give it a good cleaning to get rid of dust and debris. Don’t use soap or other cleaners. It shouldn’t be too dirty that you need these things. Plus, they could pose a danger to your fish.

Put your aquarium in the spot where you want it. It’s incredibly important that you choose the spot wisely, and set it in place prior to going any further in the process. Once you add water, you won’t be able to move it.

Ensure there are electric outlets nearby, and that it’s not in direct sunlight. Check that it’s level. You can use a level tool to do this.

Add the water.

You’re ready to add the water. Along with your water, you’ll need to add substrate, which is the material that goes on the bottom of your tank. It can be sand or rocks. Choose a substrate that’s compatible with the type of fish that will live in the aquarium.

Put the substrate in first. When you add in the water, make sure to not directly pour it on the substrate, or else, you’ll displace it too much. You should always use clean water free of contaminants. If you have saltwater fish, you’ll need to handle the salt preparation of the water, too, at this time.

Install the equipment.

Your tank will need a filter that will help keep the water clean and your fish healthy. They are usually fairly easy to install. Follow the directions that come with the filter kit.

You’ll likely also need a heater, especially if you have tropical fish. Make sure to install a thermometer as well to allow you to monitor the water temperature.

Other equipment you may want includes lights and air pumps. If you have a saltwater tank, you’ll need a protein skimmer as well.

Decorate the tank.

You’re now ready to decorate your aquarium. You can include almost anything you want to create the overall look you desire. There’s a range of things you can use, from rocks to figurines. Before adding anything to the tank, rinse the item.

Cycle your aquarium.

Your tank is probably looking pretty nice by now, but before you add your fish, you have to be sure the water is safe for them. To do this, you need to cycle the tank, which means to build up a bacteria bed. The bacteria grow in your filter and help remove nitrites and ammonia, which are toxic for fish.

To do this, you’ll add some ammonia to your aquarium and begin running your filter. Use test strips to watch the levels of ammonia and nitrite. You want them to reach zero. When this happens, the cycle is complete.

Add your fish.

The final step is to add your fish. You shouldn’t dump them all in at once. That could be a shock to them and cause death.

Instead, acclimate your fish to the new home. To do it, float your fish in a bag filled with their current water in the new tank for about 15 minutes. Then, open the bag and add in some water from the aquarium. Remove some of the bag water and refill with aquarium water. Repeat this process multiple times. Don’t rush the process. Acclimating should be a slow process.

Once you finish, you can remove the fish from the bag and put it directly into the aquarium.

Aquarium Set-Up Tips

Here are things to keep in mind as you set up your aquarium:

Common Mistakes to Avoid

The Spruce explains that making mistakes when setting up your aquarium can prove fatal for your fish, so to avoid such issues, here are a few things not to do:

Time to Go

Now that you have a good idea of how to set up an aquarium, along with ideas of what you should and shouldn’t do, you’re ready to get your own tank. Make sure to take time choosing your aquarium and tank, and soon, you’ll enjoy the soothing aquarium sounds and sights.

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