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Setting Up An Aquarium Fish Tank}

Setting Up An Aquarium Fish Tank


A. Stevens

An aquarium fish tank can bring the beauty and splendor of tropical or freshwater fish into your home or office, and if you follow sound fishkeeping principles when setting up your tank it will bring you years of enjoyment.

Planning your aquarium

A visit to your local pet store or specialist fish breeder will help you decide on the type of fish youd like to have in your new aquarium fish tank. The staff at the store will also help you decide on the right size tank for the space available and supply all the necessary equipment and accessories that you will require.

However, dont buy any fish, yet! Youll need to establish your tank before you introduce any fish into it.

The first step is to thoroughly clean the tank. Dont skip this important step just because the glass of the aquarium looks clean. Use a mild detergent in warm water to scrub out the tank. Rinse out the tank thoroughly to completely remove all traces of debris and detergent. Flush out the cleaned tank several times with fresh water to ensure there are no traces of detergent left behind.

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Also clean all equipment that will be used in your new aquarium fish tank and rinse thoroughly. Even a tiny amount of leftover detergent can kill your fish so do not skimp on the rinsing process. Gravel should be rinsed under running water until the water runs clear. Plants can be stored in a clean bucket of water while you set up your fish tank.

Even a small aquarium fish tank is heavy one gallon of water weighs about 10 lbs so your new tank will require a sturdy stand. There are dedicated aquarium stands available that will provide a solid base, although a small fish tank might sit on another item of furniture. Use a layer of polystyrene tiles between the tank and the stand to even out any bumps.

When setting up your aquarium try to avoid placing it in direct sunlight, which will cause algae to grow in the tank. Remember it will need to be situated near a power outlet as many items of tank equipment require a power source.

Now you can fill your tank and check for leaks. Leave the water for several hours and confirm that the tank is not leaking and then drain the tank.

If you will be using an under-gravel filter place it in the tank first, following the instructions provided, then add the gravel, piling it a little higher towards the back of the aquarium to give the impression of distance within the tank.

Half fill the tank with water. Ideally, use dechlorinated water, or add chlorine remover in the recommended dosage. Place a dish in the tank on top of the gravel and pour the water gently onto the dish. This will create minimum disturbance to the gravel.

Next, install the filter and the heater if you will be using one. For an indoor freshwater aquarium fish tank a heater is rarely required. Tropical saltwater fish will generally require a heater to maintain the necessary temperature. If you are using a heater you will also need to install a thermometer in an easy-to-read location.

Now you can add your aquarium decorations. This could include a backing picture, rocks or other ornaments on the base of the tank. Create plenty of hiding places with the use of rocks and other decorations. Your fish will be glad of a place to hide from time to time. You can also install plants that need to be buried in the gravel at this time. Floating plants can be added when the tank is full.

Turn on the filter and the heater and ensure they are working before filling the aquarium to the top with dechlorinated water. This will start the process of tank cycling which is the process of eliminating excess ammonia from the tank.

Ammonia can be a problem when setting up a new tank as the bacteria that breaks down ammonia is not yet present. Over several months beneficial bacteria (nitrosomonas) will develop in the tank. The bacteria breaks down the toxic ammonia into nitrites. Because of the time it takes for the beneficial bacteria to develop in the tank it is recommended that you do not introduce fish for at least two weeks after setting up your tank.

When you are ready to add fish to your new tank try adding just a few at a time. Youll bring them home from the store in a plastic bag filled with water. Float this bag, still sealed, on top of the tank until the water temperature in the bag matches the water temperature of the tank. This may take several hours. Dont rush. When the water temperatures are the same you can carefully undo the bag. Let the fish swim out of the bag by themselves before removing the bag.

Watch your fish for several days or even several weeks to ensure they are healthy before adding more fish. Take your time to establish your fish population and youll give the biology of the tank time to adjust to the new fish and the waste they produce.

Always purchase your fish from a reputable dealer to avoid the likelihood of introducing diseased fish to a tank. Never add plants or fish from wild to a fish tank the microorganisms and bacteria attached to fish from the wild can be deadly for fish in a tank!

Setting up and maintaining an aquarium fish tank involves a commitment of both time and money but will reward the dedicated aquarist with years of enjoyment.

Alison Stevens is an online author and maintains

The Goldfish Site

to assist anyone who wants to get started with setting up an aquarium fish tank and keeping goldfish.

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Setting Up An Aquarium Fish Tank }

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