Setting up your aquarium - William|
When starting up with tropical fish, for perhaps the first time, there are a few things to bear in mind and this article is here to help you.
Once you have decided which aquarium to purchase remembering to go as big as you can afford or keep as otherwise you will only regret it later when your tank is full and there are just a few more tropical fish you want to put in there! And purchased all the suitable equipment.
Ok so you've got home with your brand new aquarium you'll want to set it up immediately, its best to start with the gravel and other decorative ornaments, place it in a saucepan, small bucket or similar, run tap water over it quite vigorously to remove all dust, stir the gravel ensuring that no dust is left. Once this has been done its probably a good idea to pour boiling water over the gravel and shake it in the container before straining it off, the boiling water will kill any bacteria or other nasty organisms and prevent them getting in your tank!
Use a clean cloth and a bucket of clean water and clean thoroughly the inside of the tank, look for any leaks or cracks (hopefully there will be none!) Then empty or sponge out the water you have left in there. Your aquarium should now have no nasty residues or dust in it! Position the tank in the place you want it remembering that once filled a tank can not easily be moved use a level to ensure the surface you place it is on is flat, if not then the glass will put under stress and may crack, also remembering how heavy the tank will be make sure the place you put it on is strong enough to hold it, and if on an upper floor that the floor is strong enough for it.
1) Add the gravel, place it evenly in the tank, do not waste too much time on a design as when you add the water it will get disturbed again.
2) Fill the aquarium half way with dechlorinated water, once half full you will be able to sculpt the gravel the way you want it to look. If you wish to have plants then they'll need at least 5cm of gravel in order to establish a root system. Also add plants and any decorations you wish to add now as they will be easier to plant and position now.
3) Install the equipment place the filter in and secure it using the suction caps which have been moistened with water from the tank. Keep them turned off till the tank is full of water, once securely in position proceed with step 4.
4) Finish adding the water use your hand or the side of the tank to prevent the water splashing heavily into the tank and potentially upsetting your gravel and plants, use your hand above the water to soften the impact when the water actually hits the water surface of the tank.
5) Turn the system on Make sure all the equipment is working, the heater will take a couple of hours to get your tank to the desired temperature. The filter should kick in immediately producing both bubbles and water movement.
Thats it you now have an aquarium set up and ready to go! Well not quite!! Leave the filter and heater running for two or three days before you purchase your first fish for cycling the tank, alternatively you could go for a fishless cycle in which case you will have to delay adding the fish for several weeks while adding pure ammonia every day in order to build up a decent colony of bacteria in the filter. When adding the fish float the fish bag in your aquarium to allow the water inside the bag to adjust to the temperature of the tank, so when you introduce the fish there is not a big temperature shock, for 15 minutes gradually introduce a bit of tank water at this time and after 5 minutes release them into the tank. Please note that for first fish you should only have a few fish, for a 20 gallon tank 6 platies is ample for cycling the tank, adding more will just lead to fish dying because the ammonia produced by their waste is toxic.
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