So, you are committed to the life of the fish, and want to begin your journey by knowing how to set up a fish tank. You are just a few steps away from joining hundreds and thousands of fish owners around the world. To help build a healthy environment for your new fish family member, we have a step-by-step instruction on how to set up a fish tank which includes assembling and installing your new aquarium properly. Also, some important information about your fish tank, fish tank cycle (Nitrogen cycle) and the products you should have. Let’s get started.
Step by step guide on how to set up a fish tank
Step 1: Set up your Tank
This is a step that many people miss, yet it is the most important one if you want to have a successful aquarium.
Before you start looking at tanks, or equipment, you need to decide what species of fishes you would like to keep in your tank. Will it be a large tank with a large species of fishes, a small tank, or a breeding tank?
The type of fish that you decide to keep will determine the size of your tank, the water conditions inside the tank, the equipment you need, and the types of plants you need. Sit down and make a plan about what you want in your tank.
Step Two: prepare the Tank
Once you have purchased all your equipment, you are ready to set it up. Before you start installing any equipment, filters or adding water you need to make sure the tank is clean.
You need to use a damp cloth to wipe off any dust on it. It is also important to remember that any material you use in your tank (eg fabrics and buckets) should be new and only used for your tank so that you do not get any household chemicals or other products in your tank. Be careful to do this when you buy an acrylic tank. Acrylic can be easy to scratch, so you will need some cloth to clean the acrylic tank.
Once you have cleaned tank you will need to check for leaks. To do this, fill it with a few inches of water and leave for an hour. Run your finger along the lower edges to see if there are any leaks. If you find anything, you can use aquarium sealant to reseal the tank.
Now is the time to put your tank in the right place. Be sure to place it somewhere from direct sunlight, and near any power supply. You also need to make sure that the stand you put your tank is upright and strong enough – adding water to the tank can add a lot of weight to the entire tank. For example, a 50-gallon [50 L] tank weighs 100 pounds [100 kg] when empty, and when filled, it weighs 600 pounds. This is another good reason to have a tank in the right place before filling it, because it will be very difficult to move after it is filled.
Step Three: Apply Substrate and Water
Your tank is clean, in good condition and well positioned. Now it’s time to prepare your substrate and add water. The type of substrate you choose depends on your preferences, but sometimes it will be determined by the type of fish and plants you want to keep. For example, most Catfish need a sandy substrate. The amount of substrate you need depends on the thickness you want. The best rule of thumb to follow is 1lb of substrate per liter of water; this will be enough to make 1 thick bed.
Washing your Substrate
Although the substrate usually comes washed, it is probably very dusty and needs to be cleaned so it does not cause your tank to be cloudy. You will need to rinse the substrate before you put it in the tank. You can do this by putting a small amount in a bucket and filling it with cold water. Use your hand to wrap the substrate around and continue to clean it until the water runs as smoothly as possible.
If you have a lot of gravel that you can clean, you may want to consider doing this without a high-pressure hose. Some substrates (eg powdered coated gravels) do not perform well in this way and the water is very cloudy. Now that your substrate is clean you can put it in the tank.
Substrate in the tank
Start by just adding a thin layer to make sure you don’t scratch the bottom of your tank, then pour everything else. When you pour the rest of the gravel in, think about whether there are areas where you would like them to rise slightly, perhaps burying plant roots. Now that your substrate is in place, you need to fill the tank with water.
Adding Water to the Tank
Now, adding water varies depending on whether you’re setting up a saltwater or freshwater tank.
To prevent your sand or grave from being disturbed as you pour water, you can use a saucer to pour the water to prevent the gravel being disturbed.
When the tank is full, you will need to add de-chlorinator to the water. Follow the instructions on your bottle. It usually gives you an average of ml’s per liter, for example, 1 ml of de-chlorinator per 20 liters.
Before adding water in your aquarium, you need to prepare it first. For preparing saltwater, use water that has undergone reverse osmosis and also use a de-chlorinator. There are instructions on the packet that will guide you on how to do this and also ensuring you are using the right amount.
Step Four: Install the equipment
After putting the substrate and adding water, you can start installing the equipment.
Most set-ups require a filter.
All filters installations vary on the type of brand you have selected. You will choose internal or external filtering. Internal filters are easy to install, start by assembling all the components. The filter needs to go to the back wall of your tank, and then the wire connects to the to the power supply.
If you have selected an underwater gravel filter you will need to install that before adding water. Always make sure the filter is properly installed before you turn it on to power supply.
For an external filter installation, it usually resides within the stand, below the tank. External filter works by drawing out water from the aquarium into an external box, where the water is being pushed by a water pump through a series of different filters, then sends it back to the tank. Always make sure the inlet and outlet tubes are straight without bending so that water can come out and go back into the tank freely.
Many external filters need to be filled with water before connecting them to the power supply – this is called priming the system, which allows water to pass through the filter.
Once you have installed the filter, you need to install a heater if you choose a tropical or saltwater set up. Most heaters are self-explanatory and come with a dial to select the right temperature.
If you have purchased any other equipment that needs to be installed, such as air pumps, stones and lightings, you should do this now.
Step Five: Put your Plants and Decorations
Now that you have finished setting up all the components of the tank function, you can focus on making it look like you think. You may want a heavily planted tank; you may want a tank that looks natural with large stones, driftwood and just a few plants. Whatever you choose, be sure to follow the plan you made at the beginning of this process to help with the design of your tank. Clean each item to remove any dust before applying it, and place it in the correct place.
When it comes to putting the plants, you will also need to make sure that you follow the advice of each type. Many plants can be buried directly on the substrate, but some plants, such as Java Fern, need to be attached to the drift wood before they can be placed in the tank. Always do research on plant placement to make your tank as attractive as possible.
Step Six: cycle the tank
What is the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Recycling nutrients is known as nitrogen cycle. Here is how it works in aquatic habitats, at the highest level, bacteria and plants consumes nitrogen compounds from their environment, animals eat plants and bacteria, and plants and bacteria eat animal waste as their food.
In the aquarium, the same thing happens. When you feed your fish, it produces waste known as ammonia, and bacteria and plants consume this toxic waste so that the water is safe where your fish live. But wait! What happens when you just set up a new aquarium? What plants and beneficial bacteria can break down fish waste? That’s why we need cycling in the aquarium: a process to ensure that the ecosystem of your fish tank can process ammonia without killing your fish.
Cycling at the Aquarium requires a little effort and patience on your part, but the results are perfectly worth it. By preparing a safe ecosystem for your new fish, you greatly reduce the loss of life and make the maintaining of your aquarium easy.
There are several ways to cycle a fish tank;
When starting fresh water cycling, the first process you do is to add ammonia into your tank. Follow the instructions on the bottle; some recommend adding a large dose at first, others recommend adding a certain amount per day.
Perform tests in your tank once a week to check the levels, you will see the levels of ammonia and nitrite rise and then begin to decrease. As soon as they reach zero (0ppm), then you know your tank is fully loaded.
Salt water cycling
The most common method of cycling a saltwater tank is by using live rock because that is where the bacteria build up. Always choose lighter rocks – this means they will have more small nooks and crannies for the bacteria to build up.
The whole process takes 6-8 weeks. Once you have checked your ammonia and nitrite levels at 0ppm, make a 50% water change to remove any nitrate buildup.
Now you’re ready to add fish!
Step Seven: put Your Fish!
This is the step you have been waiting for with patience! You may have invested a lot of time and money in your setup and would be happy to introduce fish into your tank.
You need to make sure you put your fish in a little over a few weeks (or months); the amount you can add depends on the size of your tank. Start by not adding more than one inch of fish per 10 liters.
After that you need to get used to your fish. The purpose of getting used to the fact that fish are sensitive to any change in their water, so moving them from one tank to another should be done slowly. The current water level may be slightly different from the temperature of your tank, pH and salt.
If you want to be on the safe side, you can separate the fish in a separate area of the aquarium for a few weeks to watch it. Some people like to do this to make sure they do not show any signs of illness.
Congratulations! ou no know how to set up a fish tank and your new aquarium is fully ready and safe for your new fish family member.