How to Set up an Aquarium

The aquarium is a closed environment which is utilized for keeping and reproducing pet fish and ornamental plants under appropriate simulated condition. The aquarium should be introduced appropriately in your home in a perfect place to look perfect. It’s also very very important to know how to Set up an Aquarium. For properly setup aquarium, the following steps should be carefully followed:

Step-1: Selection of Aquarium

Aquarium selection is a very important task for keeping pet fish. Before selecting your aquarium following questions should be kept in mind:

  • What is the budget of the aquarium?
  • What are the maintaining costs of the aquarium?
  • What types of fish species do you keep in?
  • Are the fish species friendly?
  • What is the appropriate aquarium size for fish species?
  • Which filtering system is suitable for your aquarium?
  • What type of gravel or substrates will you use?
  • Which type of aquarium size does appropriate for your room?
  • Where will you place the aquarium in your room?
  • What type of lighting system will you use?
  • What type of decoration accessories do you need for your aquarium?
  • What type of aquarium heater do you need?
  • What type of aquarium plants do you need?

Step-2: Placing Aquarium

After selecting aquarium, firstly you have to take decision where you will put the aquarium. Because many tank environment issues depends on it. Its position should be relative to the window. I think it should be placed along the left side of the wall on a stand that will be able to hold its total weight and make sure the stand is level. The distance of aquarium from the wall should be 1.5-2.0 meters. This place is the most suitable to maintain a stable water temperature. If the window sill, you should immediately reject the place. Because this is the place of the sharpest temperature drops in the room.

Step-3: Cleaning Aquarium

After buying the new aquarium, the outside and inside glass should be cleaned to keep your tank environment healthy. To clean it, you use soft cloth or paper towel with the help of warm water. You can also use newspaper or a sponge to clean the glass. Aquarium cleaning mat is also utilized to keep floors and cover spotless and dry. In this case, you should not use spray cleaner or any chemical cleaning agents.

Step-4: Adding Gravel

Gravel is a very important substrate which is used to make the beauty of a fish tank. It makes a natural environment and enhances the beauty of an aquarium. It helps the pH balance of the tank water. It also provides space to live beneficial bacteria which help to break down the fish wastes. Many fish like to dig around in the gravel looking for food and algae. Plants also need the suitable gravel to form roots and take up food.

Generally, most of the fish prefer medium sized (2-3 mm) and smooth gravels. Because smooth surface gravels help to protect fish from any injury.

There are various types of gravel in the pet fish stores such as glass, hard gel or stone. To protect your fish and other aquatic life forms, you should choose gravels carefully. Before placing smooth gravel in the tank, it must be washed properly. In this case, gravel should be kept in a pot and boil it for a few minutes and rinse thoroughly. After washing it, you blot the gravel using paper towel which helps to remove the any chemicals that come from tap water. Prepared and fresh gravels should be placed in a tank in such a way that covers the entire tank bottom with 1.5 cm thick.

Step-5: Setting up Equipment

Lots of aquarium equipment are available at pet stores. Among them essential equipment include a filtration system, air pump, heater, thermometer, lighting system, Pasta strainer, Aquarium vacuum, Aquarium test kits, decorations, and a few more supplies. Besides these, lots of others equipment or gadgets are available makes your tank more attractive and interesting. To keep your fish happy and healthy, some very essentials equipment such as internal filtration system, aquarium air pump, decorative items, gravel substrates etc should be installed before filling up water in a tank. 

For betterment, you should buy good equipment because it is an investment and it will last for years. Without the addition of air pump, fish cannot survive. Air pump creates water movement which helps to produce dissolved oxygen important for your aquarium fish respiration. It can also help to produce a decorative bubble making your tank environment attractive. Lighting is essential for photosynthesis of aquarium plants which helps to grow plankton and aquatic plants. Generally, the community aquarium needs 2 watts lighting per gallon of water. But if your tank contains aquatic plants you need to use 2-5 watts lighting per gallon of water.

Assemble filtration system which helps to make water clean and provide healthy and disease free environment. To check temperature, attach the thermometer in such a place that you can monitor easily. You should also install the heater under water level to keep your temperature value between 24 and 25 °C. After properly installing all the instruments, these should be maintained carefully. To keep your fish tank clean and hygienic, you need to regular maintenance tasks. In these cases, following equipment are needed.

  • Aqu​​​​arium Glass Scrubber,
  • Bucket
  • An algae scraper
  • Gravel cleaner
  • Rubber gloves
  • A pair scissors for trimming live plants
  • A fish Net

Stem-6: Aquarium Decoration

The decor element is an excellent ornament which plays an important role in the life of aquarium inhabitants. They also use as spawning ground for fish. Both natural and artificial elements have some effects on water. In this case, the correct selection of decor elements should be done and makes the aquarium unique and beautiful for fish. There are many industries of aquarium accessories those produce lots of decorative elements and supply with reasonable prices. These elements are of two types such as natural and artificial. Among them, stones, snags, bamboo, reeds are natural decorative elements while driftwood, grottoes, caves, broken pitchers etc. are artificial elements of aquarium decor.

The stone or rock adds beauty to your underwater world. You can buy different types of stone with reasonable prices from the local pet shops. After buying, you should wash the stone properly in boiling water to remove any bacteria, fungus, parasites. There are some stones such as sandstone, limestone are not suitable to use in your tank because they contain dangerous metals which leech the water and very harmful for your aquarium inhabitants. It can also alter the water chemistry such as hardness and pH. In this case, you should take certain care to avoid those types of rocks or stones. Granite, slate, lava rock, petrified wood are the safe for your aquarium. They make the aquarium environment very healthy and safety. Stones should have sharp corners. Before installing the stones it should be washed and rinsed in boiling water thoroughly.

The natural snag is a tree or branch which is embedded in a lake or stream bed. It is very suitable decorative item for freshwater aquarium. It makes one of the most favorite types of scenery for your aquarium. It also creates wonderful natural sheltering habitats for your fish. Before using in the tank, it should be boiled for 2-6 hours in pure water with salt to make its brown color.

Grottos and caves are original types of decor for the aquarium which is very popular. Many species of aquarium fish particularly like grottoes and caves that help them feel comfortable and protected.

Driftwood is a one kind of wood which has been washed up by a body of water with the action of winds, tides or waves. In the aquarium industry, it is widely used by the aquarium enthusiasts because it can be aesthetically pleasing addition to the aquarium environment. In the pet fish shops, there are different types of driftwood available which offer unusual and beautiful layouts. Among them Manzanita, Rhododendron, Mesquite, Azalea and Corkscrew Willow are very popular. Before installing the driftwood, it should be cleaned thoroughly using brush to eliminate any dust or rubbish. After cleaning, it should be soaked, cured and submersible to eliminate tannin; then it is used as a showpiece. To make your aquarium healthy and beautiful, you should select the correct driftwood of different colors and shapes.

Step-7: Adding Aquarium Plants

Live aquatic plants play a vital role in the aquarium ecosystem. It is the main decorative element of aquarium decoration and it makes the aquarium looking more beautiful and improves the water chemistry. It harbors a bacterium which is responsible for the utilization of animal waste products and it also produces O2 and adds a nutrient which is very important for your aquarium fish. Many aquatic plants such as Javanese moss, Thai fern provide excellent spawning ground for your fish while the spring mosses serve as very effective natural filters and make your aquarium clean. Some algae such as Chlorella, Pheocystis release antibiotic substances which are harmful for pathogenic bacteria. At present, whole plantations of reeds, cattail and sedges are used for the treatment of wastewater.

You can also simulated plastic plants to make concealing spots for your fish. You can also utilize the plants to conceal any equipment in the tank that you need to cover for sophisticated purposes.

Large sized plants should be planted at the back side position of the tank while the small sized plants at the front side to show the natural beauty. Any dead leaf and stem should be removed to make aquarium clean.

Benefits of Live Plants

  • During the day it absorbs CO2;
  • It also absorbs various toxic substances from your tank;
  • It produces O2 for the respiration of your aquarium fish;
  • It provides space for beneficial bacteria which helps to breakdown the waste materials;
  • It severs as food source for many fish species;
  • It prevents harmful algae growth in the aquarium ecosystem.

Step-8: Adding Water and Switch on the Equipment

Unfavorable water conditions can destroy your aquarium environment any times and kill aquarium inhabitants. Excess nutrients, ammonia and low dissolved oxygen content are very harmful to your aquarium. After finishing all equipment installation, you should fill up the aquarium with water till just 2-3 cm below the top of the tank. The water temperature must be between 24 and 25 °C. Many factors affect the water quality such as food source, algae growing etc. It is very important to treat water before adding fish. When water is filled up, switch on the lights, run the filter and aerator constantly to keep your aquarium environment healthy.

Step-9: Adding Fish

Before including the fish in the tank you should cycle the tank water for four to six weeks so the tank can keep up a sound biological and chemical balance. Fish should be released into the aquarium after properly acclimating. Add more than one fish at a time in your aquarium. You should always choose healthy and disease free fish from the recognized pet fish store. In a 55 gallon tank, you should house 3-5 bottom dwellers, 3-5 algae eaters and other community fishes to make your fish happy and tank environment balance. You can add community fish species in your tank including Barbs, Rasboras, Danios, Rainbows, Tetras, Angels and other peaceful fish.

Step-10: Caring Aquarium

  • To keep your fish happy, you should carefully monitor the aquarium environment.
  • The tank water should have good water chemistry with a pH of 6.5-7.5, hardness of 8-12 ° dGH and water temperature between 24 and 26° C.
  • Before adding new fish, you should turn on or off any lights in your aquarium to make a less stressful environment for the fish.
  • 20-25 % Water changes should be done weekly basis.
  • Feeding your fish should be done 2-3 times daily with small amount to avoid waste of food.
  • Water temperature should be checked regularly and lighting should be provided 10-12 hours daily.

Final Verdict 

Running the aquarium is the most important starting point in the life of the aquarium world. Aquarium installation always should be done near the electrical outlet to supply electrical equipment to the aquarium because installed aquarium is not recommended to move. You should be able to observe the aquarium so that you do not need to move around the surrounding objects. In addition, the aquarium should be at a convenient height for observation.

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