How to Set Up an Aquarium
- Locate the tank on a strong, level surface or aquarium stand. A
thin layer of Styrofoam® under the tank will correct for any
surface irregularities. To avoid excessive algal growth do not
place it in direct sunlight. Be aware of any possible sources of
heat or cold and try to avoid them.
- Install the undergravel filter (if using one) and gravel.
Follow instructions for assembly and placement of the filter, its
air lines, and filter cartridges. Whether or not it is seal-coated,
gravel should be thoroughly rinsed in clean water. Count on a
minimum of one pound of gravel per gallon of water. Gravel depth
should be approximately 11/2 to 2".
- Water is next. Tap water that has been aged at least two or
three days will be fine. We strongly recommend treatment with a
water detoxifier (to remove residual chlorine or chloramine) and a
water conditioner. Follow these guidelines also when doing regular
water exchanges. To avoid disturbing the gravel, pour the water
into a shallow bowl placed on the gravel surface. Fill the tank up
to the bottom of the top plastic molding.
- Set up and connect the pump, other filters, aerators, heaters,
etc. Allow this equipment to operate for several days to
equilibrate water chemistry and temperature. Check and adjust pH to
proper level. Check water temperature at different times of the day
and make any necessary adjustments to the heater setting.
- Introduce the fish! Build the population gradually and monitor
water conditions closely at first as you gradually settle into a
regular schedule for monitoring and maintenance.
How to Maintain a Healthy Aquarium
- Keep tank temperature relatively constant and in the
recommended range. The number one promoter of fish diseases is
temperature stress. By selecting a good quality heater,
appropriately sized for your tank, you will take a big step in the
right direction. Submersible heaters-due to better circulation
around the element-are the best choice. They also tend to exhibit
smaller fluctuations between on and off cycles-another important
factor. Avoid placing your tank near sources of heat or cold and
keep it out of direct sunlight.
- Maintain a regular schedule of water changes. Do a partial
water change (roughly one-third of the total volume) every two
weeks. When gravel cleaning you should also remove one-third to
one-half of the total volume.
- Keep filters maintained and working well. This includes
everything from gravel cleaning, to checking and replacing
airstones, to renewing filter cartridges and media (carbon, filter
floss, etc.). Biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration must
be present to ensure against buildup of toxins, maintain water
clarity and remove particulates.
- Keep an eye on chemical balance. Water pH may be second only to
temperature in importance to the health of your fish. Know the
proper pH range for your fish and stay within it. With pH test
paper or probe, and chemicals to adjust pH, this is an easy goal to
achieve. Check tank pH once a week and any time water is added or
exchanged. The vital physiological processes going on in your
fish-including respiration-are depending on you.
- Avoid aggressive varieties of fish, slow-water fish (such as
angelfish), and fancy fish (like goldfish and guppies). Consult
your fish/pet store owner regarding compatible community
- Keep a few scavengers in the tank such as snails, crabs, algae
eaters, and catfish. They will make your tank virtually
self-cleaning. And remember, vary the shapes and colors to keep
fish watching interesting!
- Feed standard fish food according to package directions.
- Remove dying or dead plants and fish promptly