How to set up your fish tank?

Having a fish tank is a great idea. You will bring life into your home and have a wonderful explosion of colors to rest your eyes on. But fish as pets are not an accessory for your home; they are also a significant responsibility. They rely on you to provide healthy and peaceful environment for them to thrive. Once you see them swim gracefully in your home, you’ll see that all your effort paid off.

Placement of your tank

Placement of your tank


This is a very important step. Your fish tank needs to be put in a place where there’s not much temperature fluctuation and the light is not too strong so you don’t get excess algae growth. Make sure there is at least 15 centimeters of distance between your tank and the wall. Don’t put your tank under a vent so you don’t get dust in your tank. Make sure the power cables for lights and filters can reach the wall and not make a mess on your floor and that you can bring water to your chosen easily for regular maintenance.

Setting up filtration system

filtration system


Most used and probably the simplest type of filters are under-gravel filters or power filters that you place on the back side of your tank. Under-gravel filters need an air pump too, so make sure that it’s enough for the size of your tank. If you choose a power filter make sure that it circulates enough water for the size of your tank. Volume of water circulated per hour (you read that on the specifications of your device) must be 5 or more volumes on your tank.  What is the best fish tank filter for you depends on the size of your tank and what kind of fish do you want to keep. It must provide three levels of filtration, mechanical, chemical and biological. Do not turn your filter on until you’ve completely filled your tank with water.

Grovel and decorations

Wash your gravel thoroughly with vinegar and rinse many times with water than place a layer of about 5 to 8 centimeters at the bottom of your tank. If you have an under-gravel filter, you must make sure that you’ve distributed your gravel evenly over it. Gravel is not expensive and comes in variety of colors. If you want to add additional decorations to your tank, use only the ones you buy at pet stores and that are intended for use in fish tanks. Those too must be washed and rinsed before you put them in your tank. Absolutely no soap or detergent is allowed to come into contact with anything that goes in your tank!

Add the water

fish tank water


Fill your tank with water slowly, first about 2 inches and then around the third of your tank. That way you don’t get a flood if there’s a leak. Once you’re sure there are no leaks, fill the tank almost under the rim, with about 1 inch left. Add your water heater and turn it on. You should not turn it on until you’ve added all of your water and you should let it work for at least two hours.  After that, turn on your filter and let it work for about an hour or two and check after that is the temperature in your tank stable. Water should circulate quietly and uniformly without disturbing your grovel. Add water purifier and bacterial growth catalyst to clean and dechlorinate your water and promote the growth of useful bacteria.

Wait, wait, wait

The most humane way to grow bacteria that will perform biological filtration of your tank is the fishless cycle. It needs to last more than 2 weeks and it must be completed before you introduce any fish to your tank. During that you monitor water parameters (pH, high pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate). First the numbers will rise and reach a peak than lower to zero. After that it’s safe to add fish. Continue your water tests periodically.

Bringing in new fish

Ask pet store workers about which fish get along together well. You can’t choose them based on aesthetics only, because some types of fish will fight each other until the submissive one dies. Having the best fish tank is all about balance. Add the smallest type of fish you chose first, and then keep bringing in new fish every two to three weeks in pairs. Ask about the size of the adult fish, don’t plan according to what you see in the fish tank, overcrowded tank won’t work.

Julie / July 22, 2014 / Home Decoration