Setting up your first tropical aquarium can be quite a daunting task. There are so many different things to consider. You want to get it right so these 10 easy steps should help.
1: You need to think about where you are going to place your tank. Keep in mind once you’ve placed it somewhere you’re not going to want to move it after it’s filled as this will disturb the whole set-up.
If you’re not happy where it is you’ll have to drain all the water out and remove the fish, again this can be very stressful for them. Another thing to remember when choosing where your tank goes is that you don’t want it in direct sunlight as this causes algae to grow on the glass and decor within your tank causing you a lot of work in the future.
2: Once your happy with the location you want to start filling it up with the substrate you’ve chosen. Wash it first in clean water. Then fill the bottom of your tank to about 5 centimetres deep.
3: Now you’ve got your substrate in you want to install your heater and filter unless these are built in. If you’re having trouble deciding between internal and external filters take my post here.
4: You’ve now got to the part where you can start adding in some water. You want to fill at least half way up your tank. Pour the water over a clean saucepan or saucer to avoid disturbing the substrate.
5: You can now add in any decorations. I tend to place bits like bog wood in the corner or centre of the tank. You can also try to hide your heater/filter behind these so when you look into your tank you don’t notice them. Placing your plants should also be done at this point. When you’re adding these in remember that once your tank is full your plants with fill out more.
6: Now all your decorations are in place and if you’re happy with the result you can continue to fill up the rest of your aquarium with treated water. You want to fill it up to about 5cm away from the top. Keep an eye on your plants as your topping up the tank to make sure they’re filling out how you wish and if not adjust them.
7: Now that everything apart from the fish are inside your tank and your happy with it you can turn on your equipment. Make sure everything works and that your filter is moving the water around effectively. Also at this stage you want to set your heater to the desired temp, I recommend 25-26 degrees centigrade for most freshwater tropical fish in a communal tank.
8: Now place your hood onto your tank and turn the light on to make sure this works and your happy with how your new aquarium looks lit up.
9: You should allow the water to circulate before you add any fish. You also want to check the water condition with a test kit. Normally I allow my tanks at least 24-32 hours to circulate before I add any fish.
10: You’ve reached the most exciting time. You can now start to add in your fish. I suggest only adding a few at a time to give the filter time to begin working fully. Once that happens you can start to add in the rest of your chosen fish.