Saturday, January 1, 2011

Freshwater Aquarium Setup Tips

Freshwater Aquarium Setup Tips

By Lee Dobbins

Nothing can match the beauty of well-maintained fish aquariums. Setting up a freshwater aquarium can be fairly easy when you follow the correct steps for doing so. If you would like to have an aquarium in your home or office, you can start by thinking of the kind of fish you would like to have.
Selecting the fish you want will determine a few things about the tank you choose. One is the size and another is the type of plants you may want to add. Many beginners choose to use fake plants to avoid trying to care live plants while mastering the care of fish and aquariums first. Some fish only grow to be a couple of inches long while others can grow to be as large as your hand. Make sure you know how big the fish will get when choosing tank size.
Getting together all the items needed for set up is important. You do not want to get started and realize you have forgotten a vital item back at the pet shop. Making a list is best to avoid this happening. In addition to an aquarium, you will need gravel, a filter and replacement filter media, heater, thermometer, water test kit, and a pasta strainer for washing gravel before putting it into the tank.
Other important items needed include a special vacuum just for aquariums, fish food for the kind of fish you want, a small fish net, and a scrubber made for the walls of active aquariums. Keep in mind caring for aquariums and fish is a great responsibility. Water changes must be performed regularly and you will need to stay on top of any changes you see taking place with your fish and with the water for preventing disease or death.
Select an area in your home or office for placement of your tank. Be sure to choose a spot that is out of direct sunlight. Do not put the tank near drafty areas or too close to heat or air conditioning units. When buying your tank, make sure to get the right aquarium heater for the size of tank you are taking home. Maintaining a certain temperature is vital to a healthy environment for fish to thrive happily in. Place your thermometer away from the heater on the other side of the tank so you will get the correct readings.
Everything you choose to put into your tank will need to be washed in mild soap. Rinsing well is an important part of preventing chemicals from contaminating the water in the tank. Making sure you rinse away all soap residues to prevent this from happening. Wash gravel by putting it into a pasta strainer and turning it over and over under running water. Fake plants can be easily washed and rinsed in the kitchen sink as well.
Pour gravel into the aquarium you have wiped clean of dust and small debris. Some people rinse the tank out and wipe it dry with a lint free, clean cloth. This can be done depending on the size tank you select due to the weight involved in some larger versions. Be sure to never use soap of any kind inside your tank. Add gravel before placing plants or other decorations.
Place a small bowl or saucer plate in the middle of the gravel before pouring water into it. In this way, you avoid disturbing the placement of your gravel and other decorations from the force of the pouring water. Pour half way so you can arrange plants and decorations a final time before filling to the top about an inch from rim.
The cycling step of setting up your aquarium is vital for fish to thrive healthily. This process might take anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months. Cycling is a process that occurs naturally in water that allows balancing of nitrates, nitrites, ammonium, and ammonia. This is the time you will need to use your water test kit to measure for proper levels of each one. Ammonia and nitrate both are harmful to fish while ammonium and nitrates are beneficial. Follow specific testing instructions that come with your test kit for making sure tank water is completely safe for adding fish.
You might think about not using fish to start the cycling process when setting up a freshwater aquarium to prevent their death. Start your cycling by adding a few flakes of food to the tank each day. When the food begins to decompose, you will have the release of ammonia to start the process. Keep putting a little in each day until your test readings are perfect for safely adding fish.
Once you have your tank setup, one of the most important things is maintaining the eco system of your freshwater aquarium. You can find out more about that and get other tips on keeping healthy, vibrant fish at

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Posted by: Treat Fish Treat Fish, Updated at: 11:03 PM


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