Setting up a freshwater aquarium Part 1

By: gm333
October 22nd, 2008
4:58 pm

Setting up a freshwater aquarium Part 1

The following information and ideas have been organized for use by members of fishtankforums.com who have recently started a new aquarium (freshwater) and/or are planning on purchasing a new tank.

Part one

Step #1 : Determining the correct size aquarium

The purchase of a new aquarium is the beginning to an exciting and educational hobby. A properly set-up tropical fish aquarium will provide hours of enjoyment. The first thing that you must decide on is the size of the aquarium. Aquariums are available from 5 gallons to 55-gallons or larger. You will have to decide what best fits into your living space. There is an endless variety of sizes, colors and finishes that fit into any decor. The larger the aquarium, however, the easier it will be to care for your fish. That's because an aquarium is a self-contained aquatic world. The more water there is, the easier it is to maintain a stable environment. Larger aquariums can hold more fish and plants plus they put on a "wide-screen" display in your home or office.

Step #2 : The Equipment and Decorations

The four major pieces of equipment are the heater, filter, air pump, and hood (cover & light fixture). You will also want to add interest to your aquarium with decorations.
The heater...
Tropical fish require a steady water temperature of 76? - 78?F/24? -26?C. Goldfish prefer cooler temperatures and should not be mixed with tropical fish. Fluctuating water temperature stresses fish, making them more vulnerable to disease. High quality aquarium heaters minimize water temperature fluctuations. Select an Aquarium Heater based on the size of your aquarium.
SIZE OF AQUARIUM Heater Wattage Required
Up to 15 gallons/57 liter 50 Watt
Up to 30 gallons/113 liter 100 Watt
Up to 45 gallons/170 liter 150 Watt
Up to 75 gallons/283 liter 200 Watt
Up to 100 gallons/378 liter 300 Watt
The filter...
Another important component of your aquarium is the filter. Aquarium filters keep the water clean by removing suspended debris and harmful dissolved pollution. They also agitate the water surface which increases the oxygen level in the water. Three common types of aquarium filters are: external power filters, internal filters and canister filters. The external power filter hangs on the back of the aquarium. Internal filters are fully submerged inside the aquarium. Canister filters sit beneath the aquarium. Aquarium filters have cartridges or compartments that hold filter media, which keep the aquarium water clean and clear. All filters provide one or more of the following types of filtration. Mechanical filtration removes suspended particles like bits of uneaten fish food and other debris. Filter cartridges and sponge pads are examples of mechanical filter media. Chemical filtration removes dissolved compounds that cause odors and discolor the water. Activated carbon is a good example of chemical filter media. Biological filtration uses bacteria to break down harmful fish waste (ammonia and nitrite). Bio-media provide a specially designed porous network for bacteria to live in.
Canister filters can hold more filtration media than other types of aquarium filters.
The air pump?
Air pumps are used for bubbling ornaments, bubble wands, and air stones. When the bubbles agitate the surface of the water, oxygen is added to the water.
The size of the pump is dependent on the number of ornaments and the depth of the water in your aquarium. Refer to the pump box to guide you in your selection.
The hood...
An aquarium hood should consist of a cover and a light fixture. The hood looks attractive and helps reduce evaporation of the water. It also reduces the chance of losing fish since it keeps them from jumping out. Select a hood that has a fluorescent light to illuminate your aquarium. Fluorescent lights generate less heat and are more efficient than incandescent bulbs. If you want to grow live aquatic plants you must use a fluorescent light. Plants require the high-quality full spectrum light that only a fluorescent aquarium hood can provide.
Decorations?
The pet shop has a variety of aquarium gravels and decorations. Plan on adding about one pound (about ? kilogram) of gravel per gallon (4 liters) of water. If you plan on growing live plants you should use the finest gravel available. Avoid large pebble gravel when growing aquarium plants. The key to a successful planted aquarium is to select only true aquatic plants (not houseplants) and use a lot of them. One or two live plants generally do not grow well. It is best to fully ?aquascape? the aquarium all at once. Some aquarists are content to use plastic plants. Decorations allow you to create a nice home for your fish. They can also provide a hiding place for fish. Having a place to go and relax is important for some varieties of tropical fish. Decorations help them to do that. The gravel and decorations you choose should come from a pet store to make certain that they are safe for your fish.

Step #3 : Finding a good place to set up your aquarium

Set up your aquarium in an area where it can easily be viewed and enjoyed by family and friends. The aquarium cabinet must be on a level surface. Also remember that you will need a power outlet nearby for the equipment.

Step #4 : Filling your aquarium with water

Place the gravel, rocks and decorations into the empty aquarium and arrange to your liking. Place the filter, air pump and heater, but do not plug them in yet! Carefully follow the directions that came with your electrical equipment. To keep the gravel in place put a plate upside down on top of the gravel and pour the water into it slowly. This will keep the gravel and ornaments in place. After the aquarium is full of water, turn on your filter, heater and air pump. Adjust the aquarium heater. Don't ever add fish to an aquarium filled with plain tap water. Tap water is treated with chemicals that can harm your fish. It is important to be aware that municipal tap water is treated with disinfectants (chlorine and chloramines) that are poisonous to tropical fish. Use Stress Coat, or other conditioners to instantly neutralize these chemicals, making tap water safe for your fish.
Your tap water may not have the right pH for tropical fish. pH is the measure of acidity in the water. pH is measured from 0 to 14. A mixed combination of fish placed in the aquarium is often referred to as a community. Most community fish thrive at a neutral pH of 7.0. A range of 6.8 to 7.2 is acceptable for a community aquarium. Tropical fish can survive when the pH level is outside this range, but they will never reach their full coloration and beauty. Test the pH of the aquarium water with a Freshwater pH Test Kit. If the test indicates a pH outside of the 6.8 to 7.2 range, use Proper pH 7.0 to insure the pH is safe for your fish. Proper pH 7.0 automatically adjusts the pH of your aquarium to 7.0.

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1 comments on "Setting up a freshwater aquarium Part 1"

  • Ellen1226
    April 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Hey friend,
    Thanks for you to offer us more knowledge about aquariums ,And i think is more useful for someone who wants to keep Aquariums .



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