Setting Up A New Aquarium
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Setting Up A New Aquarium

This article will only point out a few things that are important to keep in mind when you are about to set up a new aquarium. For more details, I recommend that you download the e-book called “Tropical Fish” from the forum. Downloading the book is completely free of charge and will provide you with much more comprehensive information about how to set up and maintain an aquarium. By spending some time reading up on the subject you can save yourself a lot of problems (and money!) in the long run. A lot of new aquarists lose interest in the hobby when all the fish in their newly set up aquarium suddenly goes belly up, and this is sad because in most cases, this type of sudden fish death can be easily prevented. 

Location and surface

If you plan on using electrical equipment, e.g. airstones, heaters etcetera in your aquarium it must naturally be placed where you have access to electricity. Placing an aquarium where it will be exposed to sunlight is not a good idea since this will promote excessive algae growth. It is also important to keep in mind that a filled aquarium is really empty and normal your normal furniture may be not be strong enough to keep it up. Getting an aquarium stand or special aquarium furniture is therefore recommended for mid-sized aquariums and bigger.


Every thing that will go into your aquarium should be thoroughly washed to prevent disease and pollution from entering your aquarium. Use hot water and bleach rather than detergents, and meticulously wash away all traces of bleach afterwards. Gravel must be carefully rinsed unless you want the water to get really cloudy. Living things such as plants and fish can be dipped in saltwater to kill of external parasites and bacteria.

Water treatment

If you use chlorinated tap water you must add a dechlorinator before you use it for your aquarium since chlorine and chloramines damage the gills of your fish and kills of beneficial bacteria. You can purchase a dechlorinator intended for aquarium use in your local fish store. A less expensive way of treating the water is to mix a lot of air into it when you pour it into a bucket (e.g. by tilting the bucket) and then leave it to rest for 24 hours.

Filling the aquarium

Do not begin filling your aquarium anywhere else than in its intended place because it will become really heavy. When you have added the gravel, place a dish or similar on top of it and pour the water onto the dish instead of directly onto the gravel. This will divert the water and stir up less debris. Fill the aquarium half way up, plant any plants and add aquarium decoration, and then proceed to fill it all the way up.  


Connect all your equipment and leave the gadgets running for 24 hours. This will give you time to make sure that everything works as it should.


Cycling is the process where you cultivate large amounts of beneficial bacteria in the aquarium. These bacteria will help you keep the water quality up by converting dangerous fish waste into a less dangerous substance and maintaining an aquarium without these helpful bacteria is really difficult. Many beginner aquarists are not aware of the necessity of cycling and this is one of the main reasons behind sudden fish death in newly set up aquariums. I therefore strongly advise you to read one of the articles about how to cycle the aquarium. It is not difficult at all and it will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. You can also download the e-book “Tropical Fish” from the forum (for free) and follow the cycling guide.

Acclimatizing your new fishes

Start by introducing a small number of fish during the cycling process (unless you opt for a fishless cycle) and then gradually introduce more and more fish over the course of several weeks. This will prevent the water quality in your aquarium to drop sharply. When you arrive home with a bag of fish, leave the bag floating in the aquarium to prevent sharp changes in temperature. After roughly 15 minutes, open the bag and pour some aquarium water into it. DO NOT allow any water from the bag to escape into your aquarium water since it can carry disease. After an additional 15 minutes, open the bag again and add some more water. This process will give the fish a chance to gradually grow accustomed to the water chemistry in your aquarium. Wait for 15 more minutes before you use a net to catch the fish and let it into the aquarium. Discard the bag with the pet shop water.


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