Setting up an Aquarium

Finding The Right Location

Before setting up or even buying a new aquarium you should consider size and location. Where are you planning to put your aquarium? Most people choose the living room so that they can enjoy watching it during their leisure time. This should be a good place but consider whether you have a suitable space with a sound standing. If being put on floorboards check they are of suitable strength to support the weight of the tank. You also need to consider proximity to direct sunlight.

If the aquarium is too close to a window it can cause fluctuations in the water temperature and excess algae growth.

Water temperature can also be affected by the aquarium being too close to a radiator or heater so check this too. You will need a plug socket close by to run the light, filter etc. Also consider where the nearest water supply is, you will need to do regular water changes after the initial setup so if the closest tap is down stairs or at the other end of the house then this will make the task harder. If you are not using a fitted stand specifically for your aquarium then you will need to find a suitable piece of furniture to put it on. Make sure it is sturdy enough to hold the weight, cheap self assembly units are not always strong enough solid wooden furniture will be much more suitable.

Setting up the Aquarium

When you are ready to set up your tank get all of your equipment ready. Position the stand and check it is level. Place the aquarium on top and attatch any external backgrounds whilst you have access. Fit any under gravel filter plates if that is the sort of filter you are using and attatch the pipes. If you have an internal background then fit that now. Rinse the gravel to remove any dust then gently pour it onto the base of the tank. Don’t worry about it being perfectly level as it will be disturbed when you add the water. Prepare all your electrical equipment such as the heater and filter. If you are using a mulitplug extension lead then plug them into that but do not plug the extension lead into the main socket yet. Prepare any air pumps and tubing etc. if you are using it.

Now you are ready to start adding your equipment. The heater should be attached to the back of the aquarium with the suckers provided. It should be in the line of the water flow from the filter to ensure the water temperature is even throughout the tank. If you are using an internal filter this can now be put in place. It should be stuck to the glass on one side of the tank, with its outlet point where the water level will be.

Next add the rocks, wood and other decorative items. There is no rule of how you should arrange the decorative items, and since you will need to leave the tank to mature before adding fish you will have plenty of time to tinker with the layout once you have set the tank up. It is usually best to start with plastic plants as you will need the gravel to mature and the bacteria and silt to build up enough to support live plants which will take a few months.

Next you can fill the tank with water. Make sure you add the necessary water treatment to remove all the harmful ammonia and other chemicals found in tap water. Once you have filled up the tank you are ready to fit the hood. Many hoods have the lighting unit built in so you just need to add the bulb. If your aquarium does not have a built in lighting unit you will need to fit yours now and wire it up. Place the hood on the aquarium, making sure to place all the wires through the holes in the side of the hood. You can now connect the plugs to the socket and switch everything on. Check the filter is working and the light should come on on the heater as it starts to bring the water up to temperature. If you have an air pump check this is working properly and the air is flowing out of the airstone.

Now all you need to do is wait for your tank to mature ready for its first fish!

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