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Tips for Setting Up an Aquarium

Updated on September 14, 2011

Setting up an aquarium to get it ready for fish is always a fun thing to do! I know that if you have children they really enjoy being able to watch the fish as they swim around the aquarium and if your kids are like mine then they enjoy being able to help you setup the aquarium. I know that many people think that all their is to setting up a fish aquarium is putting water in, gravel, and a filter and your good to go. However, that is only if you are having a little goldfish bowl or only one fish. If you are planning on having an aquarium long term you will want to set the aquarium up properly to ensure that you will not need to worry about the aquarium set-up issues for a long-time.

While setting up an aquarium the first thing that you will want to consider after picking out your tank is figuring out where to put your aquarium. Remember once you have set up your aquarium you are not going to want to move it because of how heavy it will be and that could lead to the seals being broken in the aquarium which would mean needing to purchase a new aquarium. 

So when you are looking for a location to set up your aquarium in you are going to want to consider how much the aquarium will weigh and if the table that you have will support that weight. You will also want to take into consideration how much sunlight will the aquarium be getting once it is set up. This might seem like an odd thing to consider, but if you place it in to much sunlight you might end up dealing with an algae problem, I know that I made this mistake once and have been fighting algae on one tank of mine after about two weeks of it being set up. You will also want to consider the proximity to the nearest electrical outlet and the purchase of a surge strip. This is very important because you probably do not want to run an extension cord to the aquarium while you are setting it up because then you will have to use that to run your aquarium the entire time. I know for me I have mine close enough that the cords can easily reach the surge strip that I use for the aquariums.

Once you have selected the location of where you are going to be setting your aquarium up at you will want to take the gravel that you purchased for the aquarium and rinse it out. Now you might not think about doing this, but the gravel will be very dusty when it is in the bag and that dust can clog up your filter system rather quickly so you will want to rinse that off and it will also help get rid of any impurities that might be present in the gravel. Then after rinsing the gravel off you will want to take and spread it out along the bottom of your aquarium evenly. That way you will not have some areas with gravel piled up to the halfway mark of the aquarium and other points not having any gravel  at all.

Then you will want to assemble the filter that you will be using for the aquarium set up. Now this process can be rather challenging depending on the size of the aquarium that you are setting up. So you will want to refer to the manual for this portion to ensure that you do this properly and do not mess up your set up of your new aquarium filter system. However, one thing that you will want to do while you are setting up your new aquarium is rinse the filters off. Now this doesn't mean the electrical component because water and electric do not mix, but the charcoal filter that you will be replacing each month.Then to complete this step in the set up of your aquarium you will want to put the filter on the tank, unless your directions state to do it at another time.

After you have done this step then you will want to get a clean bowl and place it in the bottom of the aquarium. I know that you are probably thinking I am nuts right about now, but stay with me for a second because you are going to be pouring your water into the bowl. Pouring the water into the bowl will prevent the gravel that you worked so hard on getting set up just right from getting pushed all over the place. Because it will fill the bowl and just run over it like a little waterfall rather than just getting dumped in. I know that this is how I always fill my aquarium when I am setting my aquarium up.

Then you will want to place the heater in your aquarium where it can start heating the water that you just placed in. You will want to wait on placing your heater in your aquarium set up plan until it is filled with water that way it will not come on while you are filling the tank or before you are ready for it to. The air stone which needs rinsed off as well will then be able to be put into your aquarium at this point as well. With the air starting to flow into your aquarium when you plug in your surge strip and turn it on.

Now for some anxious future fish owners you will want to start putting the fish into your tank or purchasing them right after they get set up. However, you will want to wait a minimum of four days and typically a week before you purchase or place any fish in your aquarium that way the water can be filtered through and start building up some of the natural items that the fish are going to need to survive. If your aquarium came with it you will want to try to put in the water conditioner that is provided according to the directions which will also help in getting your aquarium set up for fish.

I know that these are some quick steps to help you with your aquarium set up, but you will also want to make sure that you read the manuals that are included with your aquarium as well to ensure that set up for your aquarium is done properly. Setting up a fish tank is a wonderful thing to do. I know that once you do have your aquarium set up you will be able to enjoy watching your fish swim around in your aquarium for years to come and if you are really lucky you will be able to enjoy watching your fish provide you with babies!

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