Getting a new aquarium is exciting. You can’t wait to see it filled and start adding life. You may be tempted to just throw it on its stand and start filling your new aquarium the minute you get it home. But before you get too far ahead of yourself, there are still a few more tasks to be performed to avoid frustration later and ensure long lasting success & the best living environment for your fishes! Let’s take a look at the basic things what you need to do to make your first aquarium success.
Wash the new tank, but do not use soap
First of all, even with a brand new aquarium, it’s best if you give it a good rinse. Don’t use any soaps or detergents, as they can leave behind chemicals that might be harmful to fish. In fact, this rule is true for all equipment, tools, and anything else used or put inside the tank including your hands. If anything needs further cleaning in addition after it is washed with tap water, you can use white vinegar instead of soap. Just make sure you will wash it fully away when you are done. Bleach is another option that is utilized sometimes but is generally not recommended as it is often quite difficult to rinse away.
There are available also washing chemicals designed especially to be used for cleaning fish tanks and accessories & tools. These are usually biodegradable and are not harmful to fish at least in small quantities. However, in the most cases, normal tap water and a bit of vinegar will do the job without the need for expensive special cleaning solutions.
Make sure your new aquarium do not leak
Before you fill the tank with water, it is best to check that it does not leak. Brand new tanks very rarely leak, nevertheless it’s always better to be safe than sorry! This is an essential test to do if you have bought used fish tank. It could be even damaged during transport. Find an acceptable place to temporarily fill the tank. As with the final location of the tank, this must be a flat, level, even, and sturdy surface. Ensure that the entire bottom edge of the aquarium is in contact with the floor.
Try to test it at the place where a leak won’t result in an indoor flood. Fill the tank while trying to avoid spills to prevent confusion. Even a small leak can be problematic, but may not be immediately noticeable, so let the aquarium be there for a day or two. No puddles and it passes the test. Drain it back out in preparation for final setup.
Find the best place
Most people know where they are going to place the tank before they even buy it. Thank is actually a good thing. You can choose the model that fits exactly to its desired place. You might not want to put it in the place where it is exposed to direct sun light. Sun light could cause extensive algae problems as well as make it harder to maintain optimal water temperature.
Make sure the floor where the stand will be positioned is clean prior to the beginning then drag it into its approximate final location. When it’s fairly close to the final position you can set the aquarium on it.
However, for those who have a sump that doesn’t fit through the door on the stand make sure to drop it into the stand first while you still have the chance. Finally, line up the aquarium’s edges with the perimeter of the stand as best as you possibly can. If it’s the type of stand where its edge is flush with the edge of the aquarium it is very important to get it aligned exactly.
Now to consider the stand and tank’s position in relation to the wall. You’ll need the aquarium and stand to be at least far enough from the wall to allow you to easily reach behind it, roughly 6-8 inches. More importantly, you will need ample space for any equipment that will hang over the rear of the tank, like the filtration system. Hang any filters or other large equipment on the rear of the aquarium to make certain that it will fit.
Measure from the wall on either end of the stand nudging it closer or further away until the measurements match for the final alignment. Once it looks to be where you want it double check that anything hanging off the back of the tank can still be removed and replaced easily. Even though the ground should be perfectly level, it’s still smart to double check the top of the aquarium once it’s set up!
Hang any filters or other large equipment on the rear of the aquarium to make certain that it will fit. Measure from the wall on either end of the stand nudging it closer or further away until the measurements match for the final alignment. Once it looks to be where you want it double check that anything hanging off the back of the tank can still be removed and replaced easily. Even though the ground should be perfectly level, it’s still smart to double check the top of the aquarium once it’s set up!
Fill the tank and get nitrogen cycle running
Fill the tank with tap water, as there is not yet any living things inside, you can just fill the tank at once. Add any water conditioning chemicals, if needed. You can test also a water pH after the initial setup is done. Adjust the water temperature suitable for coming inhabitants. If you have plans to put in there some tropical species, you might need to use water heater.
Planning and creating a decoration for aquarium interior is an exciting task. If possible use living plants instead of artificial plants. Living plants have many benefits for the whole ecosystem. Remember to leave enough swimming space inside. You can also get decoration items where fish and other creatures could hide. Plants are also a nice way to create hiding places.
The last but not the least thing is to ensure that nitrogen cycle is working. After that, the aquarium is ready for new inhabitants!
Get fish for your aquarium
Now it is time to get fish. Actually, you should already know what species you are going to get as they might have specific needs for water temperature and pH level etc. Make sure that you will do your research about fish compatibility before getting new fish or other creatures. You need to know if they can live peacefully together and what kind of environment they need.
Do regular maintenance
Now the hobby begins. You need to of course feed your fish daily basis. Furthermore, you need to do regular maintenance for fish tank and accessories. That means cleaning, checking that filters work, and doing partial water changes, measuring fish tank pH level and checking water temperature etc. Read our article about taking care of freshwater aquarium for more information.
Hopefully, you found some helpful things and ideas from this post and this helps you to do setup the right way from the very beginning! If you have any questions or comments about setting up your first fish tank, please leave a reply below!