Place your new aquarium on an appropriate aquarium stand that is suited for the weight of water and gravel. It will be important that your stand is level. Your fish tank should be positioned away from direct sunlight and any air vents. Fill the aquarium with about two (2) inches of water. Rinse the substrate (gravel/sand) and then add it to the aquarium. Note: You will need approximately 1-1.5 lbs of gravel per gallon of water. Once the substrate has been added fill the aquarium about half full of water. Next, add plants, rocks,driftwood and any aquarium decorations that would like to have to recreate your environment. You can then finish filling the tank with water. Place the heater in the tank, but do not turn it on at this time. Allow the heater glass to acclimate to the water temperature in the aquarium for one (1) hour before plugging it in. You can camouflage the heater behind any decorations rocks, driftwood or plants.
Please follow the instructions for the aquarium filter system you have chosen. Once your filter in in place, you can add the thermometer . Place it one the side of the aquarium on the opposite side of the heater about halfway up glass so that its is easy to read and unobtrusive to the view of your fish. Add water conditioner to the aquarium, and turn on the filtration system. Depending on the types of fish you would like to keep, it may be necessary to test the pH and water hardness and make adjustments using proper aquarium chemicals or natural buffers to recreate a specific environment. Your Aquarium Adventure staff member can help you determine what is needed.
Now place the aquarium top in position and make any adjustments (cut outs in the back) to accommodate the heater, filter, and cords. Turn on the light and heater. An 8 to 10 hour lighting cycle is recommened. Putting your lighting system on a timer will help you with the recommended 8 to 10 hour lighting cylcle. Make any final adjustments to the heater in order to stabilize a temperature between 74-78 degrees.
All newly set-up aquariums must go through a filter conditioning process in order to sustain fish life. Please see see our “New Tank Water Conditions” fish tip. It will take the water approximately 4-6 weeks to condition or cycle. During this time only a small number of fish can be added to the tank. Once the aquarium has been set up and running for a minimum of 24 hours, six (6) 1" to 1.5" size fish per 10 gallons of water, which translates into four (4) 2 " size fish per 10 gallons, can be safely introduced. Over the next several weeks when the water quality tests of Ammonia and Nitrite reach zero, more fish species can be added.
It is very important to feed small pinches at a time. If food is falling past the fish and resting on the bottom, too much food has been fed at one time.
Partial water changes are the single most important procedure you perform on your aquarium. Remove 30% of the water every two (2) to three (3) weeks and replace it with fresh water, which has been treated with an aquarium water-conditioner and is about the same temperature of your aquarium. Make sure that you are using the gravel vacuum or cyphon at least once a month. The gravel siphon will also pull water out your water change. If we have not yet shown you how to do this, let us know.
As a general rule, the filters will need to be cleaned once a month. The carbon will need to be changed monthly. The sponges will need to be rinsed and reused. They will need to be completely changed after 3months. The bio-media should not have to be changed. It may need to be rinsed if it gets really dirty. It is best to rinse the media off with used tank water. You will want to clean the filter during one water change and clean the gravel during the next water change. It is best to alternate cleaning the filters and gravel vacuuming. Cleaning all of it at one time would be too much cleaning at once will disrupt the biological filter, the beneficial bacteria, in the aquarium.
Clean unsightly algae using an algae pad or magnetic algae remover when it is necessary. Keep in mind that some algae left in the tank can be beneficial, as it provides a food source for certain fish, and it also creates oxygen for the aquarium environment.