Fish Tank Setup & Care Guide by Fluval
This article will cover a step by step guide on fish tanks setup and care! Creating and maintaining the perfect aquarium environment can be easy, as long as you follow a few rules. This article gives you everything you need to help you get the most from your new aquarium. Just follow each step and you’ll be rewarded with happy, healthy fish and years of enjoyment and
interest. Most importantly, don’t skip any steps!
1. Choose the Habitat
Like any pets, keeping fish requires planning, patience, and care. First, decide on the kind of aquarium you want some time before select your fish. There is a wide variety of fish species suitable for first-time owners. Decide what kind of Habitat you want: Coldwater or Tropical.
Coldwater fish can live in unheated tanks. They are less expensive to keep and yet still provide a bright, attractive display. Coldwater fish have always been popular with the experts, but they are also ideal for children and beginners.
A heated tropical aquarium can be maintained with the minimum of effort or expense. A warm water environment allows you to choose from a wide variety of colourful and exotic fish.
2. Collect Your Essential Equipment
Let’s talk about the basic equipment to get started on your fish aquarium journey. Nothing quite beats a clean, well-kept aquarium. But such a thing does not come easy, it is the result of a number of essential pieces of equipment. Without some of this equipment, your fish may not survive and your aquarium will start to look murky and dirty. After all, this is where your fish is going to live, it needs to be well-maintained!
First, select your aquarium. Aquariums can be made of glass or acrylic and come in many shapes, sizes and dimensions. Glass is preferable, due to its ability to resist scratches. We recommend choosing the largest size you can to help provide a stable environment and more room for other fish and plants.
Second, you’ll need a canopy. The surface of the water in your aquarium plays a vital part in the lives of your fish. It is where many of them find their food, and where much of the oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged. Canopies also provide a secure cover that reduces any evaporation and contamination that may occur. In addition, a canopy provides safe and suitable housing for lighting, which is essential for your fish and plants to thrive!
Next, weigh your options on sturdy bases. Aquariums weigh a lot! Water is extremely heavy – roughly 1 kilo per litre – which means that the water in a fairly modest 40 litre tank will weigh close to 40 kilos! Add to that the weight of the tank itself and other contents like gravel, rocks, and ornaments. A strong base is vital as any uneven support across the base of the tank can prove disastrous. Aquarium brands such as Fluval should only be used with the correct, assigned Fluval stand.
Choose your filtration system. The only way that waste products can
be removed from the water in your aquarium is through filtration. Efficient
filtration is essential to make sure your aquarium stays clear, clean and
free from toxins, without the bother of continually changing the water.
Heaters are important in creating a livable condition for your new fish. All fish are cold-blooded – which means their bodies are the same temperature as the water around them. Coldwater fish, like goldfish, do
not need a heated environment. But tropical fish need the constant correct
temperature provided by a submersible heater. This is important as sudden
changes can cause stress and disease. Along with a heater, invest in a good thermometer so you can keep a close on your fish tanks temperature.
Find a good test kit and water treatment. Ensure your water is perfect by using Fluval water treatments to remove and neutralise any chemicals in your
tap water that may be harmless to humans, but deadly for fish. Fluval
Water Conditioner is specifically formulated to condition water as
soon as it is added to the tank, while Fluval Biological Enhancer helps
prepare the filter for your fish and maintains the aquarium’s natural
biological balance. Fluval Biological Cleaner breaks down organic waste
to allow the filter to collect it more easily.
Here’s the fun part! Gather some decorations like rocks, ornaments, and gravel that have been specifically designed for use in an aquarium. You can make your aquarium truly unique by combining textures, shapes, colours, and arrangements. Always rinse everything thoroughly before you place it in your aquarium. Add healthily growing natural plants for a great addition and enhancement to your water. Natural plants aid in filtration, absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Fluval offers a great range of plant fertilizers and a natural CO2 system which helps to keep your live plants healthy.
3. Find the Right Location
One of the joys of the aquarium is the striking effect it has on a room. However, there are a number of simple rules for locating your aquarium to get the most from it and ensure the health and welfare of your fish.
Make sure your aquarium is: Away from direct sunlight. If placed too close to a window, an aquarium can develop significant algae problems. Keep away from direct sources of heat, like fires and radiators. Keep away from sources of sound, like televisions or speakers. Place your aquarium on an even level surface. Give yourself room to easily access your fish tank. Again, remember, fish tanks are heavy – only use appropriate aquarium stands.
4. Fill Your Aquarium
The 4th step is to style and decorate your aquarium. Think about how you want your fish tank to look. Maybe you would like to reflect the decor of the room where the aquarium is placed? How about a minimal look? Or a lush, planted scene? Just changing the colour of the gravel can make a huge
difference to the look of the aquarium. Coupled with a background
colour or scene, you can achieve some dramatic effects easily and
After you’ve decided on your style, you can start filling your tank with all the essential equipment we mentioned in step 2. Remember to always read directions when installing anything to or in your tank.
5. Prepare Your Tank For Fish
Once your tank is properly set up, filled and planted don’t be tempted to rush out and start buying lots of fish. Fish should be introduced slowly and gradually, over a period of weeks rather than days, and you should make absolutely sure their environment is as perfect as it can be or your enjoyment may be short-lived.
Your tank may look ready, but the water is the most important part. Over a period of about 10 days, the ‘maturing’ process begins when natural bacteria, beneficial to fish, start to coat all the interior surfaces inside the tank, including gravel, decorations, filter, filter foam and the tank walls. You can speed up this process with Fluval Biological Enhancer. Fluval Biological Enhancer. If you don’t add Fluval Biological Enhancer, leave the aquarium with its filter running for at least 4 – 5 days before introducing one or two hardy fish.
Before adding fish, use a Nutrafin Test Kit to check the levels of toxins like ammonia, to be on the safe side. The new aquarium is vulnerable to a
condition known as New Tank Syndrome. Levels of ammonia suddenly peak and the developing populations of bacteria are not established enough to control it. These unstable conditions can be extremely harmful to fish.
6. Buy Your Fish
Once you are confident you have ideal water conditions, you can begin to introduce some fish. It is best to buy a small group of fish every two weeks, and gradually introduce them into your aquarium. This allows ample time for the bacteria to multiply and for fish to settle in before new fish arrive.
When it comes to having multiple fish, it depends on species and your
preference, but you should allow 3 litres of water for every 1cm of cold water fish or 2 litres of water for every 1cm of tropical fish. Fish are usually sold as juveniles so you will need to allow some extra space for your fish to grow.
Fish which shoal in nature should be kept in groups in an aquarium, otherwise they will fail to thrive, even in a crowded tank with other species. Species to be aware of if you are setting up a community tank: avoid territorial Cichlids, they require a special rocky environment, hardened water and will damage live plants.
Always buy your fish from a reputable retailer. Choose only healthy fish when buying fish. Look closely at each fish and check for health and vitality. Things to watch when searching for a healthy fish are: clear eyes, erect undamaged fins, good scales (no missing or damaged areas), no holes, lumps, or white spots on the body, regular respiration rate, gills should be red and not puffy or distended, and actively feeding. If you spot any signs of illness or poor health, don’t buy ANY fish from that tank.
7. Introduce Your Fish to the Tank
Helping your fish get used to your aquarium is important if your fish are going to remain healthy throughout this transition. Fish don’t like surprise and do not react well to rapid changes in temperature, poor handling, or quick and rapid movements. Please handle your fish gently and allow them enough time to get aqquanted with their new surroundings.
The best way to introduce your fish to your tank is as follows: Add a full dose of Fluval Water Conditioner to your aquarium. Turn off aquarium lights during acclimatization. Float the bag containing your fish in the aquarium forminutestues to equalize water temperature. Open the bag and add a little aquarium water (about 1/3 of the bag’s volume), wait 10 minutes and repeat. Carefully, remove your fish with a net and place them in the aquarium. If these are the very first fish in the aquarium, wait a full 48 hours before feeding.
8. Feed Your Fish
Fish need careful, regular feeding with a variety of the right types of food to remain healthy. Good nutrition means your fish will be colourful, lively, and free from illness and disease.
The amount of food your fish needs depends on their species. Every species is different and you should seek advice as to the right feeding regimen for your fish. As a rule of thumb, most surface eaters will eat the appropriate amount of food in about 2 minutes, 2-3 times daily. However, bottom dwellers take a litte longer – about 5 minutes.
DON’T OVERFEED! Just a pinch of food is plenty. A common mistake is to offer more food than your fish will eat. Excess food in your aquarium water will rot down and pollute the tank. A dirty tank means serious water problems, which is never good for your fish. Always remove any uneaten food with a net.
9. Prevent Disease
Prevention is better than a cure. Most living organisms can suffer illness at one time or another. The most effective way to deal with this reality is to simply prevent it before it happens. The consequences of having to treat a stocked aquarium can be very stressful and damaging. Many plants, fish, and helpful bacteria can suffer as a result of using medication or treatment.
The following list provides general points to help disease prevention:
1. Choose only healthy fish, avoid purchases from aquariums containing sick fish.
2. Purchase fish in limited groups and slowly build your fish population.
3. Consider a quarantine aquarium. This allows for observation and preventative treatments before exposing new fish to established aquarium inhabitants.
4. Follow proper acclimatization of new specimens.
5. Always condition new water with Fluval Water Conditioner before adding to the aquarium. Chlorine, chloramine, and metals are damaging to aquarium
6. Perform basic water tests and maintenance on a regular basis.
7. After power failures, ensure that all equipment is working properly. Observe fish carefully, temperature variations will stress them.
8. Regular illumination periods are important for fish and plants. Switch lights on and off at the same time every day or use an automatic timer.
9. If a medication has been used, after the treatment is complete, perform additional water changes and use Fluval carbon filter media to remove residual traces. Test water and dose with Fluval Biological Enhancer and Fluval Water Conditioner.
10. Supply regular feedings of various quality foods. Fluval fish food provides complete nutrition for increased health.
10. Control Algae
It is impossible, and undesirable, to eliminate algae completely. Some algae can be a sign of good health and balance in your aquarium, however, some are toxic and if not controlled effectively, can have adverse effects on fish and plants. Good aquarium maintenance is the best way to prevent algae from becoming a serious problem.
Avoid algae invasion by: Keeping your aquarium out of direct
sunlight and use the aquarium lights for about 10 hours a day. Change water regular.y Use low-phosphate foods like Nutrafin Max. Monitor your water every 2-3 days. Test phosphate levels weekly. In extreme or difficult cases, ask for professional advice. Use Fluval Biological Cleaner weekly to help break down and remove algae from decore and gravel.
11. Effectively Maintain
Regular care is essential. Caring for your fish means caring for your aquarium. Here’s a general guildine to help you.
Once a day: Feed fish and take care not to overfeed. Check all fish for disease and behaviour. Check temperature and make sure pumps, filters, and lights are running. Remove any debris like dead leaves, uneaten food, etc.
Once a week or once a fortnight: Partial water changes – but never change more than 40% of water at any given time. never completely empty your tank to clean it, it will stress your fish and disturb the natural balance of your aquarium. Change your filter media a half at a time to preserve helpful bacteria.
Once a month: Maintain filter, check the impeller, and change relevant filter media. Check your supplies of food, water, conditioners, and other regularly used items.
Once a year: Replace lamps. Change your Fluorescent bulbs. If your aquarium filter includes a UV steriliser, remember to replace the bulb.