How to set up your first aquarium


So, you have committed yourself to the fish life, congratulations! You've bought your shiny new fish tank but what now? To help establish a healthy and clean environment for your new members of the fish family, we have arranged a step-by-step guide on setting up your fish tank. Plus, we discuss all the critical information about your tank, the tank cycle (nitrogen cycle), and the necessary products.

Now, let's set up your fish tank

1. Remove the aquarium / fish tank from the box

Cautiously remove your tank from its box and place it in a safe place. Build your stand (if necessary) at this point. While you can easily reach the back of the aquarium, add your aquarium background if you've purchased one. If your tank comes with a light, make sure it's working by plugging it in and turning it on. You must clean the inside of the tank with a damp cloth (no soap) after its placement to ensure there is no dust.

2. Put your tank / aquarium in position

Once you've built your booth / stand and added your background, place your tank in its designated area. Doing this will now be much easier and safer than when it is full of water and is very heavy.

Tip: Check to see if your tank came with a level mat. Place this underneath to ensure a level aquarium. This is important and will help prevent cracking! If a mat was not provided you can always use a thin bit of foam.

3. Rinse off all ornaments and gravel

With some hot water (no chemicals or soaps), thoroughly rinse the gravel and any ornaments you may have purchased. This will ensure that they are free of dust and paint. Drop them into the tank, adding the gravel first and then the stones slowly and carefully to make sure it doesn't hit the tank's bottom too hard and cause damage.

4. Fill up your tank with tap water

You may want to use a water hose if possible. Begin filling the tank slowly to avoid clouding from the gravel.

Tip: Place a plate at the bottom of your tank on the gravel in order to stop the water from stirring up your substrate.

5. Turn on the filter (and heater if you have one)

Now is the time to turn on all the electrical equipment associated with your tank (DO NOT do this beforehand as this will damage your electrical equipment). The light can remain off for now. As a general rule, only leave the light on for up to eight hours a day, as once again, it can promote an overgrowth of algae.

6. Add treatments

Read all the instructions on your treatment bottles to add the correct dose to your tank. Add all treatments correctly. Biofilter products and water conditioners to establish beneficial bacteria are a must.

Tip: The only real requirement is water conditioner here as it removes the chemicals added to tap water to make it safe for us to drink - but not safe for fish! If you cannot find any water conditioner you can use rain water, however do test the rain water to double check it's safe.

7. Begin the tank cycle begin

Let your aquarium cycle and create a healthy and clean biological filter before adding any fish. This can take up to a month. To start the cycle, add a good pinch of fish food to the water; This will break down into ammonia, and the products that promote bacteria will begin to work. You can also add any live plants you have bought a few days into the cycle.

By allowing a healthy environment to develop, you will decrease the chance of your tank suffering from New Tank Syndrome, which is a toxic buildup of nitrites and ammonia.

You've set everything up, what's next?

Once all the necessary products have been added and the cycle completed (after following the product instructions), you should take the opportunity to bring a sample of the water from your tank (approximately 100 ml, in a clean container with a lid ) to your local PET store for free water quality tests. A member of the PET stock team can make sure the GH, pH, ammonia, and other levels of your water are optimal before adding your fish. If these results are positive, it's time to buy some fish family members. You can also buy water test strips / kits so you can do it at home.

Important note: Keep testing your water

Once you've added fish to your new tank, fish waste produced by fish could cause more ammonia to reappear. Beneficial bacteria will continue to consume ammonia. However, it is essential to keep a good eye on the tank while your fish are becoming accustomed to the new environment. Reacting to any necessary changes will help keep your fishy family members healthy and safe.

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