Setting Up The Aquarium

Now that you have all the equipment and furnishings needed, it is time to set up the aquarium.  This will need to be done well in advance of purchasing any fish.

The key to a successful aquarium is planning, so start by getting out all the equipment needed, and keep it all close at hand.

  • Place the aquarium in the desired location (see here for more information)
  • If you have a picture to go on the back of the aquarium, this is a good time to stick it on.
  • If using an undergravel filter place this on the bottom of the aquarium and insert the tubes and/or plastic covers.  Place gravel carefully on top of the filter.  The gravel must be washed first, the easiest way to do this is to put it in a bucket, no more than half full, take it outside and run a hosepipe in to the bucket.  When the water runs clear, the gravel is clean.  The gravel will look best if either laid flat, or sloped from back to front.
  • Place the rocks and other ornaments in the aquarium now.  As with the gravel, make sure before they are put in the aquarium that they are clean.
  • Before adding water it is advisable to add in the filtration system, heater, air supply tubing and airstones.  Attach all these to the aquarium in the desired locations, but DO NOT connect to the power supply yet.
  • Time to add the water.  Place a saucer or similar container on the floor of the aquarium, and run a hosepipe or use buckets to fill.  If the water is directed on to the saucer first it will stop the impact from disturbing the gravel.  At this point only fill about two thirds full, so that when adding the plants the water does not spill over the top.
  • When adding the plants it usually looks best to have the taller plants at the back, with the shorter ones towards the front.  Ensure gravel is placed around the roots to hold them down.
  • Fill up the aquarium to the top now, and plug all the equipment in to the power supply and switch on.  Check all the equipment is working, the airstones may need adjusting by fiddling with the air flow valve until the flow is even.
  • If you are looking to introduce fish soon, add the dechlorinator now.

The aquarium is now ready to have fish, as long as the temperature is right, although I would recommend to leave it empty for a day or two before adding any fish.

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