Before you decide upon buying fish you should know the basics
of aquarium setup. A proper aquarium will enhance the life
of your pet and also keep you content. Ready made aquariums
are available with local aquarium stores and you will get
guidance about handling the fishes, cleaning, maintaining
the aquarium etc. But it is always better to know every detail
about aquarium setup and do everything yourself for the safety
and better life of your pet. There are many books available
that will give you guidelines about aquarium setup, which
is essential for beginners. However if you still do not have
the literature of aquarium setup the following articles will
The first thing is planning on exactly what your goal is going
to be. Visualize what you really want and write it down. What
size tank, what kind of fish/invertebrates, the filtration,
lighting and chemicals needed? Plan everything that is required
for the aquarium setup and then start with the steps one by
Also, decide the location of the tank. A tank full of water
is no fun to move. A high-traffic area is recommended so the
inhabitants will not be frightened when admirers stop by for
a peek. Figure out a budget of the cost by inquiring at the
aquarium stores or your local pet stores.
FISH TANK PURCHASING
The tank is the next purchase and quite obviously the most
important. When shopping for a tank, look for smooth seal
lines (no bubbles) that keep a consistent thickness and taper
off finely on the edges of the seal. Most marine aquariums
use a substrate of fine sand and rock. Usually, depending
on your filtration choices, 2-3 inches is plenty. Rock is
expensive but required for a successful reef aquarium. It
is best to buy very little of this in the beginning to allow
your water to complete its breaking in cycle.
Salt additives will be needed to add to your local water.
Be sure to purchase a specific gravity meter to determine
the salinity of the water as you mix it and to monitor it
once the tank is setup. You will also need a thermometer to
control temperature. Try to buy a mercury tube you can stick
to the side of the aquarium with suction cups. These usually
have the ideal temperature marked on them and are very easy
A heater will most likely be needed to keep the temperature
constant when the temperature falls down. In addition, after
the first few days you will need to test the water to determine
when it is safe for other inhabitants and to maintain the
quality. Test kits for nitrate, nitrite and pH balance are
Lights come in two basic types for aquariums, fluorescent
and metal-halide. Fluorescents are less expensive and usually
adequate for smaller tanks. Metal halides cost more but last
much longer and have much stronger output for deeper tanks.
Filters make up a whole industry and make it very difficult
to recommend the right one for you. Traditionally, under-gravel
filters are the answer for tanks under 30 gallons. They are
inexpensive, easy to operate and generally do an acceptable
job. For larger tanks, more advanced filters are required.
FISH AQUARIUM SETUP
When you arrive home with your new purchase take the time
to plan ahead. Make sure wherever you set the tank that you
have good access to it. You will be trying to maintain an
even temperature so drafts, direct sunlight and other environmental
concerns should be considered. Make sure wherever you place
the tank on can handle the weight and won't sway, shift or
break. Adequate electrical outlets will be needed. After the
tank is in place, it is time to add the substrate including
any rock you have purchased. Try to place the rock in a place
where more can be added without having to move the rocks.
After the substrate is in place go ahead and add the water.
Water quality is essential to a marine aquarium. Depending
on your location and local water quality, you may need to
add anti-toxin chemicals to your water along with the salt
you have purchased. Adding the water to the tank the first
time is a little tricky. One of the best methods I've seen
is to put a bowl or pitcher in the tank and pour the water
into it. This prevents the substrate from being disturbed.
After the water has been added insert the thermometer and
hook-up the heater if it is winter and the water will be cold.
If it is not too cold yet, it probably will be soon and that
heater will kick in and save the day! Most heaters can be
adjusted so keep an eye on the temperature and make the needed
adjustments. If you purchased damsels or other starter fish,
now is the time to get them in the tank.
You must now start your filtration and again this can be very
detailed. It is best to follow the manufacturer recommendations
until you are more knowledgeable about the subject. The last
thing to add is the light. Aquarium should be never kept dark.
The average reef gets 10-12 hours of strong sunlight each
day. They also usually get strong moonlight at nights…meaning
it is rarely completely dark. Adjust light properly so as
give your pet a proper exposure. Turn on normal room light
for the first hour. Then turn on one tank light at a time
at thirty-minute intervals. Reverse the order at night and
leave a low light on in the room overnight.