Aquarium - A Beginners Guide >>
Though we love to have an aquarium at home but since we have heard that managing it is a problem we don't dare to have one. But that really isn't true.

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 be helpful.

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 one.

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.

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 to read.

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 a must.

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.

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.