How to set up a fish tank?
Setting up a new fish tank can be hard, especially you want your precious fish that you have just brought back from a nearby fish store. Whether it is freshwater or saltwater, the information below is the very basic to set up a healthy aquarium.
- Lighting (optional)
Cycling your aquarium:
If you have been research about aquatic life, chances are you might have stumble on the term “cycle your aquarium”. It stand for the nitrogen cycle in your aquarium. You see, when fish produces wastes (ammonia), it is incredibly toxic for your fish. You don’t want to live in your own waste, do you? Well, fish doesn’t want that either.
Goal: To get the essential bacteria for your aquarium. This bacteria will break down fish waste (ammonia – harmful) into nitrites(less harmful) and then into nitrates(even less harmful).
There are two ways to cycle your aquarium, with fish or without fish.
Cycle with fish:
Fill the aquarium with dechlorinated water (using a chlorine remover product or let the sit over night to evaporate chlorine). Add a FEW fish with running filter, heater. You also will need the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate test kit.
Feed your fish daily and monitor the water perimeters with the test kit.
Days later, ammonia will rise, peak, and will start to fall dramatically. This is good. It means that the bacteria is breaking down the ammonia into something less harmful for your fish, nitrites.
Another couple days will pass and nitrites will do the same, rise, peak, and then fall. This means that nitrates are being created.
Keep testing the water every day until ammonia and nitrites stayed at zero. Then voila, your fish tank is cycled!
Cycle without fish (fishless cycle):
Essentially the same steps as above. However since there are no fish involved, there’s really ammonia for the bacteria to feast and grow on. We will have to introduce ammonia into the water manually using bottle of pure ammonia.
Add a couple drops every day to increase ammonia in the water. Test it everyday until you get zero ammonia and nitrites.
Setting up a filter:
There are three stages in filtering an aquarium.
Mechanical: Filter solid debris like fish waste and uneaten fish food. Keeping your water cleared of any floating particles.
Biological: Bacteria living in these small medias that have great surface area helps keep the ammonia down. Remember the bacteria that we were trying so hard to get above? This is it.
Chemical: Activated carbon helps to absorb the dissolved materials in an aquarium. Making a discolored water cleaned.
Setting up a heater:
They helps to keep the water of your aquarium stable and warm. However base on your need, you will need to decided with kind of heater you will need. This is pretty self-explanatory.
- Fill aquarium.
- Set up filter, heater.