How To Setup A Tropical Freshwater Aquarium

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Tropical aquarium setting up the tankNow that you have all your tropical aquarium requirements and all materials and essentials on hand you are ready to set up the tank.

You need to check that you have all the materials needed on hand and ready to go as with out all the materials you will be delayed as you need to proceed in steps for a proper tropical tank setup.

Depending on how you purchased your aquarium you may need to assemble some components like the cabinet or stand before you start follow the instructions that is provided with your product.

Position the stand out of direct sunlight where you want the aquarium to be placed, as moving the aquarium later when it is full of water will be very difficult indeed.

Place the tank on the stand and wipe the inside with clean water and a cloth to remove any dirt and grime that may of built up when in the shop this will stop any contamination of the aquarium.

Adding The Substrate

The next step is to add your aquarium substrate, for planted aquariums you need to use a soil substrate for fish only tanks gravel is sufficent, clean the substrate by adding to a bucket and rinsing with clean freshwater through the gravel or sand then drain the water and add to the aquarium in even layers along the bottom, with a glass aquarium this even layer is important as you may crack the glass with to much weight in one area.

Next add your rocks or stones very carefully and make sure there is a layer of substrate under heavy rocks or stones to protect the base of the aquarium from scratches, place any logs or drift wood in the required position do not add any live plants at this stage.

Filling The Aquarium

Now it is time to fill the tank to one third of the required level with tap water this way you can make adjustments to the layout with out putting your hand into a full tank, the water you place in the aquarium needs to be treated

When using tap water you can use a dechlorinator to remove the chlorine from the water or you can leave the aquarium full of water for four or five days for the chlorine to evaporate out of the water, once every thing looks right fill the aquarium to the desired level.

Install The Aquarium Equipment  

The next step is to install all the equipment needed to run the aquarium, setup the aquarium filter and follow the manufacturers instructions and test that you have water flow through the system, setup the heater and set the thermostat to the required temperature and try to set the heater in the flow of the filter water this will heat the water more evenly through out the aquarium.

Aquarium Lighting

The lighting system will need to be installed next, the lights are usually fixed to the underside of the aquarium cover to shine down directly on the tank set the timer and test all the lights are working correctly, it is a good practice to connect any power to a circuit breaker is case a lead is dropped into the tank safety first. 

Adding Aquarium Plants 

There is mixed debate for the optimal time to add the aquarium plants, before the nitrogen cycling or once the cycling has completed, before the cycling is our preference as the plants are part of the process, adding the plants once the cycling has processed will only disturb the environment by disturbing the substrate sediment and the beneficial bacteria that is present in the substrate.

Cycling Your New Aquarium

The next step is important and very essential before the aquarium can be used to the full extent, the tank needs to be cycled which is called the Nitrogen cycle this step accumulates nitrifying bacteria you can prestart this with a bacteria culture and ammonia or with a few small fish the process will take around thirty days to complete and regular testing for ammonia levels and PH levels before the aquarium can be fully stocked with fish.


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