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    Setting up a tank

    Setting up a Tank - Basic Guide

    Author:  Adrienne Dodge

    Must have equipment



    Water Conditioner/s (if required in your area)

    Fish Food


    Gravel cleaner/siphon




    Heater for tropical fish


    Plants – live or plastic



    Air pump and airline

    Test Kit

    Think of your fish as pets and give them good care and attention.  To keep the water clean and healthy care must be taken not to overfeed the fish or put too many fish in the tank.  It also means changing 25 – 30% of the water once a week, and cleaning the gravel bed and filter, and wiping any algae off the tank glass and ornaments.  If you have plants they will also require tidying/trimming.

    While this may sound like a lot it really only takes about 30 minutes.



    There are many different brands and styles of aquarium available ranging from small glass square or rectangular tanks with glass lids to large tanks with built in filters and lighting.  Before you choose the style you want you need to consider what sort of fish you want to keep.  The myth that fish only grow to the size of the tank is wrong; if you look after your fish well and give it good food, clean water and room to swim, it will grow to its full potential.

    As well as branded aquariums and stands, many glaziers will make aquariums to your specifications so you can have one built to fit a particular space.



    Handle your tank with care. Never attempt to move a full or partly full aquarium.  Make sure you have dry hands and always carry an aquarium from underneath, supporting the base at all times.

    Preparing your tank

    Using a clean, damp cloth wipe down both the inside and outside of your tank.  Never use soap or household cleaners on your tank.

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     Choose A Location

    If you have chosen an aquarium that comes without a stand, ensure that you place it on a surface that is strong enough to support its total weight.  An aquarium that is filled with water and has enough gravel to cover its base sufficiently weighs approximately 5.5 kilograms per 4 litres of water.  Always place it on a flat, level surface and place a piece of polystyrene at least 5mm thick between the stand and the tank base.  Ensure you have a power source near by.  Never place it in direct sunlight, as full or even partial sunlight will cause excessive algae growth.

    Adding gravel, plants and decorations

    Rinse your gravel well in a bucket of water and then add to the tank, slope it gradually down toward the front of your aquarium. Rinse and then place any rocks or decorations in the tank.  Ensure rocks can not fall down and hit the glass sides of the tank.

    Filling your Aquarium

    Place a saucer or clean plastic bag on the tank gravel.  Gradually pour the water on top of it.  The stream of water will gently deflect without moving the gravel.  Always fill your aquarium with water at room temperature.  Ensure you treat your water with a de-chlorinator - if you have chlorinated water in your area - before you add it.  When your tank is about half full - if you are putting plants in - now is the time to add them.  Place higher growing plants to the sides and back of tank, lower growing ones at the front.  Continue filling your tank to within 1cm of the top rim.

    At some stage of the filling process you will need to add your filter – this depends on the type of filter you have chosen to use.  The same applies to a heater if you are going to be keeping tropical fish.  Do not turn these on until your tank is full.


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