So you say to yourself “I’d like an aquarium”. That’s terrific! Aquariums are awesome for all sorts of reasons. But then, you realize you’re more than a little bit fuzzy on how to proceed. Maybe it will be your first aquarium setup. Or maybe you’ve had a tank in the past that ended in disaster with little or no clue as to what went wrong. Or maybe your first aquarium is doing just fine and you’re looking to try something a little more complex. In any case, you’ll find everything you need here to make this aquarium a success.
Aquarium setups come in all shapes and sizes and levels of complexity. Some use only the most basic of equipment while others end up looking like a scale model of an oil refinery. Likewise, some people strive to keep bizarre or unique creatures often requiring precise or unusual conditions while others are happy with a few goldfish. The point is there is no one right way to set up an aquarium. Meeting the needs of the desired inhabitants comes first of course, but personal preference plays a big role as well. As such, keep in mind that the goal here is to teach you the essential components and principles of aquarium setup and how they apply to your desired tank.
Aquarium Setup In A Nutshell
Setting up and maintaining an aquarium really isn’t all that difficult once you know the basics. You may already have some of this covered, particularly if you are getting back into the hobby and already have all or some of the old equipment and a touch of experience. Or, you may be starting with a pre-built kit that comes with everything you need, more or less. In any event, the major steps of aquarium setup have been separated out here so you can easily skip to the most relevant portion. Let’s take a look at what they are.
First comes gathering all of the necessary supplies. There’s the tank of course, along with a filter, heater, cover, and so on. There are also a handful of other items you may wish to acquire as well, some of which you may already have even if you’ve never kept an aquarium before. All in all very easy as long as you know what you’re after.
Putting It Together
Then you have to put everything together and get it all running. Again, not hard, though there are plenty of tips and tricks that can make it all the easier.
On a related note, before actually putting your aquarium setup together and filling it with water you need to make sure you have chosen an appropriate spot for it. An aquarium on an unsound footing is a very bad thing indeed.
Cycling Your Tank
Next, and this is a very important step that’s often glossed over, you have to cycle the tank. This is essentially a process that prepares the tank’s filtration for fish. Skipping this step is what all too often leads to dead fish and frustration for new aquarists. Cycling your tank is quite easy; the most it will demand of you is patience as the whole process does take about a month. But, and always remember this, aquarium keeping is not a race.
Adding Your Fish
Once your tank is cycled it’s finally ready for your first fish. Picking the right fish is partially a matter of preference, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to be learned about the options available. You may have something in mind or only a vague concept of what you want. Either way it’s important to know what makes a fish a good candidate and some do’s and don’t's when it comes to picking tankmates.
And after you’ve found he right fish you still have to get them into their new home. Again, easy peasy, but it still has to be done right. Moving into a new tank is very stressful on fish and easing this stress as much is possible is the goal. And in the case of a marine tank, even more attention needs to be taken, especially with any invertebrates.
Maintaining You Aquarium
Finally, with your aquarium up and running, all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy. Oh, and cleaning. There’s always a catch, isn’t there! You tank will need some regular maintenance, but again none of it is all that difficult. Generally it won’t require more than a few minutes of your time a day and maybe thirty minutes or so once or twice a month. And as with anything that could be considered maintenance, diligence is key. Setting a routine and sticking to it is the best way to avoid a plethora of possible problems.
Common Aquarium Problems
What’s that? Problems you say?!? Despite you’re best efforts you’re bound to run into a few snags along the way- everyone does. For the most part everyone encounters the same few problems eventually, which turns out to be a good thing as it means there are lots of solutions at the ready. Algae is probably the most common. Sick or dieing fish is another big one. But, there’s plenty of others too, big and small, that you may run into.
Perfecting The Art
Beyond just setting up your first tank there are all sorts of other aquarium related topics you may be interested in as well. These could include things like how a particular piece of equipment works, rarer problems you may encounter, or advice on the care requirements of different species. With that in mind, keep an eye out for new articles as they are added covering a vast array of topics related to aquarium setup and care.