Setting Up Your New Tropical Aquarium

Your new tropical aquarium will provide years of interest and enjoyment – setting it up correctly from the start and introducing fish slowly will help to ensure maximum enjoyment and the best environment for long living healthy fish.  Setting up your new aquarium properly is very simple – just follow the steps below – and be prepared to be patient, it takes a little time for nature to create the naturally healthy environment that you want and your fish need.

Initial setting up.

Read the instructions for your tank and all of your equipment.

Install your filter, heater and lights according to the instructions.

Wash your gravel and add it to your tank by sloping from front to back – it’s worth spending time washing the gravel thoroughly to ensure a clean tank from the beginning.

Add water from mains cold water (never use water from hot tap or bathrooms) and add tap safe.

When the tank is full, turn on the filter and heater, and the light if you wish.

Leave the tank for twenty-four hours and then check the temperature which should be at 24C/75F.

Introducing your first fish.

Leave the tank running for one week – and after this it’s time to add your first fish.

The number and type of fish depends on the volume of water in your aquarium eg a sixty to seventy litre tank will support five fish.

We recommend zebra danios as your first fish as they are nitrite tolerant (see below).  Add them to the tank, but no more fish for three weeks to allow your filter to mature.  Filters work by growing bacteria, for this to work you need two things present – fish waste (provided by the fish) and a starter culture of bacteria – we recommend the use of Sea Chem Stability.

Be patient – your fish will thank you for it!

Your bacteria take three weeks to grow.  In the first week ammonia levels rise, peaking on the seventh day, followed by the nitrite levels which peak on the twenty-first day.  Most fish cannot tolerate these fluctuations and you should monitor water quality with an ammonia and nitrite test kit.

After this time and when the kit gives a clear reading, more fish can be added gradually.

Tank Volume Calculator