Setting up an Aquarium – Part 2

As promised here is 2nd and final part of “Setting up an Aquarium”

We previously talked about what items would be required and began explaining exactly how they piece together (Check out Part 1 if you missed it). Part 2 will continue to explain the rest of the items on the list.

A heater is needed for tropical fish. The rule of thumb to buying a heater is: 1 watt of power per1 liter of water. For example if you have a 100 liter tank you should use a hundred watt heater. If the heater is under powered it will consume more electricity as it will take longer to maintain the tank temperature. Tropical fish need to be kept at a temperature ranging from 25-30C depending on the species of fish. Goldfish generally do not need a heater; they are able to live in water that is cold and often in countries where ponds get iced over, they are sure to survive the winter in these icy waters. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr. The heater that you buy may already be pre-set at the correct temperature but most heaters will have a dial at the top with which you can adjust the temperature. You will need a thermometer so that you can check the water temperature as well as if the heater is functioning correctly. Glass thermometers are the most common and are attached to the inside of the tank by suction cups.

Another item that you will need that makes a tank complete is gravel or substrate. How much gravel is needed? This depends on your personal preference for a thick or thin layer of substrate as well as if you are going to keep live plants. All gravels must be rinsed properly before use. If you are using plastic coated gravel, be careful not to boil the gravel as this will melt the plastic coating. If you are going to include live plants in your aquarium do not forget to buy some OCEAN FREE PLANTING SOIL. Use this in areas where you are going to keep the live plants as it serves as a fertilizer and root nourisher for them. Live plants help to use up waste products and add oxygen in the water. They also contribute to a healthy habitat and make the aquarium look so much more natural. After all, aren’t we trying to copy nature? Some odds and ends that you will need to make your tank complete are a fish net, fish food such as OCEAN FREE SUPER MINERAL(the type obviously depends on the type of fish you put in your tank), a water conditioner such CHLORAWAY and a bacteria starter such as MICROLIFE-S2. The bacteria starter is one of the most important things to have for the setup of your aquarium. This agent creates a balance of healthy bacteria in your tank that will help in breaking down fish wastes, uneaten fish food as well as nitrogenous compounds. An optional choice for your aquarium is an aquarium stand. Most people set their tanks on a shelf or a sturdy table. This is fine. Some prefer to make it a little classier and add a tank stand that the tank rests upon.

Another optional item is decorations. This generally is at your discretion, as fish don’t have an opinion one way or the other, but some fish like to hide behind rocks and won’t be happy unless they indeed have a place to take a break. Before you can add fish, you must let the tank run for few days. This is the most important step. Letting the tank “cycle” allows the temperature and water to adjust to baseline levels. It allows MICROLIFE to start building a bacteria base. It is always recommended that before you add fish you may want to get your water tested. This is important because water quality can differ from day to day. It is advisable to test your PH and chlorine levels before doing water changes. My personal experience is that the PH levels can be as high as 10 the one day and 7 a few days later. Remember to purchase test kits that can test water parameters for the following: PH, NO3, NO2 and NH3/NH4. Do not be a cheap hobbyist and rely on your pet store to test water for you, as most times when these tests are done, it is already too late and many may fish have died due to poor water quality. I further advise that you keep a general medication such as BACTONIL or GENERAL CURE for just in case your fish get sick and need immediate treatment. If the human heart is the size of a fist, just imagine how tiny a fish’s heart and internal organs must be?

Now that you have let the tank run for a few days and the water seems fine, you are ready to add fish. Keep in mind to add fish that all get along with each other. Start off with about four fish and then weekly you can add a few more until you’ve reached the tanks fish holding capacity. This will allow the bacteria time to build up. Remember to consider the size that the fish will get to! A common myth is that fish will only grow according to their tank size. This is absolutely not true. If you do decide to start out with tropical fish, you want to make sure they are all compatible. For a beginner it is best to start out with community fish such as guppies, mollies, swords and so on. Keep in mind that certain types of fish may need to be in schools, fed a certain diet, or have a certain pH level. If you are unsure on anything, please ask questions. So now that you have the basics you are ready to get started.

Once they start the hobby of fish keeping, many people find it hard to stop. If you have an inclination that you may like this hobby it is best to start out with a bigger tank. If you are not sure whether this is a passing phase you may just want to invest into a 60 liter or even smaller fish tank. To know more about marine fish, koi and koi ponds, please do come visit us! Happy Fish Keeping!

We stock all of the stuff you need to prepare for your new pet and will be glad to entertain any questions you might have.  Come in today to find the best deals on pet supplies!

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