How to Setup Your Fish Tank – The Important Basics!

Carefully remove your new aquarium fish tank out of the packaging material, or box it came in.  Now you must clean it off to get rid of any residual dust, or contaminants acquired during shipping and packaging.  Also rinse off your aquarium equipment with fresh water before putting all the equipment together.

Never use bleach or ammonia, or glass cleaners, or other cleaners on or near your fish tank, or fish tank equipment!

Check for greasey, oily, or sticky, areas on your aquarium equipment and clean it off as much as possible. Use an old dull knife or putty knife to scrape away any sticky residue from tape.
If you must use a detergent cleanser to get rid of stubborn sticky or greasey areas, after cleaning the area, rinse it off with lots of water, then rinse it alot more!

Rinse, Rinse, and then Rinse lots more!
Aquarium fish and other fish tank pets, are very sensitive to detergents, cleaners, contaminants and chemicals on the fish tank and fish tank equipment, so rinse, rinse, and rinse some more!

See “Electrocution Warning!” before powering up your Aquarium equipment.

Locate your fish tank where it will be enjoyed, but out of direct sunlight, and away from sources of fast temperature changes like room heater vents, or Air Conditioning vents, or stoves, or radiators, and put all the aquarium equipment and hoses, and pieces together, but do not put in the gravel or any rocks, or aqarium decorations yet.

Your aquarium should be on a stable and level surface, since any movement will be amplified by the water sloshing around inside the fish tank and can cause aquarium water to splash over the side of the fish tank, or cause the aquarium to fall over if it is placed on an unstable surface. Use strong wood or plastic shims to level and stabilize your aquarium stand, or fish tank, if you’re not using a fish tank stand.

Now fill the fish tank with water, and power up the fish tank equipment and test for leaks, geysers, excessive splashing, excessive noise, etc..  Make adjustments to the aquarium equipment as needed, such as changing the direction, and force of the water pump input or output to the tank. Excessive fish tank water filter input can suck up your aquarium fish, and excessive aquarium water pump output can blow away or even injure your pet fish.

After any adjustments, check all tubes and electrical cords again, and let the equipment run for a few hours at least. If all goes well with no leaks, and your aquarium equipment is adjusted to your liking, then power down your equipment (it’s good to have a power strip with an on/off switch to power your aquarium equipment) and remove as much of the now “dirty” water as possible.  This will be the final “rinse” of any residue remaining inside the fish tank, and fish tank equipment.  For larger tanks, this step can be skipped if you want to leave the fish tank equipment running for two or more days instead, but we prefer to be cautious.

Now refill your aquarium with fresh water about seven to eight inches from the bottom of the fish tank, or half way, for smaller fish tanks. Do not power on the fish tank equipment yet.  Now rinse off your gravel, and rocks (not “Live Rock”, see “Live Rock” section) with fresh water, and setup in your aquarium decorations (see “Decorating your Fish Tank”).

Place at least 2″ to 3″ inches of gravel on the bottom of the aquarium, then place rocks away from the walls of the aquarium fish tank (this is to allow you to clean the walls of the aquarium without disturbing the fish tank decor) and create homes or hiding places that smaller aquarium fish can fit into to hide from larger aquarium fish (even if there will be no larger fish, it makes the smaller fish feel safer, and less stressed).

Continue filling your Fish tank by pouring water onto the rock(s) (not onto the fish tank gravel), until at least half full, then you can just fill the tank up the rest of the way by just pouring the water in, making sure not to disturb the aquarium gravel or rocks or other aquarium decorations with the turbulence created by filling the aquarium up with water.

After the fish tank is filled with water, power up the fish tank equipment and aquarium lighting and add “Water Conditioner” to the fish tank to eliminate the Chlorine, and Flouride, and other chemicals that may be harmful to your fish tanks pets, then set your “Heater’s” temperature range for the mid-range required by the type of fish you plan to keep in your aquarium and let the aqurium equipment run for at least one day so that your fish tank’s water temperature, and aquarium environment are ideal, free from chemicals, and any sediment, or particles suspended in the aquarium water have been filtered out.

Now you’re ready to introduce fish into your fish tank!
(see “How to introduce fish into your aquarium”)


For Fish & Pet Lovers!