Setting Up A New Aquarium

Location of your aquarium

So, you bought your very first fish tank. And you probably already decided where to place it. But keep in mind that a fish tank filled with water is much heavier than it seems. So please, place it on something strong and stable.

It is also advisable to keep your fish tank away from direct, or even indirect, sunlight. Long hours of sunlight will induce algae, something you do not want if you wish to keep your aquarium beautiful.

Any gravel?

Skip this part if you plan to have a simple bare-bottom fish tank. Personally, I feel that gravels make an aquarium looks so much nicer. Having gravels also helps hide your fishes' wastes.

Before you start pouring your gravels into your fish tank, stop! Take a pail, pour your gravels into it instead. Start washing them over and over until the water is decently clear. This is important, as you don't want your fishes to be swimming in chocolate milk.

Preparing your water

Water is the single most important element of an aquarium. It is important to prepare your water before adding any fishes, as most tap water contains chemicals like chlorine and chloramine, which are harmful to fishes. So be sure to get a bottle of water conditioner from your favourite pet shop that neutralizes both chlorine and chloramine.

If you have gravels, be very gentle when pouring water into your tank, so as not to stir up the gravels. A useful tip is to pour your water onto a floating plate or saucer, so as to divert the force of the falling water. Fill water to your preferred height, and add measured amount of your anti-chlorine-and-chloramine water conditioner.

Setting up your filter

Setup your filter according to your filter's manual. Make sure that it is working properly as intended, as the filter is a very important part of an aquarium. Your filter provides water circulation, and also oxygenates the water, if your type of filter causes water surface disturbance. If your aquarium is heavily loaded with fishes, and your filter fails for even a few hours, it could be fatal.

What is cycling?

"Cycling" is the process where bacterias break down ammonia(NH3) into nitrite(NO2), and from nitrite to nitrate(NO3). Ammonia and nitrite are both very toxic to fishes, and nitrate being the least toxic of the three. Therefore this process is the most important for any aquarium.

The nitrosomonas species of bacteria starts forming when ammonia is present. They form all around our fish tank, the driftwoods, the substrate, and especially inside our filter. Slowly, they will form into a colony large enough to efficiently breakdown ammonia into nitrite. When nitrite in the water has reached a certain level, the Nitrobacter species of bacteria starts forming. Slowly, they will breakdown the nitrite into nitrate. And finally, nitrate in the water can be removed via the most common and cost-effective method, water changes.

In a nutshell: Ammonia > Nitrite > Nitrate

Introduction of ammonia

These are the various ways of introducing ammonia:

- "Seeding". Transfer some gravel or filter sponge/wool/etc from an established fish tank into the new one.

- Fish wastes. Zebra danios are very hardy fishes that are commonly used for cycling.

- Market prawns. Yes, it will stink.

- Commercial products.

Personally, I feel that the "seeding" method would be the most reliable and yields the fastest results.

Fish method is slow, but adding more fishes does makes the process faster. Just that the fishes might not survive the intense ammonia poisoning. We don't want fishes to die in our new fish tank. It is also not recommended to use feeder fishes for this task, as they often carry diseases.

Prawn method is easy, throw them in and wait. But be prepared for the smell.

Commercial products are not the most reliable. Most of us would wonder how much shelf life do these products have. After all, we are talking about live organisms here. But there are indeed cases where hobbyists introduce fishes without cycling, relying on commercial products to do its work. It all boils down to how much risk you are willing to take. Personally, I have a bottle of Nutrafin Cycle, which I bought when I upgraded my filter.

The wait

So you've introduced ammonia, turned on your filter, and is waiting for your fish tank to cycle. I would recommend at least three days of cycling before introducing your fishes. Longer, if the fishes you plan to keep are sensitive. Or if you have not decided on what fishes to keep, now is a good time to research on that.

Find on how big will the fishes grow up to. Most fishes are so tiny when young, but can grow up to huge sizes. This is important, as having no space to swim will stunt their growth, their colors will not show, and they get sick easier. So get suitable fishes, unless you have plans to upgrade to a larger fish tank.

Find out if the fishes are to be kept in brackish water or fresh water. Do not mix the two types of fishes. Find out also their aggressiveness, feeding habits, behaviors, and anything else you need to know to keep your fishes healthy and happy.

Acclimatizing your new fishes

Finally, it's time for you to go out and buy your fishes. Get the pet shop people to help you select healthy ones. While at the shop, make sure you've already gotten everything you need. Things like food, aquarium salt(if keeping brackish water fishes), net, water pump, and a bottle of anti-chlorine-and-chloramine water conditioner.

Once you reached home, float the packet of your new babies in your tank water. This is to acclimatize your fishes to the new water temperature. Float for about 15 minutes, then open up the packet, and pour some of your tank water into it. This is to acclimatize your fishes to the new water parameters. Wait for another 15 minutes, or more, if your fishes are sensitive species. And finally, use a net to catch your fishes into your fish tank!

Observing your fishes

If your fish tank has decorative objects, most likely your new fishes will go into hiding. This is normal, and will last up to a few days. When they do show themselves, observe them. Take note of how their bodies look like, and how they behave, so you will know when something odd happens.

Feed very sparingly during this beginning stage. As the filtration and bacteria system is still new, do not want to pollute the water too much. I suggest feeding small amounts once a day starting from the second or third day. If your fishes refuse to eat, do not put in more food. Try feeding again the next day. This is normal and you do not need to worry, as the fishes most likely already eaten when in the pet shop, and they can survive for as long as a week without food.

Conclusion

Soon, your fishes will get used to their environment. They will start becoming more active. Their vibrant colors will start showing. And they may even recognize you whenever you come close to feed them. That is the reward of fish-keeping! But of course, you have to be a responsible owner. Performing the regular water changes, medicating them when they get sick, and feeding them quality food everyday. And I officially welcome you to the hobby!

About the author:
For more fishy articles by Leon Huang, visit Your Fish Tank's Friend

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

ABC NEWS 4

Americans spending big bucks on pets this holiday season, study says
ABC NEWS 4
Saint Leo's Dr. Rhonda Waddell who teaches interdisciplinary course about therapy and service animals says, "we as a nation are embracing more than ever our pets as family members and many people have substituted their animals for the choice to have ...


13abc Action News

Thanksgiving can be a dangerous time for pets
13abc Action News
Keeping the food on your plate this Thanksgiving could help keep them out of an emergency clinic, "Everybody really wants to give their pets something here and something there. A lot of the time people don't even realize a lot of those foods can be ...


WAFB

Tips to protect people, pets as cold weather approaches
WAFB
Don't leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops; Outdoor pets use more energy to keep warm so they will need more food when it's cold. Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. If your dog stays outside ...

and more »

Sacramento Bee

'I'm going to cry.' Desperate evacuees seek pets lost in Camp Fire chaos
Sacramento Bee
As the search continues for the missing and dead in the rubble of the Camp Fire in Butte County, pet owners forced to leave their animals behind also are desperate for news. Jeannie Webb of Paradise, who lost her home, visited an emergency animal ...

and more »

Baraboo News Republic

PETS OF WEEK: Clutch and Blinky
Baraboo News Republic
Clutch is a rambunctious, loving 1-year-old hound/Lab mix, he's smart, playful and a go-getter in need of someone with time to focus his energy. Clutch has lived with other dogs and enjoys their company, but shouldn't live with cats. Because he doesn't ...

and more »

WKRN News 2

MACC reminds dog owners of laws about pets being outside in cold
WKRN News 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - If you are a Metro dog owner, did you know you might be breaking the law? With temperatures dipping into the freezing range, Metro Animal Care and Control want to remind everyone what the rules are for your pet being outside ...
REMINDER: Bring pets inside during the freeze or face the consequencesTHV11.com KTHV

all 3 news articles »

WCVB Boston

These adorable pets need new homes!
WCVB Boston
Have room in your heart and home for one (or two!) of these adorable, deserving pets? They're all waiting to meet you at Buddy Dog Humane Society! These adorable pets need new homes! Loading more articles... WCVB Boston. WCVB-TV · Contact Us ...


WDAM

Tips to keep pets warm in the cold weather
WDAM
“One of the things we really want to make sure that pets have is shelter," Calhoun said. “Especially if they're kept outside so that they can be prevented from cold air. They do get colds and they can get debilitated if they have an immune system that ...


Pets without Borders
Vestavia Voice
Pets without Borders is partnering with the Greater Birmingham Humane Society (GBHS) to raise funds for TARA's makeover. TARA is the rescue transport bus who has been working hard to bring animals to safety after disasters like Florence & Michael.

and more »

Oakdale Leader

Brothers Raise $$ For Pets And Vets
Oakdale Leader
At a recent barbecue and rally in Modesto, the boys presented a check to American Veterans First (AVF) representative Duke Cooper in the amount of $476.91 for a new pilot program called Pets for Vets. After meeting Cooper, who lives in Oakdale, at a ...

Google News

Breed Success in Your Puppy Search

The numbers will make any pet lover blanch with disgust,... Read More

Im Allergic To My Cat!

Having a cat allergy came as something of a surprise... Read More

The Demand for Luxury Dog Beds

A pet can be as important a member of the... Read More

Chinchillas As Pets

You may wish to consider a chinchilla as a possible... Read More

Nervous Cats, Wining the Trust of a Timid Cat

Nervous cats hide from people, they do not readily present... Read More

Facts About Rottweilers

Looking for some quick Rottweiler dog facts? Here's a quick... Read More

Attacking the Pit Bull Problem in Los Angeles-MuttShack Animal Rescue Launches Grassroots Campaign

Twenty-six percent of the dogs at the six Los Angeles... Read More

Essential Oils and MRSA

Natural preventative pet care isn't a new thing but it... Read More

Pet Services Are A Multi-Billion-Dollar Industry

There are many of us who consider our pets as... Read More

Tips For Keeping Your Pug Happy And Healthy

Bringing home a Pug can change our life, but it... Read More

Lyme Disease Treatment in Pets

Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, because the disease... Read More

Adopt A Pet

In order to add love and affection to their lives,... Read More

Love of Horses

My love of horses began at the age of 11... Read More

Top 5 Dog Health Problems

The most common dog problems:Dog Owner's commonly ask me the... Read More

Hypoallergenic Dogs

When we talk about hypoallergenic dogs, we mean that they... Read More

Caring for an Older Cat - Cat Health and Cat Care

Cats are living longer lives thanks to dedicated care from... Read More

Disaster Preparedness for Pets - A Guide for Pet-Care Business Professionals

June is Disaster Preparedness for Pets month ? but if... Read More

The Gifts We Give Our Dogs

Whoever coined the phrase, "It's a Dog's Life" wasn't familiar... Read More

Keeping Discus Fish Disease Free

So you want to keep discus fish or are already... Read More

Must-Have Know-How On Your Dogs Meal-Times

One of the best parts of the day for any... Read More

Breeding Clownfish

Thanks to Disney's Motion Picture 'Finding Nemo,' almost everybody is... Read More

Take that Junk out of your Trunk

Your local grocery store is chock full of food and... Read More

Choosing the Right Dog Breeder

When looking to purchase a purebred dog, you need to... Read More

Dogs Get More Human Every Day

First pet stores began selling clothes for pets. Then kennels... Read More

Beds for Smaller Dogs

All puppies are small dogs ? some, however, won't be... Read More