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Setting Up An Aquarium

By KimmyM
 
So, you’ve decided to start an aquarium. First of all I’d like to say Hi, and welcome to the hobby, I hope you find many hours of enjoyment out of your fish.
 
When Starting a new aquarium, there are some basics you are going to have to purchase. Here, listed below are the basic items that you are going to need to begin your aquarium.
 
Tank – The tank that you choose to get depends greatly on the type of fish that you want to get, because there are issues like over stocking the tank, A general guide for stocking tanks is 1 inch of full grown fish per gallon. So, this means that your going to have to do a bit of research on the fish that you plan to get. However, the stocking ratio is only a generalization, and does not apply to all fish.
 
Stand, Hood – When purchasing a tank, you may want to also buy a stand if you don’t have somewhere else to put it, a stand is a good idea because the stand can handle the weight that is going to be coming from the tank, where otherwise furniture such as a table may not be able to handle it. Also, a hood helps in stopping evaporation, but they do tend to be expensive.
 
Filter – There are different kinds of filters on the market today, these include: hang on back, power, under gravel, canister, chemical, organic, biological, mechanical and protein skimmer.
The type that you purchase also depends on the size of your tank, and the fish that you keep in it, if you keep goldfish, I suggest an under ground filter and a mechanical / biological / chemical filter. Luckily, there are filters out there that combine the mechanical, biological and chemical filtering into one unit. If you are starting a fresh water aquarium, you will not need a protein skimmer.
 
Light – If you choose to get a light for your aquarium and plan to grow live plants, you may want to purchase a strong light for optimum plant growth. There are different light strength needs for different plants, so find out which plants you wish to keep and then get the right light for your plants needs.
 
Net – A net should be used for handling fish so not to disturb their slime coat too much.
 
Heater – Also depends what fish you are choosing, if you choose tropical you are going to need a heater, if you plan to keep a community tank with different types of fish, you should check what temperature they are suited to, and keep the tank at a stable temperature.
 
Conditioner – The water that is added to the tank from a tap will have chlorine in it and this is harmful to fish, so you should purchase some water conditioner to take the chlorine out and other harmful chemicals. Substrate – The most common of substrates Is gravel. If you are going to keep plants that are high maintenance and take nutrients from their roots you should get a substrate that is nutrient rich.
 

Aquarium siphon
Plants – There are three difficulty levels of plants: Low maintenance, medium maintenance and high maintenance. If you are a beginner, get a low maintenance plant and then when you feel you have learnt necessities about plant keeping, you can upgrade to medium maintenance plants and so on.
 
Gravel Siphon – This is needed to perform 2 week maintenance routine on the tank there are many different types of gravel siphons out there but the best one in my opinion is the one pictured left, very simple, no batteries needed type siphon.
 
Food – As you may already know, there are literally tons and tons of different fish food out there, you could get lost in a sea of food. There are live, frozen, freeze dried, flake, pellet, cubes, wafers, sticks, etc. These foods vary in nutritional value. If you plan to get bottom feeder fish such as catfish, it’s a good idea to get algae wafers as they need that as a supplement in their diet.
 
Air Stone – Whether you need an air stone is determined by how much the surface is being agitated, surprisingly, the bubbles that the air stone emits has nothing to do with how much oxygen is in the water. If you get a air stone, get a air pump as well to run the stone.
 
Adornments – If you plan to use adornments in your aquarium, make sure that they are well cleaned (not with soap, as it can leave bad residues).
 

Driftwood can make a beautiful display
Driftwood – So, you picked up a piece of driftwood when you were walking by a river or a beach and want to use it in your aquarium. This should be fine, if you clean it to get any nasties out that may be hiding in your piece of driftwood. There are many different ways to clean driftwood, I prefer boiling it in a big pot for about 2 and a half hours but there are other methods as well, such as: baking (be extremely careful and watch it because it could catch fire), soaking for a few days, etc.
 

A container such as this will be extremely handy to
organise all your aquarium supplies
Plastic Storage Container – Once you have all of the basic items for your aquarium, there may not be enough room for all of the items, a good idea is to purchase a good size storage container to store most of your items.
 
I’ve covered most of the initial processes to starting an aquarium, if you have any further questions about aquariums, join petfish.nets message boards and someone will be more than happy to answer them :)

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