Initial sizing and spacing of stand, filters, and pumps
Placement of aquarium and beginning of plumbing
Initial startup after adding substrate, water, and salt
Reef "cycled" with live rock and fish
An aquarium can provide years of enjoyment and
decor if established and maintained correctly. Different
aquaria may require special equipment, or unique filtration to
support it's inhabitants, so setting up the tank is key to
short, and long term success.
Probably the most valuable asset a successful
aquarist has (aside of functional aquarium sealant) is his
uncanny ability to plan ahead. The time
before actually purchasing, or physically setting up the
aquarium is probably the best time to do this. Think and
plan about things like:
- Tank Size
- Temp Control
With these in mind, we can purchase the necessary items and
start a real plan to put the tank together. Remember,
every situation is unique, and it's best to read up on the
environment your duplicating, and the inhabitants you plan to
keep. Use the list below as a general step-by-step guide
to setting up an aquarium.
- Find A Location
- Place Tank/Stand
- Dry Aquascaping
- Dry Filtration Setup
- Water Fill
- Start Filtration
- Condition Water
- Introduce Specimens
Find A Location-It's
best to avoid natural lighting sources in most situations.
Windows and patios usually don't keep good aquarium company.
The intense sunlight tends to spawn excess algae growth, and can
lead to problems for the beginner. Find a medium to dimly
lit, cool area with sufficient air circulation for your
aquarium. Smoky or chemical filled air can lead to
problems as well. Keep the room well-ventilated.
level and measuring tape will come in handy here. Measure
the length, width, and height of your stand/tank/canopy as it
will set. Make sure that the chosen location is large
enough, tank is level and fits squarely on the stand.
Remember that water is very heavy (close to 8 lbs. per gallon!)
so it's preferable to have a level, well supported area for your
the gravel and decor have been sufficiently rinsed, you can
begin to arrange the aquarium inside before you add the water.
Put the gravel in first. Usually about a pound per gallon
is enough. Next put in the rock/wood/coral/plants to
decorate the tank. Ground cover is important for hiding,
and greatly improves aesthetics. Arrange with the
specimens you will be adding in mind.
Dry Filtration Setup-Arrange
the filtration components as where they will be when the tank is
running. Make sure there is adequate spacing both
between the components and the wall. Certain filtration
devices may need to be removed to be primed, but this is mainly
to ensure everything fits and that there is proper spacing.
sure that your electrical outlets are properly grounded and any
extension cords involved are heavy duty and have a breaker.
Some people with larger aquariums and more elaborate electrical
connections should consult with their electrician before burning
the house down. Check all plumbing fixtures and filtration
components to make sure they have been properly fastened/sealed.
the tank and starting the filters will be the test to see
if the plumbing fixtures are working properly. Use good
quality water for your aquarium. We recommend RO or
distilled. Although, I will admit, larger tanks are
usually initially filled with treated tap water.
necessary pumps and filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
Observe to see that all devices are operating properly.
If more water is needed for sumps or filter canisters,
all of the aquarium lights to be sure all bulbs are working.
Make sure all lights and fixtures are away from aquarium/filter
water splashing. It's good to decide on a schedule to
check the bulbs. Replace when needed.
necessary additives/conditioners/fertilizers to the aquarium
water at this time. It's also an appropriate time to check
key water parameters (Temperature, pH, Salinity.) Some
people add live rock or water/substrate from an established
aquarium to jump start the cycling process.
specimens sparsely, and be extremely careful in the choice of
additions; especially in the first year. Add specimens
that are compatible, not only behaviorally, but also
environmentally. Remember, most aquaria are considered
"new" for the first 6 to 12 months.
Often cover themselves with sand
for bedding and camouflage.
marine fish have stripes, but their close relative in the
Pacific do not.
specimen knows how to defend itself.
with it's fu-manchu barbels. A hardy marine scavenger.
body profile make this one of the world's most unique vertebrate
on a common reef member.