Call us on: (01792) 448225
10% discount banner

setting up a freshwater tank

Setting up a freshwater tank can often be naturally daunting for some - it is important to get things right to ensure that your aquarium runs smoothly and your fish are kept in optimum health. freshwater fish aquarium

When you know what to do, it is easier than you may have thought. We've created this guide as a reference for our customers and anyone else who may like to use it. You can bookmark this page to come back to at any time.

So here's the steps to guide you in setting up your freshwater tropical tank:

1. Firstly before anything, you need to check whether your tank has a floating base. If it doesn't, you will need to support the bottom panel of glass with polystyrene or some sort of cushioned material so that the tank doesn't sit directly on the cabinet. This prevents the tank from smashing if there is any unequal pressure from inside the tank or below, and is a very important step in the process.

2. If you would like to put a backing sheet on the aquarium, it would be advisable to do this next while the tank is empty. This can be done through various methods. Some people use sticky tape to secure to the outside back panel, others buy an adhesive, such as Juwel Poster-fix Background Adhesive. The adhesive is spread on the glass and then the backing is pushed onto it. It can then be flattened out with a squeegee or credit card. The adhesive option provides a brighter, cleaner background than using sticky tape, and we would advise using this method for best results.

3. Wash your gravel. It is important to know that some gravels will need more washing than others. To properly wash your gravel, get a bucket and you pour all of your gravel into it. Then, get a hose or put under a tap, and turn up the flow as high as you can. When the bucket fills, pour off the water and repeat; it will get less cloudy each time you do this. Repeat until the water gets to clear, or almost clear.

4. Put the gravel in your tank. It is safer to do it bit by bit, especially if you have gravel with larger pieces.

5. Now place a plate or saucer on top the gravel and fill the aquarium 3/4 of the way up, aiming the water-flow at the plate. This decreases cloudiness, as the water doesn't directly hit the gravel when you're filling it up, and splashing. Level out your gravel and move on to the next step.

6. Now you're going to want to add the required amount of de-chlorinator to your aquarium water. This removes harmful chlorine and heavy metals that occur in tap water.

7. The next step calls to install all your equipment. This includes the filter, heater, and thermometer.

8. At this point you could place any desired ornaments, or air stones and curtains in the aquarium.

9. Bogwood can also be added at this stage, providing it has been adequately soaked to remove all colour and tannings. This may take up to two weeks depending on the wood. If the wood is not adequately soaked, the aquarium will turn a yellow/brown colour.

10. Now you need to run a wet test. A wet test is when you plug in all your equipment, to ensure everything is working properly.

i) Start by circulating water with the filter.

ii) Then, turn on your heater and set it to the required temperature. You will need to wait 24-48hrs depending on tank volume and heater wattage, until temperature has reached the required level.

iii) Turn on your lights, ideally on an automatic timer, and set them for 8-10 hours of daylight per day for optimum results.

When you are satisfied that all of the equipment is working properly, that the temperature is at the right level, and there are no leaks from the aquarium etc. you are now ready to add your first fish or bacteria/aquarium starter treatment.

If you would like assistance in setting up your marine reef aquarium, we offer an installation and maintenance service, and can complete all the necessary work for you. Click here to go to our installation and maintenance service page.

Return to the information pages section

Return to the main page