Fish are fun to keep. Not that other pets are terrible or anything of that nature, but there’s just this peace you feel watching them swim in their natural habitat. It makes you wonder if you could be like them, swimming your stress away. Unfortunately, the technology to change people’s DNA to another creature entirely isn’t available yet.
But at least, you can watch them live comfortably in your home. If having a pet fish has been your age-long dream, then you’re in luck as that is what this article is all about. It’s really not a difficult process to set up a fish tank. Follow these steps and you’d be on your way to becoming a fish owner.
1. What Plans Do You Have For The Tank?
Have you considered this yet? The fish is the centerpiece no doubt, but what plans do you have for the tank? This is an important question to ask yourself if you want to have a thriving aquarium.
By plans, we mean, what species of fish do you want swimming away in the tank. Do you want a small tank, breeding tank, or large tank? Those are initial questions before you even start to look at equipment or consider buying a tank.
The reason those questions are important to ask is that the type of fish you decide to take as a pet will invariably determine the size of your tank, the condition of the water in the tank, the type of equipment needed, and the types of decoration. So first, you need to know what species before proceeding to make other decisions.
2. Maintain Balance and Prepare The Tank
It’s only natural to want to fill your tank with fish in no time but you need to be patient and go slowly. Your aquarium needs time to attain the kind of balance that will keep its ecosystem running.
Test the water for ammonia and nitrite but before you do that, ensure the tank is clean. Use damp cloths to clean the tank if it’s a new tank; don’t use any form of soap to clean. The same applies to any other fish tank products and you should know that chemicals of any sort should not be used for your tank. The cloth or bucket you’re using should be new.
Used tanks need a little more attention; use vinegar to clean the tank and remove every debris from it. Thoroughly clean the interior and exterior of the tank. Also, place it in the correct position where there is direct sunlight and access to a power supply.
3. Add Substrate and Water
The next thing you want to do is to prepare your substrate and add water. Your choice of substrate depends on your personal preferences or the species of fish you are keeping.
The quantity of substrate is also dependent on how thick you want it; a general rule is to match an lb of substrate per gallon of water. That will just be sufficient enough for a 1” thick bed.
Rinse the substrate before adding it to the tank by putting it in a bucket and adding cold water. Before adding water to your aquarium, it needs to be prepared first. Only use water that has gone through reverse osmosis and you can either buy it directly or apply treatments and ensure you also use a dechlorinator.
4. Decorate Your Aquarium
Have you seen a boring aquarium before? Probably not because it’s extremely rare. Decorating your aquarium is fun for both you and the fish; it helps your fish feel like it’s in its natural habitat.
Study the fish or research its species to find out what kind of habitat it likes so your decoration can be accordingly. Some fishes like to swim in open spaces and others like hiding or relaxing, hence why you should do some study. If you have plans to keep more than one fish, you’d need to add more decorations from time to time.
5. Create a Full Day Cycle With the Aquarium Lighting
Set your aquarium light to have an on/off cycle so that your fish can get some rest. Get a light timer if the one you have doesn’t have a built-in timer. A well decorated and planted aquarium would require a maximum of 12 hours of light with non-planted ones only needing 6 to 8 hours.
6. Add The Fish and Clean the Tank Regularly
This is the part you’ve been waiting for, but you need to ensure that you don’t rush the process. Add the fish slowly so it can get accustomed to its new home especially if you want multiple fishes. After that is settled, clean your tank regularly. Not during the first month but subsequently so that the helpful bacteria won’t be disrupted.
Setting up a new fish tank isn’t so hard, however, for long-term success you need to patiently research the fish and equipment before buying.