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Setting up your new aquarium

The original article was written by Sacha a few years ago, thank you Sacha.
Unfortunately that full article has somehow disappeared so I have written a similar article which hopefully compliments what was written in the original article

Setting up your new aquarium

There are two major causes of fish deaths in an aquarium; new tank syndrome and over feeding.
If you take the time to read this you will hopefully not have to deal with new tank syndrome and you will create a healthy environment for your fish.
The other big cause of fish deaths is overfeeding, so be careful not to overfeed your fish.
There are other reasons for fish deaths and these can be addressed on the forum.

Aquarium Location

When you choose a location for your new aquarium in your house it is important to remember the following points:
Keep it away from sources of noise. This could include TVs, radios, washing machines and fridges. Fish don't like loud noises and constant exposure to noise will stress them out and eventually influence their well being negatively.
Do not place the aquarium near items which could influence the temperature of the water temperature such as radiators and fires. Most fish need to be kept at a certain temperature and water that is too warm could make them ill.
Strong light can have a large influence on algae in the aquarium, so try to avoid placing it near strong natural light sources such as windows/skylights. Direct sunlight is not good but a little natural sunlight is usually fine; too much will cause you problems with your water quality in a short space of time which in turn will have a negative effect on your fish's well being.
Also, make sure that the floor is perfectly level surface that is strong enough to support the weight of the aquarium. If the floor is not level, it could cause the water in your aquarium to leak over the top on one side. It can also put an invisible but remarkable stress on the tank itself and might cause the glass to crack eventually.

Filling the Aquarium
Before you start filling the aquarium we recommended that you wipe the inside of the aquarium with a clean cloth and lukewarm water. Preferably use a new and unused cloth and bucket. It is important that no detergents or grease cleaners are used or have ever been used with the cloth or bucket that you use.
Next it’s time to fill the bottom of your aquarium with the substrate of your choice. If you are planning on using live plants (recommended) then place a layer of plant substrate down first before you add your chosen gravel or sand. Make sure that you buy only special aquarium types as others may affect the water quality. Ensure the substrate is thoroughly rinsed in clear running water before you add it to the aquarium. For this purpose put some of the substrate in a bucket and add plenty of water, stirring it with your hand all the time. Let the substrate settle, empty the dirty water out and repeat this process until the water stays fairly clear. (Tip: Don't put the dirty water down your kitchen drain. The sand can easily block it up!) Then carefully add the substrate to the aquarium by adding a handful at a time.
When it comes to choosing your décor, there are many different options available nowadays. The décor can be made up of resin ornaments, natural stones, tree roots and plants all of which need a quick wash in some warm water before you add them to the aquarium. If you use natural rocks and tree roots make sure they come from an aquatic shop because they are fit for the purpose, whereas the rocks and tree roots you picked up from your garden will likely affect the water quality.
If you want to add plants to your aquascape it is always best to use real plants. The natural plants will help to maintain the natural balance in the aquarium by helping to absorb excess nitrates. If you chose artificial plants they will always look good because they don't perish and do not get eaten by the fish. There is a wide variety of plastic and silk plants available at your specialist aquatic retailer which will look hardly different to 'the real thing'.
Top Tip:
Add the plants to the aquarium after you have installed the electrical equipment and filled the aquarium with around 30% of the total water. This will avoid damage to plants and make planting easier.

Adding the Electrical Equipment to the Aquarium

What you need:
A filter:
This is essential for really every aquarium to maintain clear and healthy water.
This can be either an internal filter or an external filter. I personally prefer external filters as they allow more space in the aquarium and they are often easier for maintenance.
A heater:
The heater will maintain a consistent temperature within the aquarium. The ideal temperature for basic community tank 21-28 °C. Ask your retailer what temperature is right for your fish.
Choosing the correct heater for your aquarium is quite simple, think of the water volume in litres and a heater of the same is required; example a 50W heater is ideal for a 50L aquarium, a 300W heater is ideal for a 300W aquarium and so on. If you purchase a really big aquarium then consider multiple heaters; example 2 x 300W heaters for a 600L aquarium.
Lighting:
A suitable aquarium light should be switched on for 6-8  hours a day,. This is essential for natural plant growth and makes fish’s colours stand out. You only need the lights on for when you are a home so maybe consider a timer and set it for when you are at home. This could be something like 2.00pm-10.00pm.
Air pump:
An air stone, air pump and check valve: This provides the necessary oxygen for fish and plants helps with the filtration process by aerating the water and adding decorative touch with bubbles to your aquarium.
Although an air pump is not necessary as long as you have sufficient water surface aggitation, it can look attractive and benefit the fish during periods of hot weather.
A thermometer:
This will allow you to keep an eye on the water temperature at all times. There are a variety a different thermometers from glass, LED and to digital.
Once all the décor and equipment have been added to your aquarium, it can now be filled with water. This is best done by placing a bowl/saucer on the bottom and slowly adding room temperature tap water using a jug. Once the aquarium is filled up completely, make sure your hands are dry and switch on the electrical equipment. Now add your chosen dechlorinator, using dechlorinated water is important.
Top Tip:
Make a drip loop in all equipment cables, to prevent water dripping into socket.
That is done by forming a small loop in the cable around 15-20 cm below weight of socket.
 
Preparing the Aquarium for First Fish:
Once your aquarium has been filled with water and switched on, you now need to add some water treatment. The water treatment adds the necessary bacteria for the aquarium’s biological balance. It is essential that these bacteria are introduced to your aquarium. They will help to establish a natural balance and maintain a good water quality. Water conditioner is available from all specialist aquatic retailers. Over the next few weeks check temperature and ensure that there is a good water circulation around the aquarium by adjusting the flow direction of moving air stones.
The best water treatment products include Tetra Safestart, Seachem Stability and Dr Tims One & Only; these are proven “bacteria in a bottle” products and contain the correct nitrifying bacteria.
Make sure you follow the instructions on the bottle.
Another very popular way to prepare your aquarium for fish is by doing a fishless cycle. A fishless cycle prepares the filter and aquarium by building up the necessary beneficial bacteria prior to adding fish, hence the method is “fishless”. This may take a few weeks to prepare the aquarium and filter ready for fish but it is the safest method as no fish are harmed by exposure to the toxic ammonia and nitrites. The process is done by adding an artificial source of ammonia (non-perfumed) to grow and feed the beneficial bacteria.

Why Filtration for Aquariums?
Aquariums are really artificial homes for our fish, these confined spaces without freely running water and proportionality an extremely high numbers of fish per litre of water require the support of technology to maintain conditions in which fish can survive and flourish. All fish produce a range of waste products that, if they are allowed to accumulate within the aquarium, will lead to a decline in water quality and fish health. Whilst stringent feeding practices and regular water changes may help, most aquarists will rely upon some form of filter to remove and break down these potentially toxic waste products.

The Filtration Process:
Aquarium filters may be considered as a mechanism by which waste laden water is circulated through a chamber that contains a large surface area on which solid wastes may become trapped together with a surface on which an entire population of waste consuming micro-organisms are encouraged to grow. The portion of the filter that is associated with trapping solid debris is often referred to as the mechanical filter whilst the surface on which the waste consuming micro-organisms are encouraged to grow (beneficial bacteria) is referred to as the biological filter.
The mechanical portion of the filter often consists of a disc of foam or filter floss that allows clean water to pass through but traps any solid debris that enters it. Eventually, as the foam or floss becomes clogged with solid debris, the amount of water that can pass through the filter becomes restricted and both water quality and water clarity may begin to deteriorate. The process of trapping solid waste materials is referred to as mechanical filtration.
Although many species of fish produce a great deal of solid waste matter, an effective aquarium filter will also be required to encourage the growth of an entire population of waste consuming micro-organisms (beneficial bacteria). These micro-organisms grow on the surface of the biological filter media where they feed on those toxic soluble waste products that are produced by fish. Although over 400 species of micro-organism have been identified as feeding on these soluble waste products, most can be divided into two main groups; those that consume ammonia and those that consume nitrite.
Even the smallest accumulation in soluble waste products is likely to have a detrimental impact on the health of fish and, therefore, should be avoided. The symptom of a build up of this form of waste includes a depressed feeding response, excess mucous production and gill damage. Long term impacts of waste accumulation are much more subtle and include poor growth rates, reduced breeding response and suppression of the immune response.
The most important and toxic, soluble waste product is ammonia. Although ammonia is excreted by the fish as a response to using high protein feeds, it is also produced when solid waste products are left to decay within the aquarium or mechanical filter. The other form of waste product that is associated with fish keeping is nitrite, which is excreted as waste product by those organisms that feed on ammonia. These nitrite consuming organisms also excrete the waste product nitrate. Although nitrate can be toxic to aquatic organisms, it is required to build up to significantly higher concentrations than both ammonia and nitrite before it will have an impact on fish health. Using high quality feeds and regularly siphoning or removing any solid debris remain as some of the most important but overlooked methods of maintaining water quality and enhancing the performance of the filtration system.
The process of biological filtration not only requires a steady supply of ammonia to encourage the growth of a stable population of waste consuming organisms, but it also requires a supply of dissolved oxygen, a stable water temperature and water chemistry. Any disruption to the quality or quantity of water entering the filter may disrupt or destroy this population and lead to a potentially lethal decline in water quality. Maintaining a stable water quality, ensuring that the water entering the filter is well aerated and preventing any blockage or disruption to the flow of water through the filter remain as the most effective methods of ensuring that the biological filter functions effectively and maintaining fish health.

Importance of Checking Water Chemistry
The process of encouraging a colony or population of waste consuming organisms within the biological filter can represent one of the most important tasks within fish keeping. Water quality will quickly deteriorate if fish are added to the aquarium before this population has grown and established at a level at which they are able to consume all of the associated waste products. This period of time is often referred to as the maturation period.
At the early stages of the maturation period, the population of waste consuming organisms will be virtually zero and waste products are likely to accumulate quickly. The fish keeper should be prepared to add only small numbers of hardy fish that are able to tolerate any deterioration in water chemistry, feed very sparingly and test the water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate during this initial stage often. Detecting even the slightest presence will require the fish keeper to undertake water changes, add suitable chemical media reduce feeding or remove any accumulating solid debris to enable them to return these toxic waste products to a safe level before they consider adding any further fish to their aquarium.

Choosing the right filter
Although there are many types of filter available to the fish keeper, the most commonly used filters are the internal canister filters, external pressure filters and hang on filters. Each design of filter has a number of advantages and disadvantages that may influence the fish keeper in making their choice.
Internal canister filters:
Internal canister filters – sited within the aquarium, the internal canister filter can combine both mechanical and biological filtration to provide an effective means of preventing waste accumulation within the smaller aquarium. Waste laden water enters through the base of the filter and is pulled up through the filter media before it enters a small impellor chamber from where it is pumped back into the aquarium. Although they are comparatively cheap and easy to install, the small size of most canister filters does usually restrict their use to lightly stocked aquariums. With the inlet located at the base of the filter, the aquarist may also find that much of the solid waste material that is generated within the aquarium may remain within the aquarium. Maintenance requires the entire filter to be removed from the aquarium which may require the aquarist to disrupt the aquascape / aquarium décor. Cleaning the comparatively small volume of filter media may also lead to a considerable level of disturbance to the function of the filter.
External canister filter:
External canister filter – often located out of site below the aquarium, the external canister filter is probably the most effective form of filtration for the aquarist. Waste laden water usually siphons through a single inlet and a length of pipe before it enters the canister. The water rises through a series of mechanical, biological and chemical filter media before it enters an impellor chamber from where it is pumped up through a length of pipe before it is directed into the aquarium, usually through a spray bar. Many of the more advanced designs of canister filter that have been specifically designed for marine aquariums may also contain an in built ultra violet steriliser which will help to reduce the incidence of pathogens (disease causing organisms) within the inhabitants. Maintenance usually involves turning off the flow of water, opening the canister and removing the individual cages that contain the filter media. Consequently, any disturbance to the aquarium décor or the overall performance of the filter is minimised. Although they are comparatively more expensive than other forms of filtration, the external canister can circulate a larger volume of water and is capable of supporting a larger number of fish.
Hang on filter:
Hang on filter - a relatively recent design, the hang on filter sits on the outside edge of the aquarium and provides the aquarist with an easily accessible and effective means of filtering their aquarium. Water is siphoned from the aquarium into the filter chamber and then into a power head from where it cascades over a lip and back into the aquarium. The unusual design enables the aquarist with a means of filtering those aquariums that have a complex aquascape / décor or a means of adding an additional means of filtering a mature aquarium.
Wet and Dry Trickle Filters:
Wet and Dry Trickle Filters – by encouraging a high concentration of dissolved oxygen within the filter, the wet and dry trickle filter is acknowledged to provide the conditions that encourage the optimal growth of the specialist micro-organisms that are responsible for biological filtration. Waste laden water is pumped up into the filter unit located within the hood of the aquarium and is then allowed to trickle down through the filter media. One portion of the filter, the ‘dry section’, is designed to encourage this waste laden water to trickle across the surface of the media, ensuring that the waste consuming micro-organisms come into a close degree of contact with any waste products. The close degree of contact between the water and the air that pervades the filter also helps to ensure that these waste consuming organisms are provided with the high concentration of dissolved oxygen that they require to function effectively. The dry section of the filter also boosts the concentration of oxygen that enters the submerged or ‘wet’ section of the filter and helps to ensure that any waste products are consumed by the rich, thriving population of micro-organisms that inhabit this section of the filter.

Top Tips:
The Correct Size of Filter
Most filters are graded in accordance with the volume of water that they are able to circulate around the aquarium. As a broad rule of thumb, a tropical freshwater aquarium will require a filter that is capable of circulating the entire volume of the aquarium between four and five times per hour whilst a tropical marine aquarium will require a filter that is capable of circulating the volume of aquarium between four and six times per hour.

When to Add More Fish
Adding a small number of hardy fish and feeding them sparingly is one of the most effective methods of encouraging the growth of a population of waste consuming organisms on which the filtration system is based. However, as water quality may fluctuate whilst this population of waste consuming micro-organisms establishes, the aquarist must check that water quality is acceptable before adding any new fish to their aquarium.

Filter Maintenance:
The population of waste consuming micro-organisms that inhabit the biological filter require a constant supply of oxygen and waste rich water. Depriving the filter of a flow of water for an extended period of time will deny these organisms of this supply of oxygen and waste, causing them to die and water quality to deteriorate. Consequently, the aquarist should always be prepared to minimise the period of time in which they maintain their filter and should always be prepared to monitor water quality for the period of time following any disturbance until water quality has stabilised. As a brad rule of thumb, depriving the filter of a supply of water for less than 20 minutes is not likely to have a long term impact on filter performance.

Feeding and Filter Maintenance:
The amount of waste products that a filter has to cope with depends upon the amount of waste produced by the fish which, in turn, depends upon the amount of food that they consume. By feeding a constant amount of food on a regular basis, the aquarist can maximise the size and activity of this population of waste consuming micro-organisms, which in turn will ensure that water quality does not deteriorate.

Feeding Fish - The Dietary Dilemma:
The majority of aquaria contain a range of species, each of which is likely to require a unique diet. As these individual fish species grow and begin to reproduce the dietary requirements of each species is likely to change. Furthermore the presence of a range of species is likely to affect the feeding behaviour of almost every other species that are held within the same tank or pool. Providing a range of feeds that are able to match the individual dietary requirements of every species of fish throughout the course of their entire life represents one of the most challenging aspects of fish keeping.

Energy:
Like all other animals, fish require their diet to provide them with a controlled, slow release source of energy that is able to fuel every metabolic process. The controlled release of energy from any feed is influenced by a series of complex enzymes, each of which require the presence a range of vitamins or minerals to function properly. The health of most species of fish will soon begin to suffer if their diet that doesn’t provide the source of energy or the vitamins or minerals required by these controlling enzymes.
Although the fat and protein content are regarded as the key source of energy within the diets of most fish, fat is the preferred source of dietary energy as it can supply twice the energy of protein.
Diets that utilise proteins as the key source of energy are likely to be linked with the excretion of nitrogen based waste products such as ammonia or urea and an associated decline in water quality. In addition, as fat also plays an important role as a carrier for the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, many successful fish keepers will not utilise a diet that contains less than 10% fat.
The single most important factor that affects the energy requirement of a fish is water temperature. An increase in water temperature will increase the body temperature of the fish, which will, in turn, speed up the metabolic reactions and increase the energy requirements of the fish. Consequently, the amount of food required by a fish will increase as water temperature begins to rise and will decrease as water temperature starts to drop. As most species of tropical fish are kept at a constant temperature, the aquarist can match the energy requirements of fish by simply feeding their fish with as much feed as they can consume over within two or three minutes.

Proteins:
Fish require protein in their diet to supply those enzymes required to regulate metabolic processes and provide the basic structure required for growth and repair of body tissue. Although the exact protein requirement of most fish has yet to be established, most fish require diets with 35 – 50% of protein. Small, fast growing tropical fish with high metabolic rates are likely to require a higher proportion of protein within their diet than large, slow growing coldwater pool fish. Whilst the health problems associated with feeding too little protein may be easily predicted, the consequences of feeding too much protein are often overlooked.
Fish that are presented with a diet that contains more protein than they require for the growth or repair of body tissue may begin to metabolise these excess proteins as a source of energy. The waste product associated with the metabolism of protein as source of energy is ammonia, which is then excreted into the water surrounding the fish and results in a decline in water quality.
Feeding too much protein may also result in the fish storing a high proportion of fat within its body tissues or organs. Many recent studies appear to suggest that a high protein diet may even be related to a build up in fats within the cardiac blood supply and could even result to an increase incidence of cardiac problems.
The quality of dietary protein will also have an impact upon the health of a fish. Proteins may be regarded as being composed of a number of building blocks known as amino acids. Poor quality proteins are unlikely to contain the balance of amino acids required to support healthy metabolism and are likely to result in a range of health problems such as stunted growth, poor colouration or even reduced breeding efficiency. 
The ecological impact associated with the use of dietary proteins is now being appreciated. Consequently, many fish feed manufacturers have begun to search for alternative sources of proteins from sources such as plants such as soya bean.

Carbohydrates:
Unlike mammals, fish do not appear to require a dietary source of carbohydrates and only appear to have a limited ability to utilise it as a source of energy. However, carbohydrates do appear to form an important role within the diet of most species of fish. Diets that lack carbohydrates require the fish to digest many other dietary components such as proteins and fats to provide various essential compounds that are usually supplied by carbohydrates. Generally, warm water fish appear to be able to digest more carbohydrates than coldwater or marine fish and that most species of fish are able to digest more carbohydrate in warmer water when compared to the same species being retained in colder water. There is also some evidence to suggest that larger amounts of dietary carbohydrates may be associated with ‘stickier’ faecal pellets, making them more difficult to flush out of the aquarium and possibly leading to more difficult filter maintenance and even poorer water quality and water clarity.
 
Vitamins and Minerals:
Supplying the correct balance of dietary vitamins and minerals is necessary to maintain the healthy growth and reproduction of every species of fish. However, as many vitamins or minerals may also be present within the water and many more may leech quickly from the food, the exact dietary requirement for vitamins or minerals is very difficult to estimate. Consequently, many feeds contain far more of these dietary components than the fish actually requires.

In 30cm deep aquarium it may take up to 2 minutes for the first flakes to sink to the bottom. If the tank contains a high number of surface feeding fish then it can take considerably longer for the remnants to arrive at the tank base. Even if bottom feeding fish, such as Corydoras or loach, are fed with sinking pellets, the fish may have to wait for up to 5 minutes to ‘soften up’ before they can be eaten. Even this short period of time can lead to a dramatic decline in the nutrient content of food.
Depending upon solubility, it can take no longer than 30 seconds of immersion in water for up to 90% of B vitamins and 65% of vitamin C to be leached from the food. Accordingly, the problem of vitamin deficiency may be a problem in a large proportion of tanks or pools.
Some vitamins are not only required to maintain optimal health but many, such as vitamin C and E, help to reduce the risk of disease and infection by boosting the efficiency of the immune response. However, feeding too many vitamins may begin to represent a danger to the health of fish. For example, feeding too much vitamin A can result in slower growth, anaemia and even necrosis of the caudal fin.


Guide to Buying Fish:
An aquarium can and should be a great source of enjoyment for the fish keeper. But first and foremost it should be a healthy and safe environment for your fish. Therefore, it is important that not only the equipment is right for your set up but also that you take great care when buying your fish.
Whether you are about to buy fish for the first time for your new aquarium or whether you are adding more species to your existing tank, there are some basic rules you should follow to avoid disappointment later on. These rules apply to marine, tropical, freshwater tropical as well as coldwater fish.
 
Make sure you find a specialist aquatic shop that sells good quality fish and offers good advice. If you are a regular customer the members of staff will become familiar with your tank set-up and species purchased.
If you are under the age of 16 you must be accompanied by a parent/guardian or provide written consent to make a purchase of livestock.
When you visit your aquatic retailer, take time to observe the conditions in which the fish are kept. Tanks should have adequate filtration and present the fish well. Specialist aquatic retailers take great pride in their fish stock and will only sell healthy fish.
Take time to observe the fish to make sure they are all in good health. Any signs of disease or ill health should deter any purchase. Fish should be mobile with no signs of abnormality.

If you are unsure about the compatibility of the fish you have your eye on or their suitability for your aquarium set up ask a member of staff for advice. Any reputable shop will happily provide accurate information about the purchase/keeping of livestock and the correct use of products they sell and if your present equipment is suitable for those fish you intend to take home.
You need to consider the size of your aquarium to determine the quantity and species of fish you can keep and the different species you wish to keep should be compatible with each other. For the welfare of all your fish it is important that they are going to be able to live together in harmony.
If you are buying fish for a newly set up aquarium please take great care to build up the stocking density very gradually. A responsible retailer will discourage you from buying too many fish in a short period of time. Remember they have both yours and your fishes' best interest at heart. If in doubt seek advice as suggested above.
It is a good idea to check your water quality before making a purchase. Ensure Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH and water hardness are at the right level. Simple test kits are available from your aquatic retailer and most shops provide a professional testing service and will be happy to explain your results to you.
Fish should be caught in such a way that keeps stress to a minimum and physical damage should be avoided at all costs. Hence most shops will insist on them catching the fish themselves.

Make sure you inform the staff of the journey time involved in transporting the fish home. They will be able to provide you with a purpose designed container to reduce the stress levels the fish are exposed to. It should also carry a sufficient amount of oxygen for the duration of the trip, an appropriate amount of water, and provide insulation for tropical or marine fish. Covering the fish up whilst in transit will be greatly appreciated by your new pets, direct sunlight will not only increase water temperatures it will also cause unnecessary stress
When you return home with your fish it will be necessary to acclimatise them before releasing them into the new environment.

Introducing your fish to their new home:
The fish are likely to have been in the bags for some time now. Carefully lift the lid on the poly box allowing a little light into the bags or box. Do not under any circumstances show the fish too much light too soon, fish can be light or photo sensitive just like us. Exposing them to too much light too soon will stress the fish.
A gradual increase in light over a period of fifteen minutes will be fine; this will allow them to adjust to the natural light surroundings.

Begin by floating the fish in their bags in the aquarium. At this stage once all the fish are floating in their bags, do a check on the tank temperature using a glass thermometer or similar instrument. The fish will need floating for around twenty minutes in their bags. This will allow the water in the bag to adjust gradually to the surrounding water temperature in the aquarium, of course with the fish in the bags they too will acclimatise at a steady rate which is safe to them.
If they are not given correct time to acclimatise they will suffer from temperature shock which can have very severe effects on the fish’s health and well being.
Once the fish have been floated for the twenty minute period, begin opening the bags, whilst doing this I would advise rolling down the sides of the bags and gently allowing some water from the aquarium to enter the bag, this will not only finish off the acclimatisation procedure but, just as importantly it will allow the fish to adjust to the very slightly different water parameters, which will have been brought about by the influx of 50% new aquarium water.
Repeat this process around 3-4 times, keep a close eye on all your fish during this period, it is also extremely important that all aquarium lights are kept off at all times during this acclimatisation period.

Once the fish have adjusted to the water quality and temperature, it is now time to release them into their new home.
Net the fish out of the bags and gently lower the net in to the aquarium water to release them.
Do not add the water that they came in to the aquarium water as it may contain some nasties.

You may notice at this stage that some of the fish will swim straight to the bottom or hide behind some rocks or plants, do not panic this is only natural, in time they will adjust to their surroundings. We advise monitoring the fish carefully for the next 12 hours, and begin feeding around 24 hours after the move.
After the fish have been introduced, leave the aquarium lights off for around 5-6 hours.
Other small checks that are useful are to check that the filter is running correctly, check the water temperature, and test your water quality on a weekly basis, monitor fish's behaviour, and make sure they are all feeding correctly. If this is a new aquarium set up then it may be necessary to test your water quality on a daily basis for the first few weeks.

Water Quality

Testing your water quality will enable you to see that all water parameters are safe for the fish and that the filter has successfully matured to its previous state. If you are concerned by any of the results shown in the water test, consult your local aquatic retailer for detailed advice.
Test strips are not reliable so get yourself a more reliable liquid test kit.

Conclusion

Provided you take care to follow the procedures mentioned above, we are confident that in a very short space of time you will be able to appreciate your beautiful aquarium.

Happy fish keeping
Tropical Fish Forums UK
 




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Comments *

1) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by hayleyj101 on January 01, 2013, 08:02:07 pm
Thank you so much for writing this post - I am going to follow it very carefully.  I am determined to make this hobby work and havea  successful tank.

I will probably have a few questions if you don't mind!  Here's my first three!

1)  Amazon have no stock of the Jayes Ammonia - is this the same thing:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Klenoff-Household-Ammonia-500ml/dp/B000TAWBLC/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357070129&sr=8-1-fkmr1

2)  What is mature filter media

3)  When I do a water change - do I just add cold tap water to the tank and add the water treatment at the same time?  What if there are fish in there during my water change - what temp does the water have to be when I add it to the tank?

Sorry for the silly questions, I am very new to this!

Thank you! x
2) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by Sacha on January 01, 2013, 11:03:02 pm
Hi Hayley,

1) Yes, that's exactly what you need.

2) Mature filter media is anything that comes from an already established filter. So if someone has had a tank set up for a year, and they give you a sponge from their filter, then you put that sponge into your own tank, you are adding good bacteria from your friends tank, into your own tank. This speeds up a cycle.

3) It's very important not to shock your fish through temperature shock. You should match the temperature of the new water to the temperature of the tank. Your fresh water will probably be too cold, so maybe add some boiled water from the kettle, to bring the temperature up to the same temperature of the tank. Just fill a bucket of tap water and a bit of boiled water, to bring the temperature up a bit, then add the dechlorinator to that bucket. You should have some way of measuring how much water you're adding to the bucket. I have a big tub, and on it, I have labelled with a permanent pen "10 litres", "20 litres" and "40 litres", so I can see how much water I am adding to the tank.

Also, your fish should always be in the tank during a water change. You shouldn't take them out of the tank. You should also never do a full water change. 50% should be the maximum amount of water you change at once.

I hope this helps a bit but let me know if it isn't clear. Maybe better to just make a thread in the forums, instead of here.
3) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by hayleyj101 on January 02, 2013, 12:52:11 pm
Thankyou so so much for all your help and advice x
4) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by andrew197 on January 03, 2013, 04:03:38 pm
Hello,

What a fanstastic article. I have read it a few times and just enjoyed the read! Thank you.

I have a couple of questions as a newbie to keeping fish and I have a tank to collect in the next couple of days and want to get things completely right before adding fish (obviously).

My queries are different as the tank I am getting has been used (up to literally today/tomorrow until the move their fish to their new tank). It comes with its own internal filter and an additional external filter. What, specifically, do I need to do with this in terms of the cycle?

I have just systematically gone done the list you provided and bought the items - great fun!

Thanks very much

Andy
5) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by Sacha on January 03, 2013, 04:17:11 pm
Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the comments- glad you enjoyed the article.

The person you are getting the tank from- can you ask them how long the tank has been running with fish? If it is a long time, longer than say a couple of months, in theory you shouldn't have to cycle it at all. The filter should already be cycled. Just make sure that the filter stays wet, otherwise the bacteria might die.

I'm sorry you bought the items- you probably wont be needing the ammonia. Maybe cancel the order?

If you could find out exactly how long the filters have been running for and let me know, that would be great. It's probably better to send me a private message though instead of clogging up this space.

Cheers,

Sacha
6) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by andrew197 on January 05, 2013, 08:08:52 pm
Just a quickie - can a tap, safe type product such as Biotopol - Makes water safe be used instead of a bog-standard dechlorinator. I have the former and I ready to go if yes. If not, then I am waiting on a delivery around Wednesday for dechlorinator. I would like to get started on my cycle asap.

Thanks
7) Great Article!
Written by SeanFace101 on March 12, 2014, 12:33:29 am
This is a really good informative article. I didn't have a clue about the different bacteria, not even about any fishless cycle either. Since reading this I now have my water testing kit order and will start things when I have tested the water. Thanks.
8) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by 0 on June 28, 2014, 09:29:53 am
This info is blimmin brilliant - thank you so much!
9) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by 0 on October 17, 2014, 02:28:01 pm
Hi, this is exactly the info am looking for great article. But I have one question on this.
If I can't get mature filter media what steps will I have to take to make a good health fishless cycle.

Thanks
10) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by plankton on November 25, 2014, 11:50:46 am
Please note that we have discovered that the cycle is more efficient if, in instruction 4, you only top up to 2ppm once the concentration falls, so it sort of combines with instruction 5. :)
If you do use mature media, then only start at 2ppm, not 4ppm.
11) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by strider60l on July 10, 2016, 05:43:12 pm
Thank you for this post sacha its really good :D

I only have one question, in regards to the fishless cycle you say to take a carbon filter out, i have a new filter sponge i bought on the cheap from a discount crate haha would i be better to replace the carbon with the sponge instead of just leaving a section of my filter spare ??

Thank you
12) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by 0 on February 06, 2017, 08:55:05 pm
Hi Sorry to jump on this post but im looking for some advise please. We set up at 60litre tank for our daughter 3 weeks ago as per aquatic shops advise, all water was fine. We toom a sample down on saturday and got the ok to get fish. We got 6 guppies and 2 clown pleco, all were fine then last night and today 1 of the flame guppies were staying an inch off the bottom, he was swimming very fast but not actually going anywhere. I phoned the aquatics shop to get some advise (we already did a white spot treatment on them the day we got them, 2nd dose is wednesday) she told me to bring him in amd they will quarantine him and to get another fish, we did that although sad to leave Jasper behind, she also advised me to get some aquatic salt and said 1 teaspoon per 5 litres to me. So i got home reintroduced the new fish and put 10 teaspooms of auatic salt in, all fish seem fine and are swimming happily. I did some reserch about adding salt later on and i have read its 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons!!! I have done a 6% water change as my partner said it will stress them out if i do anymore. Will my fish be ok, i have been so carefull and im now scared that i may have harmed them. Any advise will be great please.
13) Re: Setting up your new Aquarium
Written by Kashka on September 16, 2017, 05:38:12 pm
Hello, thanks for the great post. Whilst I appreciate the need for patience, can I gradually add water from my existing tank together with water purchased from my local fish shop to do the job?
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