There truly is nothing more magical than the first time you walk through an aquarium. A blue glow of light, the fish swimming all around you in more hughes of colors than you’ve ever imagined. The way they flirt with you on the other side of the glass, “hey come follow me!” they call out to you as they pass by. Because of this mysterious wonder, I’ve decided to start my own fish tank! First I had to grab all of my materials. My tank is a lovely 55g with a stand and lots of figurines. Then I had to go through the steps of setting up the tank, picking a location, making sure everything looked perfect. Then came the even more fun part of cycling it. It wasn’t easy, but hopefully what I have learned along the way can help you to start your own fish tank too! II. Body
The most important step to owning a fish tank, is finding one! That’s not all you’ll need though, you have a lovely list of quite expensive materials you must acquire before even getting your fish! You need an aquarium, gravel, and figurines. these are needed so that your fish have a happy fun environment where they can hide and feel safe as they swim around for your pleasure. Not to mention they are what helps your tank to look totally awesome and one of a kind. Also you’ll need a filter, replacement media, a heater, test kits for water parameters and nitrogen monitoring, an aquarium vacuum, a fish net and a glass scrubber. These are the items you are going to use to maintain your fish tank and keep it up to par for your fish’s lives. You have to make sure that your tank is incredibly clean so that your fish won’t get sick or die in this process. The last things you need are fish food, and a water de-chlorinator. These are what helps to keep your fish healthy and happy! Now to the fun stuff!
Next we have to carry out the steps of how to set up your tank. Time to pick a location for your fish to live! Make sure your choice is out of direct sunlight, in a low traffic area, and in an easy to reach location. You don’t want to risk the chance of someone knocking over your tank by accident or not being able to reach the tank so you can clean it if it gets dirty. Once you’ve chosen your location it’s time to set up your tank. Be sure to wash your gravel and figurines, they’re most likely covered in dust, and you really don’t want that floating around in your tank. Carefully place all of your gravel and decorations in the bottom, be sure to not over fill the bottom so that your fish have a comfortable environment. Now it’s time to fill the tank! I used a water hose to slowly fill mine up, but you can also use a bucket or a hose pipe.
Be sure to use your water de-chlorinator, although there are no fish, chlorine and chloramines can build up over time. Clean out your filter material, these always contain heaps of nasties and debris you don’t want in your tank. place the filter material in the filter and then into the aquarium. If it is a hang on filter like mine, you will need to fill the back up with water before turning it on. Now time for the heater, this little guy makes sure your fish won’t get to cold in what little winter we have here in Florida. Finally place your light on the top and now you’re ready to start building bacteria! Hold your horses there cowboy, you’re still not finished yet!
It’s time to cycle this domain! This is probably the most important part of setting up your new tank, lots of steps and lots of science! first you need to add a few fish to the aquarium. these little guys have got to produce ammonia that the bacteria feed on. I suggest a few feeder fish for starters. Be sure to add the right amount of fish to the tank, so as not to over fill it. Do a few water changes every couple of days, about 10-15% of the water needs to be scooped out and replaced. Once again be sure to have used your de-chlorinator in the water so as not to kill off any awesome bacteria. When you feed your fish be sure not to over feed them, the food can cloud up the tank.
This process will take anywhere from 2-8 weeks, take your water to be tested at a local pet store for free, or you can buy an in home water test and do it yourself. The nitrite should spike around the second week and then convert to nitrates, at this point you should be able to carefully add more fish into the aquarium, do so slowly so you don’t produce another mini- cycle. if you are certain that your nitrite and ammonia are at 0, then feel free to experiment with slightly more exotic fish. After the tank is up and there is still excess ammonia, this may be due to inadequate filtration or overpopulation or even over feeding.
You’ve done it! You’ve gotten all of your materials, you set up your tank, and now you’ve filtered it! Not too shabby if I say so myself. You should know the ins and outs of your tank by now and have a healthy lovely environment for your fish to be happy and swim in delight. Feel free to add plants during the cycling stage. Get creative with mixing different types of fish and decorations in your tank. Remember each fish is going to have its own personality, this is what adds to the magic of your aquarium. Kids will gather round and gaze in wide wonder at all of your hard work bringing you pride and joy for all you have had to go through to maintain a tank as healthy and good looking as yourself.