How to set up a Tropical Aquarium
Having an aquarium is a fascinating hobby. It may be a bit daunting if one has never kept fish before but an aquarium is easy to set up and maintain, provided one has done some research before hand. Setting up a tropical fish tank is a bit expensive in the initial outlay but the upkeep is relatively inexpensive and it is a hobby that will give all family members a great deal of pleasure.
The Basics Before Setting up the Aquarium
Starting an aquarium requires a bit of planning. Decide how much money is available to spend on the aquarium. If it is the first time that a person is setting up an aquarium, it is advisable not to go overboard in what one spends. It is very easy to spend a lot of money on this hobby and regret it later. Rather start small and add extra decorations or fish to the aquarium as you gain experience in fish keeping. This will save hundreds of dollars in dead fish because they have been overcrowded in a tank or are not properly cared for due to ignorance. A person needs to know how much they can spend on the aquarium and the necessary equipment as well as on the fish. Once a budget has been decided upon, it is then time to start with the fun part of setting up the tank.
What Kind of Fish to Keep
Before purchasing the equipment, decide what and how many fish you want to have in the aquarium. For a beginner some fish such as guppies or swordtails are much easier to maintain than angelfish or Siamese Fighters, which require more care. Not all fish can be kept together, as their requirements may differ or they may eat each other. In order to decide what type of fish to keep, do some research on fish breeds on the internet or get a good book on the subject. Go to the local pet shop and speak to the owner as they will know what types of fish are suitable as tank companions.
Choose the Size of the Aquarium
Once a person has decided on the fishes they want to keep, it is necessary to chose how big the aquarium will be. This will depend both on the needs of the fish and the space one has to house the aquarium. It is important to chose correctly, as once the tank is full, it is difficult to move and costly to replace if it is the wrong size for the number of fish that a person wants to keep.
Design a layout for the tank.
Different fish have different needs. Some like a lot of flowing plant material; others prefer rocky hideouts or lots of open space. Find out what the natural habitat of the fish looks like and try to recreate that in the tank. This will give a person healthy fish to enjoy, as a fish that is stressed by its environment is more prone to disease.
Purchase the Equipment.
Go to a reputable pet shop as they will be able to advise a person on the best equipment for the budget that a person has drawn up. They will be able to give advice on types of filters and pumps as well as heating requirements and lighting.
Set up the Tank.
Now that all the equipment is purchased one can start setting up the tank. Make sure that it is positioned correctly before filling it with water as it can be too heavy to move afterwards. The tank must be on a sturdy base so that it will not fall over and it must not be in a position where it receives direct sunlight as this will cause excessive algae growth.
Allow the Tank to Settle
Once the tank has been set up, the plants placed in the tank and it has been filled, the tank should be allowed to cycle for a few days before introducing fish. Fill the tank with water, add the necessary number of drops of dechlorinator and start the pump and heater. It is necessary to let the tank stand for a while so that the tank can settle before the fish are introduced.
Add Fish to the Tank
Initially only add a few fish at a time, so that they can settle and so that the tank environment can stabilize before new fish are added. It also gives once an opportunity to see whether the fish are compatible and whether any diseases are present.
Maintain the Aquarium
A healthy aquarium needs regular maintenance in order for it to stay healthy. Regularly check on the condition of the fish and plants and treat sick animals. Remove babies to a separate tank or breeding tank so that they do not get eaten by the bigger fish.
Fish keeping is a wonderful hobby that brings hours of pleasure not only to oneself but to others who can also enjoy the aquarium. Careful planning beforehand and regular maintenance after the tank has been set up will are all that is needed to be a successful fish keeper.