The great thing about starting up a tropical freshwater aquarium is it’s the best system for beginners. Tropical aquariums are
relatively cheap and the fish are usually hardy. Marine aquariums, with saltwater fish, are more expensive and you will
need a lot of knowledge and good techniques from the outset.
When you have purchased your aquarium you need remember these points:
Wash the gravel:
Put it in a bowl, place it under cold running water and keep stirring the gravel until the water that flows from it is clean.
Stir the gravel around vigorously to make absolutely sure you get it as clean as possible before returning the gravel to
Wash any decorative ornaments, plastic plants and rocks thoroughly using cold running water. If you have a background
secure it firmly to your aquarium..
Clean the tank:
Clean the inside of the aquarium with clean water, checking for leaks whilst doing so. Then empty the aquarium of water.
Is everything correct?
Before you fill the aquarium with water for your fish, check the filter (attaching firmly and ensuring no plants or rocks
are in the way), heater (attaching firmly and set at 27 degrees), ensure the light and the thermostat are positioned correctly.
(Do Not Turn Your Heater On At This Point)
Add the gravel:
Make sure that there’s a depth of 4 cm.
Add the water half way:
Now is the time to add your cleaned décor or plants easily. It is best to put the taller plants at the back and the smaller
one’s at the front, but its all in the eye of the beholder.
For ease of maintenance in the future you may want to consider using plastic plants.
Fish-Fish-Fish believe the Algarde ranges are the most realistic. If you use large rocks as decoration, make sure they are
firmly bedded in so that they can never topple.
Add the water all the way:
Watch out because if you fill it right to the brim, then later you want to change the arrangement and put your hands in and
the water overflows- whoops!
Important!! Condition the water:
Before adding any fish to your new aquarium you must remove all the chlorine from the water.
Chlorine/Chloramine can damage your fish and Fish-Fish-Fish recommend API Aquarium Stress Coat to assist in
treating your water.
Turn it all on:
Turn on your heater, lighting and filter systems. You should get a noise and a flow of bubbles when you turn the filter on.
This will settle to a more steady flow after a minute or two.
Before adding any fish, let the filter run for 5-7 days to let the aquarium settle.
You may notice that there maybe a lot of bubbles clinging to the glass – this is because tap water is pressurised and as the
cold water warms in the aquarium, gasses are released. Let these dissipate as they will disappear when aerated.
Make sure that the temperature is set correct, at about 27C.
Add the fish!!:
Add only a couple of fish to start off with.
Use the Equalising method, by floating the fish using the bag in which they were purchased. Leave them in the bag
floating for 30 minutes before releasing them.
(You must not over feed these fish, 1 small pinch of food every other day is sufficient at this time)
Adding more fish:
Before adding more fish make sure the existing fish living in your aquarium are happy.
It’s a good idea at this time to do a nitrite test and Fish-Fish-Fish recommend Hagen Nitrite Test Kit for this.
If your nitrite levels remain high, please phone Fish-Fish-Fish for advice. When the nitrite level is okay you can add more fish.
Fish-Fish-Fish always suggest adding a couple of fish at a time, take things slowly as there is no rush!
Once you have added more fish you need to feed them once a day.
If you have any queries or need advice in setting up your aquarium, Fish-Fish-Fish are only a phonecall away and will offer you
free advice anytime.
Maintenance of your aquarium:
Now you have successfully set up your aquarium you now need to keep it maintained.
This is vital to keeping your aquarium healthy and fish happy.
A typical aquarium maintenance schedule is as follows
1. Clean the Glass (every 3 days) :
Aquariums always have algae build up on the glass making the appearance of the aquarium unsightly.
This is very easy to remove using a combination of tools. Fish-Fish-Fish recommend Tetra Aquarium Glass Scraper.
2. Cleaning Gravel (every 2 weeks):
It is very important to clean your gravel to stop waste building up on the bottom of the aquarium.
It’s very easy to clean using a gravel cleaner and Fish-Fish-Fish recommend Rena Telescopic Vacuum Cleaner.
The way this product works is by siphoning the water from the aquarium (into a bucket) and as this is happens you push the
end of the cleaner into the gravel which in turn cleans it!
Make sure you don’t take to much water from your aquarium – 20% is about right.
3. Water Change (every 2 weeks):
This is best done at the same time as cleaning the gravel as you will already be taking 20% of the water out from the aquarium.
Put some fresh cold water in a big bucket to the volume of 20% of your aquarium. Add some API Aquarium Stress Coat
to the water in the bucket and leave to stand for a few hours. When you have done this top up your aquarium with the water
from the bucket It is very important to undertake regular water changes to dilute the nitrate.
4. Cleaning Your Filter (every 3 weeks):
Take the media from your filter. You will notice there are grades of sponge and some ceramic/plastic biological media.
The biological media must not be cleaned in tap water and instead must be cleaned in the aquarium water to keep the
beneficial bacteria alive. (This bacteria turns the fishes waste nitrite into nitrate. This is very important because nitrite is
poisonous to your fish where as nitrate is only dangerous in high levels). All the other media can be cleaned under tap water.
Books are a great way of learning the basics and you can find a good selection on our website or you can also contact
Fish-Fish-Fish on 01799 550 943 or e-mail for any free advice you may need anytime.