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Aquatic Life: How To Set Up A Fun Freshwater Tank

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A freshwater tank or aquarium is used to keep different types of aquatic life. An aquarium is relaxing, and it improves the aesthetic appearance of your home. If you want to set up a fish tank for the first time, there are different things you should consider. Read on to learn how to set up a freshwater tank.

Type of Species you Want to Keep

The first thing you should consider is choosing the appropriate aquarium for the type of fish or any other aquatic life you intend to keep. For instance, small tanks look elegant, but you should choose suitable fish or shrimp that can live in small spaces. On the other hand, larger tanks are stable and are easier to maintain. Other types of fish can grow bigger while others remain small. Therefore, knowing the exact kind of fish you want to keep can help you choose an ideal tank. The location you choose to put your tank in must not receive direct sunlight. For instance, Axolotls have sensitive eyelids, so they need moderate lighting. Choose a spot that is away from traffic in the house. 

Determine the Tank Size

You must choose a tank with the right size depending on the location you want to place it and the type of species you want to breed. If you are interested in keeping Axolotls, you should remember that these species are very sensitive and they can quickly get injured which can also lead to fatalities. If you are a novice in keeping these creatures, you can start with 20-gallon tanks to accommodate the young critters. 

Tank Décor

Your aquarium should have some décor to attract the fish inside. A dull environment can cause stress to your fish and other forms of aquatic life. You can add plants to your tank since they provide cover and enrichment to the water. Low light and floating plants are ideal, and they also provide hiding spaces. Driftwood and rocks also provide a perfect environment for the fish to hide. They also make excellent decorations that improve the appearance of your place.  

Filling the Tank

After the setup process, fill the tank with distilled water and do it gently to avoid disturbing the décor inside. Check for any signs of leaks and add the required amount of water if there is none. You should also add the appropriate amount of additive or conditioner to the tank. Make sure you correctly install the heater which moderates the water temperature. You also need to install a thermometer in the opposite direction of the heater. It should be accessible so that you can easily check the temperature to prevent the water from overheating. 

When you have filled your tank with water and all installations are ready, you must give it a stabilizing period. You can leave the tank to sit for about 24 to 48 hours to allow the dissipation of atmospheric gasses found in water. This is also the time you should adjust the heater and allow the cloudiness to clear. When your tank is ready, you can add fish and begin the cycling process. 

Provide Aquarium Lighting

Aquarium lighting should be part of the tank setup since it helps create a day and night cycle. Your fish should get time to rest, so design a regular on and off-cycle for your lighting. Check if your light has a built-in timer or get a standard timer. Aquatic life including fish and plants requires about 10 to 12 hours of light. However, tanks with no plants require about 6 to 8 hours only. 

Clean the Tank Regularly

You must clean your freshwater tank regularly, but not too soon after setup. Leave it to settle for a few days or a couple of weeks. Do not disturb the gravel during the first days of cleaning the aquarium since this can disrupt the formation of beneficial bacteria. You should also avoid disturbing the filter during the first few weeks. There are different water parameters you should consider to maintain healthy aquatic life. The following are some of the factors to keep in mind:


  • Water temperature (about 59 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit, 15 – 23°C)
  • pH in the range of 6.5 to 8.0
  • GH 125-250ppm (7-14)
  • kH 53 -143 ppm
  • Nitrate ppm
  • Ammonia 

Be sure to keep these parameters at the right level.

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An aquarium helps you keep fish and other forms of aquatic life of your choice in your home. This is an interesting and rewarding hobby since you can get fresh fish in your home. While setting up a new aquarium may seem like a daunting task, it is not difficult if you follow instructions. The tips above can help you get started in your fish-keeping project at home.