DaFishDude's Set-Up Guide

1.) Since this tank is new to you, Place tank into tub or outside, fill and let stand for 24 hours to check for leaks/failed seals. Then scrub the tank with a new/unused cloth; use no soap or bleach! Just plain hot water. If you have bought an acrylic aquarium, be very careful as they can easily scratch.

2.) Run your power outlet to the side of your tank/tank stand.

3.) If you are going to use a backdrop, secure that onto your tank now. They go outside the aquarium, and can be easily held in place with scotch tape.

4.) Now place your leak-tested clean fish tank into place. (If you are using an over the rim/H.O.T/Backpack/canister style filter system go to step 7)

5.) If you have elected to use an under gravel filtration system, place the plates into the bottom of the tank filling up as much space as possible.

6.) Insert lift tubes into the plates, along with air stones and caps or power heads. Consult your owner's instructions for more exact information, or feel free to e-mail me.

7.) Place your boiled gravel (yes, boil it first with NO soap or bleach!) on top of the plates about 1" thick give or take some, depending on the overall size of the tank. For those of you who love live plants, a little rock, plain clay kitty litter and sand works wonderfully.

8.) Install power heads on top of the lift tubes or run airlines if you are using air stones in the lift tubes. Leave yourself plenty of extra airline at least 18" or more for we will be doing some cutting here in the next few steps.

9.) Secure your heater into place, but DO NOT plug it in yet. Wet the suction cups a little if needed to make a good seal.

10.) If you are using plastic plants and/or ornaments go ahead and arrange those now as you like. If you are adding any other air driven ornaments do that now too, each with some extra airline for them as well.

11.) Either by clean hose, or dedicated bucket, fill your tank to about 1"-3" below the top of the tank. Pour in slowly as to disturb the substrate (gravel, etc.) as little as possible.

12.) For over the rim/H.O.T/Backpack/canister type filters users, place your system according to its directions in the tank now.

13.) Place your cover and lights on the tank.

14.) Plug in the lights, thermostat, power heads, and air pumps. Ensure all are operating properly and allow the temperature in the tank to stabilize at the desired level. If you have multiple items running from an air pump, place a gang valve on the back top lip of the aquarium, add a line from the pump to the gang valve inlet. Then run the line from all air stones, ornaments, etc. to the gang valve, trim the line to the desired length, leave a bit of flex in the lines. Then adjust the gang valve levers or screws so that each item gets the proper amount of air to make to make them work. If things do not work well enough, consider exchanging your pump for a larger one, or removing an air driven ornament from the tank.

15.) Many will say you can not put fish into your water right away, others will tell you with adding the right chemicals you can put fish in almost immediately. They both make their points. I believe in waiting, for more than a few reasons, number one you need time to get the water to the correct pH level, you will also notice a build up of bubbles on the glass, that is from the water pressure used to bring the water into your tank, it is over-oxygenated due to the high pressure once the water is in balance and the bubbles go away, usually within 3 to 7 days depending on tank size, and the heater has had a chance to be calibrated to bring the tank to the proper temperature, 74-78 degrees Fahrenheit is typical. Make sure everything has been stable for at least 24 hours, if not longer.

16.) Go get your fish! Start with some hearty fish and build up slowly. White Cloud Mountain Minnows are ideal for first starting up an aquarium. Do not induce large numbers to a tank at any one time, It can throw off the balance of the tank as well as stress out the fish causing premature death or disease. I know the greatest urge is to grab up all the fish at one time, but if you go slowly, add a just a few each week, you will have much better success. This is especially true if you have kids, a weekly visit is much more fun for them, rather than just one time visit, and so make a game out of it. My general rule of thumb is to add no more than 3 inches of fish per 10 gallons of tank volume per week.

Remember to check back at http://dafishdude.com for more help, tricks and tips!