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postheadericon How To Set Up Your Tropical Fish Tank Correctly

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Decisions on the tank, heating system, lighting system, aeration and filtration and aquascaping are just five of ten sections to deal with as part of setting up your tropical fish tank.

1. Tank Decisions

Decide on the size of tank you want and the material its made of. Your tank can be made of acrylic or glass material and could be assembled within frames made of metal. Acrylic will be lighter but tends to scratch. You will not want a tank less than 45 cm long, 30 cm wide and 30 cm deep unless you are buying it as a hospital, quarantine or breeding tank.

In calculating how many fish can be accommodated in your tank the depth is not taken into consideration as it is based on the surface area which is the length times the width. As a rule, divide the surface area by 12 to get the length in fish you can accommodate. For example a 24 x 12 x 12 (inches) tank has a surface area of 288 sq ins and will accommodate 24 inches of fish; 24 x 1 inch or 12 x 2 inch fish etc etc.

But bear in mind that you should use the adult length of the fish in your calculations. Otherwise your aquarium will become overcrowded as the your fish grow and there will probably not be enough oxygen to sustain them.

2. Heating System

Unless you are planning to stock cold water fish only, then you will need to install a heater and thermostat (separate or combined). Often a glass tube with both of them in will be used with temperature control on the top of it and a separate thermometer installed.

If you have a bigger tank the heat may not get around as efficiently so you will probably install two heaters. For a twelve gallon aquarium you would need a one hundred and fifty watt heater based on having ten watts for every gallon.

3. Lighting System

Lighting is necessary for plant growth and also shows off the fish at their colorful best. Fluorescent tubes are available for this purpose and give off less heat than other types of bulb. The lights are usually installed into your tank cover. It is not advisable to have your tank lighting on all day.

At night, in order to achieve conditions seen in the wild, you can dim the lighting or switch it off. Your ventilated cover will not only hold the lighting system but also protect the fish from household pollutants (sprays, dust, dirt etc) but keep them from jumping out and prevent loss of water by evaporation.

4. Aeration and Filtration

An air pump is not essential and if it used to get more oxygen (and therefore more fish) into your tank and it fails then your fish will die! But it can be used in combination with a filter to clean up the water. For example a filter may have a combination of a physical layer of material to collect fine solids and a layer of charcoal to chemically adsorb organic pollutants and maintain the water quality.

Air can be passed into the tank via air stones on the end of the tubing. Ensure you have a n anti-siphon valve for the air pump. Use of an under gravel filter (a biological filter) system involves a flat plate with outlets that goes under the gravel substrate and is powered by an air pump pushing air and water through the substrate which encourages bacteria to develop in it that will break down the toxic waste products from the fish, dead plants etc.

5. Tank Aquascaping

Decorations cover real rocks, synthetic rocks, real wood, synthetic wood and background panorama. They are useful as locations for fish to shelter in when they want to. Also as a resting area at night or in the day for nocturnal species. You do not want to use rocks that are limestone based as the calcium in it will produce harder water unless of course this type of water is recommended. And do not use any that appear to have metallic content in them.

Caves can be set up for cave-dwelling species by joining a few rocks together with silicone sealant or you could buy a purpose made one. Rocks can be built up to form the background or you could employ a photographic underwater scene wrapped around the back and sides of the tank to great effect. The apparatus used in your aquarium can be disguised by using your ornaments, logs and rocks.

Wash the gravel substrate before use, as well as ornaments, decorations, rocks etc and grade the level of the gravel from three inches at the back to about two at the front. Run water through the gravel until it becomes clear.

You are only restricted by your imagination when developing your aquascape. But bear in mind that you want to maintain a balance and keep a realistic amount of free swimming area for both the fish and you to see them enjoying themselves.

The remaining five steps in setting up your tropical fish tank cover water quality, aquarium plants,fitting out your aquarium, selecting healthy fish and adding fish to your tank.

Paul Curran provides a care information system for fresh water aquariums. Get your FREE E-Course on how to set up and maintain a beautiful aquarium, have the healthiest, happiest fish around AND learn more about steps 6 to 10 in setting up a tropical fish tank at al-fish-tank/

Article Source: How To Set Up Your Tropical Fish Tank Correctly

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