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Freshwater Aquarium Setup

Setting up a freshwater aquarium may seem like a complicated endeavor, but with a simple game plan the process is smooth and straightforward. This handy guide walks you through the general steps involved in setting up and maintaining a freshwater aquarium, so you can enjoy an established aquarium display with greater ease.

First 48 hours: Set up the Aquarium and Stand

  1. Place your fully assembled stand and aquarium in a location out of direct sunlight.
  2. Pour substrate into the aquarium.
  3. Carefully fill aquarium 75% with tap water treated with a dechlorinator.
  4. Rinse aquarium decorations in a bucket of clean, fresh water. Remove loose debris. Arrange decorations in your aquarium to your liking.
  5. Fill remainder of aquarium with prepared freshwater and add a bacterial additive.
  6. Install aquarium equipment, including heater, and plug into power supply per manufacturer's instructions.
  7. After 48 hours, if aquarium water is clear and temperature is 76-78ºF, your aquarium is ready for fish!

Post 48 hours: Add Fish

  1. Add fish per detailed acclimation instructions.

Maintaining Your Freshwater Aquarium Ecosystem

  1. Monitor and test water parameters weekly to maintain a healthy freshwater aquarium environment.
  2. Perform 25% water changes biweekly and perform regular filter maintenance as per manufacturer’s recommendation.
  3. Feed small amounts of food twice daily. Your fish should be able to finish the given portion of food within a few minutes. For a nutritionally balanced diet, feed a variety of foods to your fish, including a staple flake or pellet diet, sinking foods, and frozen foods, as well as herbivore fare.

This general guideline provides a broad overview of what it takes to set up and maintain a successful freshwater aquarium. Once you’ve set up your first freshwater aquarium, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the increasing wealth of knowledge and skills you’ll acquire as you develop and expand your interests.