How to Set Up an Aquarium

Starting Up an Aquarium Step-by-Step

Step 1
Step 1
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Below are step-by-step instructions, with photo illustrations, of how to start up an aquarium.

1. Position the undergravel filter plate in the bottom of the tank.

2. Install the lift tubes along with their air stones and air line tubing.

Step 2 Step 2
Step 2
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

3. Begin to set up the air pump. Attach a length of air line tubing and a one-way check valve to the pump.

Step 3 Step 3
Step 3
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

4. Run a length of tubing from the check valve to a gang valve, and position the gang valve on the tank.

Step 4 Step 4
Step 4
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

5. Run tubing from the gang valve to each of the lift tubes.

Step 5 Step 5
Step 5

6. Install the mechanical filtration unit. Carefully follow any assembly or installation instructions from the manufacturer.

Step 6 Step 6
Step 6

7. Install the heater/thermostat unit. Again, carefully follow any instructions from the manufacturer.

Step 7 Step 7
Step 7

8. Rinse the gravel thoroughly before adding it to the tank. Put more gravel in the rear of the tank, creating a gentle downward slope from back to front.

Step 8 Step 8
Step 8

9. Add rockwork, driftwood, or any other large aquascaping material. Push them firmly into the gravel bed and build up a little gravel around their bases to position them securely.

Step 9 Step 9
Step 9

10. Fill the tank two-thirds full with water. Make the water as close as possible to the desired temperature of the aquarium, and pour it carefully so the aquascaping is not disturbed.

Step 10 Step 10
Step 10

11. Add plants to the tank. Proper positioning can help to make the equipment less obvious. Fill the tank the rest of the way with water.

Step 11 Step 11
Step 11

12. Add the thermometer. Turn on the equipment, one piece at a time, and make any necessary adjustments.

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Step 12

To learn more about freshwater aquariums, see: