Fish Tanks 101

Setting Up Your New Fish Tank

Before you introduce your new fish into their new home, there are several steps that you should take to prepare your aquarium.

  • Place your aquarium on a secure, level surface.
  • Rinse gravel with warm water and then lightly blot with a paper towel to remove any residual chemicals.
  • Use a thermometer under the faucet to draw tap water at 76-80 degrees and fill the tank. Cold water should be used for goldfish.
  • Place the hood on the aquarium.
  • Add a water conditioner to remove chlorine and toxic metal and add slime coat to your fish.
  • Place the heater in your fish tank. Plug it in and adjust to the correct temperature. Allow the heater to sit in the water for 20 minutes before plugging the tank in.
  • Install the filter and turn it on.
  • Before adding fish, come by Fish Bowl Aquarium & Pet Mart with a water sample for us to test. This service is complimentary!

The Nitrogen Cycle

When you initially set up your aquarium, it will go through what is called the Nitrogen Cycle. For this cycle to occur, you must first add life (fish) to your tank. When you purchase your fish, let our team know that you have a new aquarium, so that we can recommend types that can best tolerate the Nitrogen Cycle. During this time, beneficial bacteria will colonize and eat the ammonia that is generated by organic matter such as fish food and excrement. The Nitrogen Cycle usually happens between the first 10 days to 6 weeks after aquarium set-up. During this time, the cloudiness in your fish tank will begin to disappear. When cloudiness occurs, do not change the water or clean the filter unless advised to do so by our staff. No new fish should be added until this cycle is complete. We will gladly test a water sample, if you are not sure.

Fish Tank Maintenance

Following the Nitrogen Cycle, change 1/3 of the water in your tank once a month using the following steps:

  • Unplug heater.
  • Unplug filter (do not clean when you change the water).
  • Use a gravel vacuum to remove water.
  • Heat new water to 76-80 degrees and place in a bucket (cold water for goldfish).