7 Easy Steps To a New Aquarium Installation

Aquariums make a great centerpiece for any home or business. Some people have compared their aquarium installation to a small piece of the ocean in a box. Watching the motions of fish and the water is very soothing and relaxing, but if you’re not an experienced fish keeper, the idea of a full-scale aquarium installation might seem complicated.

There are important facts you should know before you start your new aquarium hobby.  We’ve assembled a guide to a complete aquarium installation to help you get started.

Step One: You Need a Plan

Planning ahead before you begin your aquarium installation will save a lot of headaches later. You should think about the size and shape of your aquarium. What kind of fish do you want in your custom aquarium? Will you have a saltwater aquarium or freshwater aquarium?

Step Two: Set Up Your Custom Aquarium and Stand

Remember, the place you decide you want your aquarium installation should be level and able to hold both the weight of the water and the aquarium itself. You will also want to take any heating elements, lighting or filters into consideration when you place your custom aquarium. You will want to plan a location that is easy for aquarium maintenance if you plan to do it yourself. For aquariums set in walls, or for larger aquariums, you may need professional help with aquarium maintenance.

Step Three: Add Gravel or Sand

Make sure you thoroughly clean the gravel or sand you wish to use before putting it in the tank. Otherwise, your tank could remain cloudy for many weeks afterward. Place the gravel in a bucket and use a hose on high pressure to spray the material directly in the bucket. When the bucket is full of water, stir the gravel in the pocket to clean any more dirt off it. Repeat this process until the water is visibly clear. One clean, gently add the gravel to the bottom of the tank so you don’t scratch the glass or acrylic at the bottom.

Step Four: Install the Filter and Heater

Before you install the filter and heater into your new aquarium, test them in a small amount of water to make sure they’re working properly. That way, you won’t be taking a chance on losing your fish over an equipment malfunction. Make sure to route all power cords away from the custom aquarium. Water and electricity don’t mix very well.

Step Five: Decorate!

Now for the really fun part. It’s time to add whatever decorations you would like. Just like gravel, it is important to clean whenever decorations you plan to use in your aquarium. It is important not to use any kind of soap when you’re cleaning. Soap and detergents are toxic in a marine environment. It only takes a little soap residue on decorations to be fatal to your fish.

If you have live plants, now’s the time to add them.  You should add a little of your water to the tank first.  That way, the plants won’t be stressed until the aquarium is entirely filled with water.

Step Six: Add Your Water and Cycle

Once the inside of your aquarium is in place, you can add your water to it. Make sure you properly treat your water to rid yourself of unwanted chemicals like chlorine. Is a good idea to also add nitrates and beneficial bacteria to the water to help prepare it before adding it to your custom aquarium installation.

Cycling your tank simply means letting it run for a while without any fish in it. By cycling your tank, you will allow the water to become properly oxygenated, and free of unwanted chemicals. Cycling also allows beneficial bacteria to grow. These bacteria are useful in eliminating waste, and reducing the water’s toxicity.

Step Seven: Add Your Fish!

Once your aquarium installation is complete, and your water is cycled, it’s time to add your fish! Test the water once more, and place the bag containing the fish into the water. Leave the bag unopened in your aquarium installation for a few minutes to equalize the water temperature. That way, you won’t stress the fish by a sudden temperature change. It’s always best to add fish one or two at a time.  This allows them more time to acclimate to their new home before they get new neighbors.

Once you have added your fish, observe them for a while to make sure they’re getting along well in their new home. Test the water every few hours after adding your fish. You’ll want to be sure that the temperature, oxygen level, and chemical levels such as ammonia stay balanced.

Professionals Make It Easier

If you’d rather enjoy the fish without any of the setup work, help is just a phone call away. In the Los Angeles area, Aquatech Aquarium Service is ready to help you with expert advice, setup, and service. Rely on their award winning aquarium maintenance and service to make sure your new custom aquarium stays beautiful for years to come.

Aquarium Service Tips: Mixing Saltwater for Your Tank

aquarium serviceSaltwater aquariums area a great way to enjoy the most exotic and colorful marine life. Watching exotic tropical fish swim back and forth is a soothing, entertaining way to relieve stress.  Saltwater aquariums require slightly more aquarium service than freshwater tanks, but the results are worth the extra time and effort.

One of the most common chores for a saltwater aquarium is replenishing the salt water itself. Mixing saltwater is a very easy aquarium service task you can do on your own with the right tools from the fish store. Here is a list of things you will need to make the perfect water for your saltwater aquarium:

Gather Your Materials

A Clean bucket or Heavy-Duty Plastic Storage Bin: A large storage bin works well for mixing the water. You can also use them to store extra water. Make sure to thoroughly clean the bucket or bin before you start.

Sea Salt Mix: This is what will turn ordinary water into salt water. Your aquarium service technician can help you in getting the best quality salt mix available. Aquarium service technicians recommend you do not use ordinary table salt or “sea salt”.  It is missing many elements specific to sea life that you will find in sea salt mixes.

A Submersible Aquarium Service Heater: This will ensure the water you use is at the right temperature for the marine life in your saltwater aquarium. Make sure to use one rated for the desired volume of water.

A Thermometer: You will need a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water. Some heaters have a thermal meter already attached. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need a separate one. A floating or battery-powered meter works well to measure the water temperature.

A Small Pump for Circulation: Having a pump helps you to mix the saltwater more thoroughly with less effort. You can also use the pump to transfer the water from the bucket to the saltwater aquarium. That avoids the need to lift a heavy bin full of water.

A Refractometer or Hydrometer: These are tools that you use to measure the amount of salt in your water. They measure the specific gravity of water. The more salt in the water, the heavier the specific gravity of the saltwater.

A Stirring Implement: A simple wooden stick will work just fine. Avoid metal or plastic to minimize any reactions with the salt water. Make sure to clean the stirring implement before using it.

Water, Water, Everywhere

Now all you need is the water. Tapwater works well in most cases. Unfortunately it contains chemicals that are harmful to marine life, such as chlorine, that you must remove first. Seawater is also an appropriate choice, but make sure to use a source of seawater that’s untainted by chemicals caused by wastewater or runoff. Seawater also may need other adjustments before is usable. Aquarium service technicians recommend that you use distilled water, or water treated by reverse-osmosis or deionization (RO/DI).

Fill your container halfway with water. Don’t overfill the container. You’ll  be adding the salt mix, which will displace some of the water. You’ll need plenty of room in the container to mix the salt with the water without slopping over. Once your container has some water in it, add your pump and heater to it. Make sure you have cleaned and tested them before placing them into the water.

Add Salt To Taste

Next, begin pouring the salt into the water slowly into the water and stir it. Test the water frequently to monitor its specific gravity. Your aquarium service technician can recommend the correct specific gravity for your saltwater aquarium.

Let Your Water Rest

Once the water has reached the correct specific gravity, let it sit overnight to circulate, mix, and reach the correct temperature. Leaving the water overnight ensures that all the salt and other elements completely dissolve into the water and reach the desired temperature.

Check It, and You’re Done!

The next day, check the specific gravity and temperature of your water again to make sure it is correct. If you need to, make any adjustments to salinity by adding more water or salt mix.

Now that you have made your salt water, you can add it to your saltwater aquarium! It is a good idea to have extra water already prepared for your next aquarium service and water change.

Aquarium Service Advice From the Experts

Saltwater aquariums are a beautiful addition to any home or business. Whether you are a professional fish keeper or just starting out, a saltwater aquarium provides a captivating display of marine life. If you would like to start your own saltwater aquarium, you can get a great start from the experts at Aquatech Aquarium Service in Los Angeles. Their team, headed by owner Harold Weiner, have been designing saltwater aquariums and koi ponds, and providing aquarium service, for over 25 years. They’ll make sure your saltwater aquarium is a perfect fit for your home or business, and help you with regular aquarium maintenance.