5 Factors to Consider Biotic (Living) Type of Fish, newt, turtle etc. Beneficial BacteriaLive PlantsHarmful microorganisms and multicellular organismsAbiotic (Nonliving)Substrate (gravel, crushed coral)Plastic PlantsDecorative rocks, caves, or toysEquipment (filters, lights, heaters, etc.)Wastes (EX.Ammonia)
6 Setting up your new Aquarium Freshwater Basics Choose the largest aquariumChoose gravel : just a ¼” for the bottom (Undergravel filters need about 2”). A thick gravel bed will cause ammonia problems.Fill with water: tap water, well water or any other you still need to use a dechlorinator such as Prime or Stress Coat. Any water changes a dechlorinator must be used.Set up your filter and get it running.Set your heater to the desired temperature and place your heater in but don’t plug it in for 30 minutesAdd some good bacteria to help age the tank such as Bio Spira or CycleLet tank run for 1 to 2 days and add in 2 or 3 starter fish.See how these do for a week and slowly add a couple more.A new aquarium needs patience and time to establish itself. A new freshwater tank takes days before it cycles through. A saltwater tank can tank up to 8 weeks.Bio Spira and Cycle will help introduce new beneficial bacteria to a new tank. If no bacteria is used the new tank may become cloudy a few days after set up.Make certain you have all the filter media you need to get it running!1/2 -1 pound of gravel per gallon of aquarium with outside or canister filter.Let heater stay unplugged to 30 minutes anytime it has been removed from water and placed back in.These are two excellent dechlorinators.
7 Step 1 – Select Organism Select the Organism(s) Determine its needs It could should be a freshwater community fish (or aggressive if you can set up an aggressive tank with another studentNumber of organisms 1inch fish/gallon
8 Starter (Hardy) Fish: Freshwater All these fish should be fed a variety of foods.Flake foods and frozen.Dwarf GouramiPlaty: Livebearers: little saltDalmatian MollyZebra DaniosThis salt is good for most freshwater fish
9 Coldwater \ GoldfishColdwater ornamental fish requiring a little cooler environment if possible between degrees. These include all kinds of goldfish. Goldfish are messier than other fish and require more filtration and cleaning.Feeds on goldfish specific foodFollowing are some examples:
11 Step 2 - Equipment Determine what equipment is needed Size and shape of tankHeater or Heat LampLightingFiltration SystemStandSubstrate (gravel, crushed coral, sand, dolomite)Plants, Rocks, Shells etc.
13 Step 3 – Cleaning the Tank WASH THE TANK WITH FRESHWATER AND SALTNote: NEVER USE DETERGENT, SOAP OR CHLORINE BLEACH – THEY ARE DEADLY
14 Step 4 – Tank PlacementSelect a location away from windows, radiators, and air conditioners.It should be placed in a manner that all equipment should be available for maintenance, cleaning and care of fish
15 Step 5 – Tank PlacementPlace tank on a steady surface that can support the weight. Fresh water ways approximately 8 lbs a gallon, saltwater ways more. FOR EXAMPLE A 10 GALLON WEIGHS OVER 80 LBS.The stand or support surface should be water resistant
16 Step 6 – Check for LeaksPlace cardboard underneath tank to cushion it and make it easy to slideHalf fill tank with water, wait 24 hours and observe for leaks
17 Step 7 – Check for LeaksFill to within 1 inch of top, wait 24 hours and observe for leaks
18 Step 8 - SaltIn a marine tank add marine salt to the water until a density between1.017g/ml to 1.020g/ml is reachedUse a hydrometer to measure densityIn a fresh water tank add one tablespoon of non iodized salt to prevent fungal infections
19 Step 9- Substrate Add substrate to a depth of 1 inch Freshwater tanks gravelsandMarinecrushed coraldolomitemarine sand or living sand
20 Step 10 - Filtration Install a filtration system. To maintain optimal fish health, 3 types of filtration are necessary.PhysicalBiologicalChemical
21 Filtration Systems Physical Biological Chemical Filtration: Types: Wool, spongeCeramics, sponges, rocks(SURFACE AREA!!)Charcoal, zeolitePurpose:Remove large particulate wasteRemoves fish waste productsRemoves odors, discoloration, toxins, and some waste products
22 Filtration Systems Considerations Tank size Stocking capacity Water flowBreedingAeration
25 Step 11 - HeatingMost fish can only survive within an environment with narrow range of temperature change, usually between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.To maintain optimal temperature, install a submersible heater
26 Step 11 - Heating You need 5 watts per gallon 10 gallon – 50 watts
27 Step 11 To install heater safely: Place unplugged in heater at bottom of tank horizontally for 15 minutesThen set temperature and plug in heaterWait 24 hours then measure temperature and adjust heater
28 Enclosure Components: Temperature Regulation How?HeatersChillersFansVentilationConsiderations:Position of heaterLighting
29 Step 12 - DecorationsOrganisms need to be in an environment as similar to their natural environment as possible. To accomplish this we put rocks, live plants, caves, shells plastic plants, plastic pipes etc.
30 Step 12 - DecorationsAdding live plants provides food, 0xygen, a place to hide and lay eggsPlastic plants provide a place to hide and lay eggsRocks, caves, coral, and tubes provide a place to hideNote: shells, coral and calcareous rocks can only be used in High pH aquariums, mostly marine
31 Enclosure Components: Environmental Enrichment Why?EvasionBreedingQuality of lifeExpress Personality
34 Step 13 Cover and lighting A cover is needed to:Prevent fish from jumping out of the tankSlow evaporationKeep dust out of the tank
35 Enclosure Components: Lid/Condenser Why?Keeps fish from jumping outPrevents evaporationProtects lightsConsiderations:Access to tankKeep clean of debris
36 Step 13 - LightingOnly reef tanks and tanks with live plants need daily lightingReef tanks need actinic (bluish light) for live coral and anemones and full spectrum white light for plants and algaeTanks with live plants need 12 hours a day of full spectrum white light.
37 Enclosure Components: Lighting Why?Plant GrowthCoral GrowthVisualizing the FishFish healthConsiderations:Fixtures/ballastPhotoperiod: Use timers 12hoursTypes of bulbs (size, wavelength): Mostly fluorescent full spectrum bulbs that simulate daylight at noonReflectors
39 Step 14 - Selecting Fish Fish should: Be active Have regular breathing patternHave clear eyesHave no torn fins or soresNo fuzzy stuff on body or fins
40 Step 15 – Catching FishFish should preferably be caught slowly using a containerA net removes the protective slime coat and irritates skinTry not to stress fish, it suppresses immune system
41 Step 16 – Acclimating fish To minimize stress and protect fishFloat bag in new tank for 15 minutes adding small amounts of water to the bag to make the temperatures similarAfter fifteen minutes turn open bag sideways and let fish swim out of bagObserve behaviorMay have to rearrange tank so all fish establish new territories
42 Step 18 - Care of Fish Feeding Determine best diet for organismFeed small amount – only as much food as fish can eat in 3 minutes then remove excess
43 Step 18 – Care of Fish Observe and record behavior Need to establish baseline for comparisonObserve fish for 20 minutes or more for several daysDetermine its favorite spot in the tankDraw a diagram of its body and fins noting markings and colorationObserve its behavior toward tank mates and their behavior towards it and record
44 Step 18 – Care of Fish Observe and Record Behavior Observe its gill movements – count and record for 1 minuteObserve its eating pattern and how it eats record in log
45 Step 19 Care of Fish Water Chemistry Test and RecordpHAmmonia levelNitrite levelMaintain ideal levels for optimal health
47 Water Composition: Testing Fresh Water:pHAmmoniaNitriteNitrateSalt Water:SalinityOther:PhosphateCalciumStrontium
48 Step 20 – Care of Fish Maintenance In order to prevent disease, regular maintenance is criticalThe single most important maintenance procedure is a water changeClean gravel at least once a monthChange 20% a month to remove harmful wastes and replace trace elementsClean filter pad every month, replace every 3 months
49 Water Quality: Nitrogen Cycle badmanstropicalfish.com (originally from
56 Picture from Jeremy Gay’s The Perfect Aquarium NutritionKnow your fishObserve mouthUse dry food as stapleSupplement with fresh/frozen foodsDo not overfeedPicture from Jeremy Gay’s The Perfect Aquarium
57 Maintenance Daily: Feed Monitor Lighting Weekly: Replace evaporation Water testingClean algaeEmpty protein skimmer
59 Common Questions Why is my tank cloudy? Answer: The aquarium is going thru a cycling process known as the Nitrogen Cycle. This occurs in new tanks and tanks that have recently had major water changes.Solution: Adding Bio Spira or Cycle will help. Do not overfeed or overpopulate a new tank.
60 More Common Questions: Why is my tank water green?Answer: Tank is getting too much or the wrong kind of light. Customer should make certain the tank is getting no sunlight. Also make sure the bulbs are correct for fish tanks. Any bulb older than 18 months probably needs replacing.Answer: Partial water change is needed and replace old filter media (charcoal).
61 Ickey FishWhat are the white or salt like spots on my fish?Answer: This is most likely a disease known as ick. Fast temperature change or stressful environment can bring this on.Solution: Ick medicine and making sure your tank water is good. Make certain heater is working and keeping the temperature stable.
62 More Questions:My fish has big white patches on it’s body and fins, why?Answer: Commom on fish with injuries or poor water quality. Other fish picking on them is also a cause.Solution: Several products treat this: Fungus Cure,Mar Oxy or Triple Sulfa
63 Question:I have been treating with medicine but my fish don’t seem to be getting any better, why?Answer: Medicines take several treatments and fish heal slowly. Also, make certain there is no charcoal (carbon filters). These will absorb the medication.
64 ReferencesAxelrod, Herbert. Handbook of Tropical Aquarium Fishes. Neptune City: TFH PublicationsBorneman, Eric. Aquarium Corals: Selection, Husbandry, and Natural History. Neptune City: T.H.F. PublicationsFenner, Robert M. The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. Neptune city: T.F.H PublicationsGay, Jeremy. The Perfect Aquarium: The Complete Guide to Setting Up and Maintaining an Aquarium. New York: Reader’s DigestHawkins, A.D. Aquarium Systems. London: Academic Press
65 ReferencesHemdal, Jay F. Aquarium Fish Breeding. New York: Barron’sHiscock, Peter. Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants. New York: Barron’sSandford, Gina. The Tropical Aquarium. New York: Barron’sStoskopf, Michael. Fish Medicine. Philadelphia: W.B. Sauders CoTullock, John. Water Chemistry for the Marine Aquarium. New York: Barron’s