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How To Set Up an Aquarium for Tropical Fish?

The aquarium provides lovely texture to any space, colourful tropical fishes present in aquarium shows lively effects of entertainment. But to get all of this beauty in your home, you first need to set up an aquarium carefully by filling the tank and adjusting the water.

how to set up aquarium

After setting it up according to instructions and adjusting your aquarium in a suitable location to make it more appealing, you can add happy and healthy fishes slowly to make your aquarium beautiful and perfect.

Step By Step Guide To Set Up an Aquarium

Let me explain you briefly how to assemble and install new aquarium properly in a few simple steps. With the help of this guide, you can officially become a fish keeper. We are sure that you will definitely enjoy this wonderful rewarding hobby. So let’s read how to set up an aquarium.

Steps To Clean Your Aquarium

The first step is cleaning, here you will wash aquarium rocks, ornaments and gravel. Wash them thoroughly with warm water. After washing completely add them to your tank.

  • Avoid using strong detergents and soaps because they are highly toxic to your fishes.
  • After that fill your tank with aquarium gravel.
  • You can get gravel from the local pet store. Add 5 to 10 cm of gravel and then clean it.
  • To make gravel free of debris you need to clean it by putting it in a colander over a bucket or it can also be a plastic pan, add water and stir it thoroughly, at the end drain it. Repeat this process until you see that its water is clear and debris is gone.
    cleaning aquarium

Add Water In Tank

Once you have washed all the parts now it’s time to fill your tank water. While filling the water make it one-third full with room temperature water. Put the water from a clean bucket.

To pour the water safely, put it onto a plate or saucer sitting on the gravel, it will allow you to keep the gravel in place.

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Keep this in mind that chlorine present in water is safe for you, but not for your fishes, so you need to de-chlorinate the water. For this purpose, you can add water conditioner solutions such as AquaSafe and Tetra. 

add water to set up an aquarium

Connect Airline Tube

In the third step, you need to connect the airline tubing. It can happen with the help of an air pump or any air outlets inside your tank, such as air decorations or stones.

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Put your air pump underneath your aquarium by using aquarium check value. This check valve will be present in the air tubing outside of the tank, it is basically a small valve and tells about the stopping point. That will eventually stop water from backing up and out when your aquarium is powered off.

add water pump in aquarium

Decorate Your Aquarium

Decorate aquascape with plastic or live plants. Plants will help in oxygenating the water and will also provide the natural look of the aquarium. While setting an aquarium, you can decorate it as well, it will hide your equipment.

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  • You need to place the roots of these plants into the gravel to plant them.
  • One can decorate it by adding live plants, if you are planning to add live plants then keep your water warm enough for them to let their roots grow below the surface of the gravel.
  • Make sure your live plants stay moist until they are planted. To keep them moist you can use wet newspaper.
  • For best growth of live plants, keep your aquarium in proper lighting 
  • There are many aquatic plant fertilizers for fast and strong root development, such as FloraPride and Tetra. 
  •  For artificial plants, use them anywhere in an aquarium for decoration.
  • Adjust the taller plants in the backside of the aquarium and shorter plants in the front.
  • If you are not planning to put any plants in the aquarium then you can also go for different decorations such as colourful rocks, boats and beautiful stones.

decorate your aquarium

Fill Rest of the Water

Now you have to fill the rest of the water.

  • To fill the rest of the water you should put water in the bottom of the top frame.
  • While filling leave some air space between the water and the cover.

fill water in tank

Add Filter into Tank

Now it’s time for a Filter to cycle your tank. Filter into the tanks is used to remove contaminants from your tank and clean and clear.

For any filter

  • Before buying filter have a deep research on their sizes and prices and buy according to your aquarium size.
  • Fill your tank with filter cartridge and materials
  • Read the instructions and give them positions accordingly
  • Check if your filter is dipped in water and make sure it is primed.

For a filter with pickup tube

  • Extend the tube downwards without being in the gravel.
  • If the tube is too long then cut it and reattach the intake.
  • Make sure to prime the pump by opening its filter lid and filling it with clean water.

filter in aquarium


Note * Cycling your tank is important to let it grow germs free. While cycling, remember to vanish dangerous toxins in new filtrations. One can make healthy bacteria by putting solutions in it such as SafeStart and Tetra. By adding these help bacteria solutions you can add your fishes in a tank safely.

Select the Right Place

You have to choose the right and safe location to put your aquarium:

  • To choose the right location you can select a bench top that is solid and safe. Other than that, you can also buy an aquarium stand to support your tank.
  • Make sure that your aquarium tank full of water will be very heavy so choose the stand or table accordingly, that can handle its weight.
  • If you don’t have any support table, then you can purchase an aquarium stand that will be your best tank supporter.

right place for aquarium

Check Water Temperature

Use a heater and thermometer to regulate the temperature. Tropical fishes are sensitive to the temperature of the water. So heater and thermometer will be needed to regulate their temperature.


  • Stick a thermometer on the glass of the aquarium and check its temperature, after that adjust the heater accordingly.
  • Install your heater with drop loop and plug it in the socket.
  • The water temperature will depend on the type of fish and their temperature bearing tendency
  • Let the water run down the bottom of the drip of the loop.
  • Place thermometer away from the heater
  • Read all instructions of your thermometer
  • Plug the thermometer after putting it in water.

Add Tropical Fishes

After cleaning, and setting all the necessary equipment you can add your fishes to the tank.

  • Don’t throw all the fishes at one time in the water.
  • Start with adding 1 or 2 fishes and check how they will respond to water. If they respond safely now you can add all other fishes in it.

fish in aquarium

Important Safety Instructions To Set up an Aquarium

These are some important instruction you should follow while setting up an aquarium for tropical fish:

  • Secure the submersible heater near your water flow
  • Keep your aquarium tank away from direct sunlight.
  • Tropical fishes are very sensitive to temperature so balance your temperature before putting them.
  • To start your aquarium, plug in your air pump, heater and power filler.
  • Never switch on the heater when it is not inside the water.
  • Adjust the setting of air outlets, according to instructions.
  • Make sure the flow of water through your power filter.
  • Adjust heater temperature according to instructions.
  • Don’t place your aquarium tank near open windows.
  • Wait for 24 hours to make sure that the temperature of water in the aquarium is stabilized and all the equipment is working accordingly after that add your fishes.
  • In beginning keep checking the temperature of the aquarium after a few hours
  • There is a possibility of water being cloudy for a new aquarium, so check it after one to two days.
  • Keep your aquarium away from children in the corner of the room.
  • In the aquarium, the waters get cloudy due to harmless bacterial growth.
  • Keep checking the hardness of your water in an aquarium
  • Also, check the pH of the water
  • My Aquarium App is used to check the hardness and pH level of water.
  • Another useful kit of checking its hardness and PH level is Tetra Test Kit.
  • Keep your aquarium where the electric socket is nearby.
  • The pH level of the aquarium water should be between 6 to 8.
  •  If the pH level is very low, you can add baking soda.
  • If the pH level is very high, then add driftwood in the water.
  • After adding fishes turn off all lights of the aquarium because then can stress your tropical fishes.
  • Make plenty of hiding places for wishes to make them swim according to their choices in their favourite places.
  • Try to test the water at least once a month.
  • One can also buy CO2 injection and monitor that will automatically respond to changes in CO2 levels, it also keeps the water from getting below the safety level.
  • Keep your aquarium on the sturdy surface high off the ground
  • Don’t put any plastic toy in the aquarium because it can leach chemicals if lets in water over time.

kid watching fishes

The Best Tropical Fish For Beginners

There exist many beautiful and colourful fishes that are worth of every aquarist attention. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Neon Tetras
  • Danios
  • Platies
  • Khuli Loaches
  • Corydoras
  • Ancistrus

After reading our step by step guide and following our security instructions, we hope your aquarium has been successfully set and ready to use. We are obliged to tell you that your new aquarium is safe for your tropical fishes.

Now you are all set and fully equipped to introduce your tropical fishes to the new aquarium. Still, if you have any further setup question, feel free to let us know your queries. We are happy to help!


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