How to Set Up a New Aquarium

I'm setting up a new aquarium that will eventually house shrimp, snails, and fish.

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How to Set Up a New Aquarium
50 Steps
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1
I bought this cool aquarium at the Goodwill. I need to get it started. My plan is to build this up slowly, so for this part it is just getting the aquarium up and running.

I bought this cool aquarium at the Goodwill. I need to get it started. My plan is to build this up slowly, so for this part it is just getting the aquarium up and running.

2
Let's remove this icky blue rock.

Let's remove this icky blue rock.

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All empty.

All empty.

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I'm rinsing this with hot water. Never use soap in an aquarium! It will kill your fish! Since this tank was clean when I got it, just a good rinse will do. Ask your fish shop about disinfecting.

I'm rinsing this with hot water. Never use soap in an aquarium! It will kill your fish! Since this tank was clean when I got it, just a good rinse will do. Ask your fish shop about disinfecting.

5
Dry that bad boy off.

Dry that bad boy off.

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I am going to be planting in this tank eventually, so some flourite will help plant growth. This comes in big bags, but you only need a little bit. Some fish shops sell this in bulk.

I am going to be planting in this tank eventually, so some flourite will help plant growth. This comes in big bags, but you only need a little bit. Some fish shops sell this in bulk.

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Just a handful.

Just a handful.

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Drop it in.

Drop it in.

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Spread it around.

Spread it around.

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Now I'm going to add some small gravel.

Now I'm going to add some small gravel.

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Put in as much as you think you need.

Put in as much as you think you need.

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Spread it around.

Spread it around.

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Sand! I'm choosing a sandy bottom for this tank because I may get some Mystery Snails, which prefer sand over gravel. They will actually die if you just have gravel.

Sand! I'm choosing a sandy bottom for this tank because I may get some Mystery Snails, which prefer sand over gravel. They will actually die if you just have gravel.

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Sandy sand sand. A finer grit is what I'm using.

Sandy sand sand. A finer grit is what I'm using.

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Pour it in!

Pour it in!

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Look at that! It's ok to use a lot of sand.

Look at that! It's ok to use a lot of sand.

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Spread it around.

Spread it around.

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Put your tank in its new home.

Put your tank in its new home.

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Let's talk lighting. Today I'm using a special fluorescent aquarium plant light.

Let's talk lighting. Today I'm using a special fluorescent aquarium plant light.

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This is what it looks like.

This is what it looks like.

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Screw it in to your hood.

Screw it in to your hood.

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Let's talk about filters. This tank is small, so I needed a small filter. I found this at my local fish shop. If you only have a pet store, a Whisper brand filter will be powerful, but it will work.

Let's talk about filters. This tank is small, so I needed a small filter. I found this at my local fish shop. If you only have a pet store, a Whisper brand filter will be powerful, but it will work.

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Ooooooo shiny new stuff.

Ooooooo shiny new stuff.

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Attach the extension tube.

Attach the extension tube.

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This is the actual filter. It has activated charcoal. You can rinse these out until they fall apart, despite what the mfg says. Replacing too often will get rid of your good bacteria.

This is the actual filter. It has activated charcoal. You can rinse these out until they fall apart, despite what the mfg says. Replacing too often will get rid of your good bacteria.

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Rinse with only cold water.

Rinse with only cold water.

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Put the filter in.

Put the filter in.

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Put the lid on.

Put the lid on.

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Water preparation is important, and not hard. Here I have Aquarisol, AquaSafe, and a 1 tsp measuring spoon just for this task.

Water preparation is important, and not hard. Here I have Aquarisol, AquaSafe, and a 1 tsp measuring spoon just for this task.

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I keep a 5 gallon water tank for aquarium water. I got it in the camping section.

I keep a 5 gallon water tank for aquarium water. I got it in the camping section.

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Aquarisol is a great preventative, but I'm not going to use it today. Why?

Aquarisol is a great preventative, but I'm not going to use it today. Why?

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Because it's not safe for snails and shrimp, which will be the first inhabitants of my tank. If you're not going to have anything listed, use it!

Because it's not safe for snails and shrimp, which will be the first inhabitants of my tank. If you're not going to have anything listed, use it!

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AquaSafe dechlorinates and gets rid of ammonia in the water. If your water doesn't come from a treatment plant though, you may not need this, but you will have other things to contend with.

AquaSafe dechlorinates and gets rid of ammonia in the water. If your water doesn't come from a treatment plant though, you may not need this, but you will have other things to contend with.

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Makes water instantly safe. Always read the precautions!

Makes water instantly safe. Always read the precautions!

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Since I'm only using a 5 gallon container, I only need a teaspoon.

Since I'm only using a 5 gallon container, I only need a teaspoon.

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Mix it in.

Mix it in.

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Fill your tank!

Fill your tank!

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You might want to use a spoon to displace the water. Otherwise it will kick up your gravel. I know about displacement, physics, and erosion thanks to SCIENCE!

You might want to use a spoon to displace the water. Otherwise it will kick up your gravel. I know about displacement, physics, and erosion thanks to SCIENCE!

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All filled, with minimal sand displacement.

All filled, with minimal sand displacement.

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Hmmmm. I'll have to add a touch more water for the illusion of a full tank.

Hmmmm. I'll have to add a touch more water for the illusion of a full tank.

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Better!

Better!

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Let's add the filter.

Let's add the filter.

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Take the cover off and add a little aquarium water to get it going.

Take the cover off and add a little aquarium water to get it going.

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All full!

All full!

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This is it running smoothly.

This is it running smoothly.

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Put the cover back on.

Put the cover back on.

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Looks nice!

Looks nice!

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I use a timer for the light because I am forgetful. I just got this at an after Christmas sale.

I use a timer for the light because I am forgetful. I just got this at an after Christmas sale.

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Look at that pretty tank! It will be a little hazy for a while, but a good fish keeper will let this go unoccupied for two weeks to get good bacteria going. After that, I will add some plants!

Look at that pretty tank! It will be a little hazy for a while, but a good fish keeper will let this go unoccupied for two weeks to get good bacteria going. After that, I will add some plants!

50

Thanks for reading! Remember, this is what works for me in my area; you may have other thought or ideas about it. That's OK! As long as your tank is healthy and happy, you are doing it right!

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