home  |  store locator  |  contact us 


Customer Support  |  Fish, Coral, Critters  |  Tanks & Supplies  |  Ponds

 Tips & Tricks











Moving Your Aquarium
Always support the bottom of the aquarium when moving to prevent cracks and leaks.  Never lift an aquarium with sand or water still inside.


Aquarium Set-up

Proper set-up ensures a healthy tank environment for years to come.

  1. Advice & Education

  2. Choosing a tank location

  3. Cleaning the aquarium

  4. Adding gravel & decorations

  5. Adding water

  6. Adding Filters

  7. Adding Heater

  8. Adding Lights

  9. Adding Fish

  10. Water testing

  11. Feeding your fish


1.  Advice & Education

It is important as you setup, maintain and enjoy your aquarium that you have a source for information on this hobby. Ask Adam's to supply you with the information and products needed to keep your aquarium at its best. Make sure that you ask questions and use us learn how to best care for your fish. It will also benefit you to purchase a reference book about fish keeping. We have a large selection of books in stock to help you research your new hobby. 

2.  Choosing a tank location

Consider location carefully, once your tank is full it can't be moved.  The aquarium should be placed on an appropriate size aquarium stand or a sturdy surface that can easily support the weight of the full aquarium (example, a 20 gallon aquarium full weighs about 200 pounds).

Do not place the aquarium in direct sunlight. Direct and indirect sunlight will result in excess algae growth making your aquarium unsightly and unhealthy. Drafty areas should be avoided because you need to maintain a consistent temperature to keep fish/coral/critters healthy.

3.  Cleaning the aquarium

Clean your new aquarium before starting your setup. Wipe the inside and outside with a water-dampened paper towel. Make sure that no cleaners, detergents or chemicals of any type are used.  Never use glass cleaning products because they contain ammonia which is bad for fish/corals.  Glass cleaners with ammonia will also discolor acrylic aquariums.


4.  Adding gravel & decorations

Gravel is necessary to anchor live or artificial decorations and plants in your aquarium. It also helps to create a natural environment for your tank inhabitants. We stock many types of gravels for fresh and saltwater systems.

Add approximately .5 - 1 pound of gravel per gallon of water or about .5 -2 inches of gravel in depth to your aquarium. Most gravel contains a little dust or particles that can cloud the water in your new aquarium. We recommend that you rinse your gravel thoroughly prior to use. This can be accomplished by using a colander or spare clean bucket.

After your gravel is in place it is time to add rock, driftwood, plants, and other decorations to your aquarium. You may also want to add artificial plants to the aquarium at this time.   It is important to clean items with fresh water prior to use.  If you intend to use live plants it is recommended that you wait roughly one month after your aquarium is running and stocked to allow nutrients and organic matter to collect that plants need.

If you are setting up a marine aquarium you may want to add the crushed coral/live sand after filling the aquarium with salt water as it is easier to determine if your salt is dissolved in a bare bottom aquarium


5.  Adding water

After adding decorations and gravel, then add water. Room temperature water should be used otherwise condensation may form on the outside of your tank. Place a large bowl near the bottom of the aquarium to pour into which will minimize splashing.

Once the aquarium is filled, the water should be treated to remove chlorine and/or chloramines.  If you are setting up a marine aquarium purified water is a better choice as it has lower nitrates which will slow the growth of algae.


6.  Adding filters

We have many filter options available. These options include basic filters such as gravel and sponge filters to power filters and sump filtration units.

Each of these filters was designed for certain applications and/or environmental considerations. We will be able to recommend the type of filter that will best meet your needs.


7.  Adding heater

Add a heater and thermometer next. The majority of tropical fish live well in a temperature range between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Ask us for the specific temperature requirements for the fish you select. We can also recommend a brand and size heater for your aquarium.

A good rule of thumb would be to purchase a heater that has about 2-5 watts per every gallon of aquarium water. To help regulate the temperature you should purchase a thermometer. It should be placed opposite the heater.


8.  Adding lights

A full hood or glass top with a fluorescent light is recommended to provide the necessary light for your fish and plants. It will also help reduce evaporation and will keep your fish from jumping out of the aquarium. Knockout or cutaway areas in the back of these hoods allow room for a filter, heater, and air accessories.

Fluorescent light provides a natural, full-spectrum environment.  Fluorescent lighting is also more energy efficient than incandescent hoods and the bulbs tend to last longer. An automatic timer is recommended to turn the lights on and off. Too much light may cause unwanted algae growth.  If you are setting up a "reef" aquarium with live corals and anemones power compact or metal halide lighting is recommended. 


9.  Adding fish

Once your aquarium has been running for 24 hours it is time to add fish. Double check your water temperature, and salt level (if applicable) and make sure your filter is running correctly.

Ask Adam's to make recommendations on the type and size of fish to add.  Smaller aquariums may not be suitable for certain fish that may eventually outgrow their surroundings.

When you return home with your fish make sure to acclimate them slowly. Begin by floating the closed fish bag in the aquarium for 30 to 45 minutes allowing the temperature in the bag to match the temperature in the aquarium. Open the bag and roll down the top of the bag three to four times. This will create air pockets or a float ring that will allow the bag to freely float in the aquarium. Add a small amount of aquarium water to the open bag every 5-10 minutes and allow the bag to continue to float.  This will allow your fish to acclimate to the Ph and over-all water chemistry in your aquarium.

We recommend adding Turbo Start (a liver bacteria starter) to new aquariums to help cycle your aquarium after setup.


10. Water testing

It is important to test your aquarium water to monitor ammonia, nitrite and Ph levels. Ask us about water testing kits.  Test water for ammonia and nitrate during the first 1-2 months.  Do not add more fish until the aquarium has completely cycled.  A cycled aquarium will have no ammonia or nitrite.  Always test your water before adding new fish to make sure your ammonia and nitrite are zero.  We test water for free so do not hesitate to bring in a water sample...learn more


11. Feeding your fish

Adam's can help you find the right type of fish food for the species of fish that you buy. Feed your fish a small amount of food once a day and watch them eat.

Excess food in the aquarium water will lead to poor water quality, which can cause health issues for the inhabitants.


  2005-2006 Adam's Aquatics  

      Site Map  |  Web Site Feedback  |  Privacy Policy