Fish keeping can be a very rewarding hobby. It is fascinating to create an environment that houses these wonderful creatures.

How to set up your aquarium

Once you get your new aquarium home follow these steps when setting it up:

  1. Choose the place you are going to place it carefully, it needs to be:
    1. Out of direct sunlight
    2. In an area which won’t be too disturbed by people running past
    3. Near a power supply
    4. In a draft free, relatively consistent temperature area
  2. Now place the tank onto it's stand, making sure that there is a solid smooth contact to both surfaces
  3. Rinse your gravel well in fresh water to remove any dust or dirt particles from the grave. You should rinse the gravel until the water coming off of it runs clear. 
  4. Place the gravel in your tank in a gradient sloping from lower at the front to higher at the back of your tank. Take into consideration placing any live plants into an area with a thicker layer of gravel.
  5. Set up your filtering system (whether it is internal or external), but do not run it until the water has been added.
  6. If you plan on keeping tropical fish, you should add your heater in at this stage but leave it unplugged (make sure the heater is never turned on while being exposed to air).
  7. Ensure the heater is placed near the bottom of the aquarium. It should not touch anything other than the suction cups with so it's not at risk of burning anything in the tank. Make sure it is also not resting against the gravel.
  8. Place your ornaments where you think they may look good (rinse all of these in fresh running water)
  9. Now add water, cold tap water is fine. Pour this in gently so you don’t create wells in your gravel
  10. Set up your external filtering system/air pump and internal filter as per the instructions in the product manual
  11. Now turn everything on and make sure that it is all working
  12. Add a water conditioner such as Nutrafin AquaPlus to de-chlorinate your water
  13. Add a biological supplement such as Nutrafin Cycle
  14. Your water may appear murky for the first couple of days until it settles. Once all is good and the temperature has come up to the required temperature for your fish choice, you can then begin the cycling process.
Fo more information please refer to our Nitrogen Cycle care guide.

Most aquariums come with the following fundamentals:

  • Aquarium with lid
  • Filter
  • Filter media

Other recommended supplies:

  • Stand or cabinet (optional but recommended - alternatively you will need a strong and sturdy flat surface for the aquarium to be placed on)
  • Heater (for tropical fish)
  • Thermometer
  • Water conditioner such as Nutrafin AquaPlus
  • Biological supplement such as Nutrafin Cycle
  • Gravel
  • Ornaments/rocks/driftwood
  • Fish nets
  • Backing paper or background
  • Algae cleaning pad or magnet
  • Gravel siphon
  • Multi-plug with surge protector
  • Plug timer for the aquarium lights (optional)
  • Bucket used exclusively for your aquarium related jobs
  • Water test kit
  • Fish first aid kit/medications

Please note that fish and plants should be added after the cycling process has been completed.


Before you embark on your new hobby

Please consider these essential factors:

  • Determine the space that you have for this at home
  • Decide what you want to spend
  • Decide which types of fish you would like to keep
  • Be aware that you need to cycle your aquarium before you can add fish
  • This is a hobby that requires patience, time and a long term commitment