The aquarium must be placed on a perfectly flat surface (check with a spirit level) and on a solid piece of furniture. Furniture specially designed for aquariums will guarantee you safety. Most manufacturers provide instructions with the aquarium on how to install it and some precautions to take. How to select the best location for your freshwater fish tank?

Caution: Do not get any fish before the tank has been set up and been running empty for approximately 10 days!

How do you set up an aquarium?

How to set up a fish tank: infographic

How to set up a fish tank

  • Check the quality of the sealant and, before adding any water, make sure that there are no grains of sand stuck between the base of the aquarium and the tank cabinet. Once filled, the tank should not be moved at any cost, otherwise it may break or shatter.
  • Wash the aquarium: clean it with clean water to remove any dust.
  • Place a layer of plant substrate if you want to grow plants: substrate (2-4 centimeters/0.8-1.5 inches thick) allows aquatic plants to develop healthy roots (see our section on aquarium plants suitable for goldfish). Important: the aquatic soil must not be rinsed before use.
  • Add a layer of gravel. It is advisable to rinse the gravel thoroughly with clean water as it is usually full of dust.
  • Install any decoration: Stones, root, tank decoration.
  • Fill the aquarium halfway: To avoid making holes/gaps in the sand, you can either pour the water gently over an element of the decoration or onto a plate placed on the gravel.
  • Add a dose of water conditioner: aquarium water conditioner can be bought in pet shops and neutralizes the chlorine present in tap water, harmful to both the fish and to the filter.
  • Install the equipment: Filter, aquarium  heater, thermometer. Click here for the equipment checklist.
  • Plant the plants (optional) pushing them gently into the soil. Be careful not to damage the plants roots.
  • Finish filling the aquarium with water: Slowly fill it up to the maximum level and connect the equipment.
  • Run the aquarium empty: keep it empty, but on, for approximately 10 days before adding your first fish.
Exclamation mark warningImportant: Follow the recommendations and link below on the implementation of the nitrogen cycle in freshwater aquaria.

Cycling your fish tank (the nitrogen cycle)

Since the nitrogen cycle is not yet established at this stage, it is recommended to start your aquarium with a very limited amount of fish during the first few weeks so you are not at risk of poisoning your fish.

Click here to learn how to cycle your aquarium »