How Long To Wait Before Adding Fish To A New Aquarium?

Starting a new aquarium is exciting. Finding a great tank, colorful gravel and plants, and so many other fun things to add can be enjoyable. Watching fish swim with all their bright colors makes for an entertaining hobby. Like most of us, we can’t wait to see fish swimming in the new aquarium. But, once we’ve purchased our tank and supplies, how long to wait before adding the fish?

Adding fish to a new aquarium is a slow process and needs patience.  You have to ensure the tank environment is safe for your fish.

  • First step is to let the temperature of your tank stabilize.
  • Add a coupe of small hardy fishes to the tank. This will cause the ammonia and nitrate levels to rise and fall. You must wait until both these level fall back to zero. The initial nitrate cycle can take 3-6 weeks .
  • Introduce new fishes once every 2-3 weeks after the initial phase and monitor the ammonia and nitrate levels. 
  • Let the fishes acclimatize to your tank by sitting in a plastic bag immersed in your tank before letting them free in the tank. 

Preparing your aquarium for fish is an easy process. By following some simple steps, you will have an entertaining aquarium with healthy fish in no time. And, once your aquarium is healthy, it’s easy to keep it that way. Your fish environment will be able to support life for a long time. Here are some easy ways to ensure your aquarium will be an enjoyable tank of your dreams.


What All Should You Add to Your Aquarium ?

Start by picking the type of fish you want in your aquarium. There are many kinds of tropical fish in every color of the rainbow. Each kind of fish needs a different amount of space, plants, and water treatment. The staff in the pet store can help you find compatible fish. Once you know the fish you want, you need the right size tank. Find something 20 gallons or bigger. If it’s too small, it will be hard to keep the water healthy for the life of the fish.

Next, you get to enjoy the fun of picking out the gravel for the bottom of your tank. There are many colors and sizes to choose from. Be sure to buy enough to cover the full bottom of your aquarium at least two inches deep in thickness. you can go thicker if you want, and you can layer colors for a more playful bottom.

Take some time to find the decorative items you’ll want for your fish to swim around and through. There are always sunken treasure statues and other underwater-themed items in the aquarium supply section of the pet store. This can be the most fun, besides picking your fish. You are designing your fish’s home and the theme of the tank. You can be silly with toys, serious with artistic statues, or just about anything in between. This is a great opportunity to make a statement that fits well into the room where your tank will live.

Your last big decision here will be the pump. Depending on the size of the aquarium, the noise level you’ll want, and your budget, you have choices. Explore the best pump for your needs. This is another time that the pet store staff can help. They should know about each pump to help you find the one that’s right for you and your future fish.

How to Clean and Prepare your New Aquarium?

Now that you’ve decided what your aquarium is going to look like, you’ll need to clean and prepare everything. Wash out the tank. Rinse the gravel and decorative items in warm water. Be mindful that soup can harm to your fish. It is not recommended to wash with soap. But, if you do you use soap, it’s important that all soap is completely rinsed off. Run warm water over everything until it runs clean and there are no suds.

When everything is clean, it’s time to set up the tank. Add the gravel, place the decorative items and plastic plants. Find the best places for each thing to make the statement you want to make. Think about how the fish will swim around and through each item. Move things around to find placements that you like.

Once you fill the bottom of the tank with the gravel and rocks, place your decorative features, plastic plants, and pump. Add your water and then you real plants if applicable. Make sure there are no leaks. Run the pump to check that it’s working properly. Then, let it sit to help the water settle and get to the right temperature.

How To Prepare Water For A New Aquarium? 

Water is as important to your fish as air is to you. It will need to be well prepared for your fish. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard is it may sound. Once everything in your tank is in place, and you’ve filled the tank with water. You’re going to need to let it sit to reach the right temperature for your fish.

Once filled, the water will need to settle. In this process, harmful gasses need to dissolve leaving the water habitable for fish. However, most water needs to be treated. This may be a requirement of the fish that you’ve chosen or the water in your area. Either way, it’s best to check with the pet store staff when you’re purchasing your fish.

When you’re ready, check the water for pH, ammonia, alkalinity, nitrite, and nitrates. Depending on your area, hardness is worth checking too. There are very simple kits for testing the water. These are in the pet store with the aquarium supplies. Water treatment options are also kept in this area. All of these products have easy to follow instructions. They are usually as simple as taking a couple of drops of water and putting in a test strip. The strip will change colors to let you know if it’s at the right levels for what you’re testing. There will be a guide to help you adjust the water. This process is very easy. There are no tricks or shortcuts needed, just a simple drop of water and you’re on your way.

Adding A Pump and plants to your Aquarium 

The pump in your tank is very important. It will circulate air into the water. The animals in the aquarium need this air to be forced into the water for them to breathe. This process keeps the water circulating so that the tank stays healthy. Be sure to install a pump equipped to support the size of your tank. If the pump is too small, it will be insufficient and cannot do its job.

Now that you’ve filled the tank with gravel, decorative items, and plastic plants, it’s time to hook up the pump. It should be as easy as attaching it, plugging it in, and turning it on. Each pump is a little different. Follow the instructions that came with your pump. It will show you what a well-functioning pump should look like. Letting it run for about 48 hours is a great way to prepare the tank for the fish. This will help to dissolve any gasses in the water.

A word about plants is important. Plastic plants are a great way to add color without any special knowledge. But, living plants offer extra life support for your fish. Plants produce oxygen, and absorb carbon dioxide, ammonia, and nitrites from the water. Healthy plants can also help to breakdown fish waste in the water.

Time to Add your fish!

It’s time to add your fish. This is a very exciting moment. The water is clean, the pump works, and the temperature is just right for the fish you want. You’ve spent the last two days setting up your aquarium. You’ve watched it run with the pump going, filled with water, and no little fish swimming about. And now we’re here ready to add the fish. Remember, you’re going to want to add them slowly and over time. For the first addition of fish, think two or three. You could even start with one, to ensure it survives.

When you arrive from the pet store with your fish, you’ll want to place the bag in the aquarium. Yes, the bag is closed, and sitting in the water. This will allow for the temperature between the aquarium and the fish to align. While they should be pretty close, a small temperature change can shock your new fish. Do this for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Now it’s time to acclimate the fish to the water in your tank. Don’t put them in yet. Scoop water from your tank and add it to the bag the fish is in. You should add about as much water as is already in the bag. This will double the water in the bag. This also allows the fish to make a smooth transition. You want to acclimate the fish from the water in the bag to the water of the tank. Close up the bag and let it sit, floating in the tank again for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Be sure that the water from the bag never gets into the tank. It is important that the water from the pet store does not contaminate the water in your tank. The pet store water will not be as clean as the water in your tank. It would contaminate your aquarium and cause problems.

Once the bag, filled half with pet store water and half with your aquarium’s water, has floated for 15 minutes, you can add the fish. Use a fish net so that you take any of the bag water with the fish. Net the fish and gently add them to the tank. Do not drop them into the tank. With great care, gently put the net into the tank and let the fish swim out.

Creating a beautiful and healthy aquarium takes a little bit of thought, but it’s not hard. By being thoughtful, you can create a wonderful environment for your tropical fish. One of the great enjoyments of an aquarium is that everyone can enjoy the fish. With a clean and healthy tank, anyone can relax and watch the fish swim and live their lives. And now, after all of your hard work, you get to unwind with your new fish family.

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