Behind every successful freshwater aquarium is a properly selected assembly of products and equipments, and they work in sync to create a healthy, thriving aquatic environment. Now that you have decided upon the tank size, its now time to learn about aquarium basics to get started. 

In previous articles, I revealed the secrets about fish keeping, as well as about the appropriate aquarium tank size you should have. I would recommend to read the previous two article as they serve as a prelude to this article. 

1. Filtration

Filter is the most important equipment of an aquarium as it performs the vital function of maintaining water quality by efficiently removing pollutants such as dust, fish excreta and other harmful materials. Without proper filtration, an aquarium will not be able to support life. 

To properly match a filter to your aquarium, simply refer to the recommended aquarium volume indicated on every filter. As a rule of thumb, always use a filter which has 4x the pumping capacity. E.g. if your aquarium tank volume is 100 litres, then filter capacity should be 400 litres per hour. Also read as 400 LPH or 400 L/H.

As a rule of thumb, always use a filter which has 4x the pumping capacity.

2. Lighting

Aquarium lighting has two main functions. Firstly, it lights up your aquarium for aesthetic enjoyment of the ecosystem and its inhabitants. Secondly, it provides functional needed for live plants in the aquarium to thrive. Light fixtures designed to do the latter are designated as “plant lights.”

Further, do keep in mind the brightness of the light, while selecting one. Few case scenarios are

1. bright light2. low light
– lead to excess algae– deprives plants of the required nutrition
– helpful if you have a tall tank helpful if you have a shallow tank

To properly match a light to your aquarium, simply refer to the recommended aquarium tank length indicated on every light. 

3. Substrate (Sand / Soil) 

In addition to beautifying and personalizing your aquarium, substrate provides supplemental filtration as well as acts as a base for decoration, and decorations provide the needful habitat for your aquarium inhabitants.

As a rule of thumb, every 1 sq. ft. floor area uses roughly 3-5 kgs of substrate depending on the height of the substrate you want to keep. We recommend to keep substrate height of at atleast ½ inch.

4. Decoration

Decorations such as driftwood, rock work, live plants, artificial artefacts can be arranged to your liking for the finishing touches.

5. Water Conditioners

Most tap water sources are not suitable for aquarium use without the addition of water conditioners. Tap water may contain chlorine, chloramine, or other chemicals harmful to aquatic life. To make tap water suitable for aquarium use, use aquarium water conditioners such as chlorine/chloramine removers along with beneficial nitrifying bacteria which helps establish biological filtration that naturally processes nitrogenous aquarium pollutants.

6. Heaters and Thermometers

Stable water temperature is necessary for the health of your aquarium system. 

Aquarium heater manufacturers include suggested aquarium size for each heater. But as a general rule, select a heater that provides approximately 1 watts per aquarium litre. For example, a 100 litre aquarium should be outfitted with a 100 watt heater. 

In addition, an accurate and reliable thermometer to monitor aquarium water temperature is essential.

As a rule of thumb, select a heater that provides approximately 1 watts per aquarium litre

7. Test Kits 

Test kits are vital for monitoring important aquarium water parameters such as pH, ammonia, Nitrite etc. Regular routine testing enables you to know if the aquarium water is within an acceptable range for keeping the ecosystem and its inhabitants healthy, or not.

Now that you have learnt about the basics of aquarium, its now time to implement your learning and setup your aquarium. Do share your questions, if you face any problem during setup. 

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