As this is the first time you will fill the aquarium you can treat the water with a dechlorinator when it is filled.
Remember to calculate how much water you have used so that you can add the correct dosage to the tank when full. For subsequent water changes, adding dechlorinators and salt mixing will use separate containers as required.
Similarly, if this is to be a marine aquarium, you can fill it with water (after placing rocks and hardware in position) and then add the correct amount of salt mix to the water to arrive at the correct Specific Gravity, although this 'salting up' should ideally be done once the water temperature is at the correct value.
Place a small saucer or a jug on the substrate and pour the water into this first. As it gently overflows, the rising water level will not then disturb any of your careful aquascaping nor dislodge any plants which have yet to establish their roots.
Bushy type plants are used to fill out spaces, especially corners to disguise the fact that the aquarium is a glass box!
Tall grassy plants can also hide the sides and back.
Plants should be rooted in the substrate in species groups rather than singly.
Single, larger specimen plants can make focal points in the tank but never position such a plant smack bang in the middle of the tank.
Low, slow-growing plants will eventually form a 'lawn' over the substrate.
Plastic plants do have a place in the aquarium, especially where herbivorous fish make the keeping of live plants an impossibility. Remember that such plants will do nothing to keep water quality high - you will have to rely on filtration and your own good aquarium management for that.
Before planting, inspect each plant carefully for snail eggs (they're usually on the underside of leaves). Taking this precaution now will save a lot of trouble later on should you then have a snail-infested tank.
Some people plant the aquarium 'dry' whilst others fill up the aquarium with water about three-quarters full first. This allows the plants to take up their natural positions immediately and you can easily check on how your aquascaping and planting skills are progressing.
There's a good reason for only partially filling the tank at this stage -
it won't overflow when you put your arms and hands in to plant it!
RUNNING IN : After planting, the tank completely filled and hood and
cover glass installed, the power can be switched on.
Filters may need to be 'primed' before they flow continuously.
Keep an eye on the thermometer so that you can verify that the heater is working correctly.
Operate the lights as normal, even though there are no fish in the aquarium.
You may wish to check the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels during this running in period (it may take a few weeks).
Test kits are easy to use and you should see initial peak readings of ammonia and nitrite before these fall to zero.
At this time, the tank is said to be mature and now ready for fish.
Note: The nitrate level will be low to start with but gradually increase
over the coming months.
STOCKING : Never add the complete tank holding capacity of fish at once.
This will overload the filter system and cause a massive
wipe-out of stock. Add fish in few numbers at a time and
remember that they will grow!
Introduce the fish into the aqwuatrium with as little stress as possible.
Equalize water temperatures by floating the transportation bag in the tank for 20 minutes or so before releasing the fish. It may help to do this procedure under subdued lighting.
Once the original batch of fish have settled in, it might be prudent to set up a smaller tank as a quarantine area for any extra fish that you wish to add. This will lessen the risk of introducing disease into the tank.
© FBAS 1998 RCM/RDE Aquarium Management Care Sheet 4 2/3