How to Set Up a Fish Tank

Learn the best fish tank setup tips from aquarium expert Joseph Caparatta in this Howcast video.


Some tips that I would keep in mind when setting up an aquarium are the weight load. A lot of people forget that water is very heavy. They'll buy a two or three hundred gallon tank, they'll stick it in their upstairs apartment, and they'll wonder why the floor sags a little bit. So make sure that the weight of the aquarium is what your floor can handle.

You also want to make sure you level the aquarium. A lot of people don't do that. They think it's just a piece of furniture they can set it up on their floor as is. Well, glass panels do not like to be torqued. So if you have one corner that's off and the other one is off it will result in a lot of stress on that bottom panel. That's how leaks occur. And when that crack happens all the water's going to pour onto the floor. Water does a ton of damage.

I would also waterproof the cabinet of the stand. Go to the hardware store and buy a piece of rubber, or go to a pond supply store and get a pond liner, and just line the entire inside cabinet of your stand. If you have a canister filter, or a wet dry filter, or a Refugium sump, this pond liner will help to trap the water. It creates a bathtub liner in the cabinet of your stand.

You also don't want to overfeed your aquarium. That's how most problems occur. When you overfeed it taxes the filtration system. It stresses out the fish by creating a chemical environment that's not suitable for the fish. Your ammonia, your nitrites are going to be elevated a little bit. When the fish are stressed their immune system is compromised, and that's when disease kicks in.

So all these problems, or a lot of these problems, can be avoided by not overfeeding and not overcrowding. Overcrowding results in stress to the fish, and when fish are stressed their immune system is compromised. That's when they get diseases.

So, don't overcrowd. Make sure your tank is level. Make sure your floor can handle the weight. Don't overfeed. And always do regular maintenance. Weekly maintenance is the best. If you can devote a half an hour to your aquarium every week you'll be much better than trying to devote two or three hours to fixing your problems once a month. And remember, at the end of the day these are living animals and they really deserve weekly attention to the filtration.

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