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Aquarium Setup Fresh Water

Freshwater (including plants,  African cichlids, livebearers, and unheated)

If you have followed the previous information then there really isn’t too much left to do.  African cichlids will need some specialized mineral salts (not table salt or sea salt) and most livebearers prefer some mineral content to the water beyond what is normally found in our tap water.  Feel free to check with us about what is best for the animals you want to keep.

Once everything is set up properly you can start to add your livestock.  Plants are usually very tolerant of new environmental conditions and can be placed in the tank with much acclimation.  The animals, on the other hand, need a bit more time to get used to their new home.

The first thing that you should do is make sure that you choose to start your new tank with animals that have the greatest chance of surviving the cycling process.  Usually mid-water fishes like tetras, rasboras, minnows, and rainbowfishes are great choices.  We recommend avoiding all bottom dwelling animals and any cichlids until after the ammonia and nitrite are no longer detectable.

Any time you are adding new animals to any tank you need to get them used to the new water conditions they will be living in.  We recommend floating the bag of animals in the tank for at least half an hour.   Every ten minutes or so open the bag and add some tank water so that the animals can get used to the chemistry as well as the temperature of the new water.  At the end of the half hour you can release the animals into the tank.  Some people do not like to add the water from the bag into their tank for fear of adding excess ammonia.  If this is a concern for you, just use a small net to scoop the animals out of the bag after their acclimation period, place them in the tank, and discard the water in a sink.

Another possible way to acclimate you new animals is to pour the contents of the bag into a bucket, create a siphon from the tank into the bucket, and tie a loose knot that restricts the water flow to a fast drip.  You can let the bucket fill up slowly, scoop the animals out into the tank and then replace the water you removed with new water to act as a small water change.  If you try this method, DO NOT FORGET ABOUT THE BUCKET BECAUSE IT CAN OVERFLOW AND SPILL WATER ON YOUR FLOOR.

Generally speaking, the fishes will require more care during acclimation than the invertebrates.  Invertebrates don’t have to be acclimated to the water chemistry  like the fishes, but it’s always nice to get them used to the temperature by letting them float in the tank for a time before releasing them.


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