The information in this article may be of assistance if you are considering adding a saltwater aquarium to your home but are unfamiliar with the process. We’ve got you covered on everything from how to install an aquarium sump pump to how to set up a new tank quickly and easily.
Putting together your aquarium is not only simple if you follow the steps outlined below, but it can also be a pleasurable activity. If you’re really into it, you can even build your own glass aquarium from scratch. However, if you don’t want to go that far, you can easily set up a glass aquarium once you’ve purchased all of the necessary components and accessories.
If you fall into the latter category, you might want to read this post, as we will walk you through all of the steps you need to take to enjoy the aquarium of your dreams, and we will do it all from the comfort of your own home.
Things you need for a saltwater aquarium
If you’ve decided that a saltwater aquarium is what you want, you will have to make sure that you get anything you need to create a pleasant environment where the fish can thrive. Think of the space you have at disposal and the fish you want your aquarium to host as these factors will help you decide what you buy.
Therefore, choose an aquarium size that will comfortably accommodate the fish you intend to get and shop for the proper light, filtration system, sump pump, and heater. The type of aquarium and the fish species you want will also help you decide what substrate and sea salts to go for. Finally, get the livestock, corals, and plants you want for your aquarium.
Getting the aquarium ready
Once you have purchased all the things an aquarium requires, you can go on with the first installation step. Make sure you place the aquarium stand safely and properly and leave enough room for the equipment and accessories you will install later.
Use fresh water and a sponge or a soft cloth to clean the tank and then add the tank backing. You can either paint the back wall with your favorite color or you can simply apply a vinyl covering. Once you’ve taken care of that, it’s time to install the sump pump and the accessories it comes with in the stand or the cabinet. The sump pump should come with instructions.
However, you should install the sump and the equipment it comes with as well as the plumbing under the aquarium.
You should then place the tank on the stand you’ve installed. If you choose to use a power strip and/or a light timer, now is the time to install them.
Installing the aquarium equipment
The next step is to install the filtration system. As part of this process, you will have to remove and wash the pads the filter comes with. After doing so, put them back in the filter and install it on the back wall of the tank.
Keep in mind that the filter requires regular maintenance and thus needs to be removed from time to time. Make sure that you leave some space between the wall and the tank to remove it with ease.
A part of the filtration system should be mounted on the tank or canister. Take care of that and then, if you choose to use a protein skimmer, make sure you also install it. Continue with the installation of the powerheads you’ve purchased and put them in the approximate position.
You can install them in the final position only after you’ve installed the decorations and rocks you’ve selected. The heater should be installed now as well. Once everything is in place, it is recommended to run a wet test to see if the system works properly. Since this is a test and there are no fish and plants at this moment, you can use fresh water.
Before doing that, check the system and tighten the hose connections again if needed. Use fresh water to fill the tank and the sump if you’ve chosen to add one to your aquarium. Employ a cloth to wipe the exterior of the tank. You can thus see if there are any leaks once you run the system.
Plug the pumps into the power strip one at a time and then check the connections for leaks. Should you notice any leaks, turn off the system, empty the tank, make the necessary adjustments, and test the system again as you did the first time.
Adding substrate, sea salts, and aquascaping
If everything went well with the previous steps and there are no leaks, you can go on with the next step and install the substrate and sea salts. Just make sure that you do your research before buying these items as they are more difficult to remove when the tank is full and the equipment is working.
To add sea salts to your tank, you first need to remove a few gallons of water from the sump and the tank and unplug the system. In order to help them dissolve more quickly, it is recommended to pour them into the sump if you choose to use one and then turn on the return pump.
In case you have chosen not to use a sump, you will have to turn on the powerheads and filter you’ve installed. You might need to add more sea salts until you reach the salinity level desired. Test the salinity and act accordingly.
Now is the time to add the sand as well. If you have selected live sand, simply pour it into your tank, and turn on the filtration system for the water to clear as it might get cloudy. If you want to go for non-live sand, make sure you add it to the tank only after you’ve washed it with fresh water. By doing so, you will remove the small particles it might contain.
Adding plants, stones, and decor items to the tank is the next thing to do. After arranging them according to your preferences, you should turn on the filtration system, pump, and protein skimmer. It might take even a day for the water to clear. Once that happens, you can add the fish yet we will cover this step below.
Adding the lighting system and the livestock
Because it may take several hours or even days for the water to clear, you may want to take advantage of this window of opportunity to install the lighting system. It should not be difficult for you to find the aquarium lighting system that best suits your requirements now that there is a wide selection available on the market.
You might also consider purchasing a light timer to make it even easier for you to ensure that the fish have enough light and darkness during the day and night. As a result, you can rest assured that the fish will receive the appropriate amount of light or darkness because such devices are designed to turn the lights on and off at specific times of the day.
When selecting a lighting system for your tank, you should take the contents of the tank into consideration. If you want to include corals in your tank as well, you’ll need a reef tank lighting system because these units are specifically designed to meet the needs of corals, which are different from the needs of tank fish.
Lighting fixtures can be mounted either inside or on top of the tank’s hood depending on the application. After you’ve completed the installation, you should connect it to the light timer. Make certain that the timer is set appropriately for your requirements.
Even if you’ve followed all of these steps, you’ll need to be patient before you can introduce fish and other critters to your aquarium. It is necessary to populate the tank with beneficial bacteria in order to make the environment more favorable for your livestock.
Before making a decision on how many fish to purchase, take the size of your tank into consideration. Consider adding beginner fish to your aquarium to provide the ammonia required for the bacteria to multiply and populate the filter system. Never forget to check that the fish you add to your tank are compatible with one another. In addition, acquiring snails is recommended because they will keep algae and waste under control.
It is also recommended to introduce fish and other critters one at a time. If you are unsure about something, always read the instructions provided or seek professional assistance.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.