How to Build a Fish Tank? Every new aquarist asks himself this question because the design of an aquarium offers a lot of room for creativity. The decoration with stones, corals, and plants makes the aquarium a unique ray of light with an enormous relaxation effect. While looking at it, you can recharge your batteries. Let your imagination run wild with the equipment and create a little paradise.
How to Build a Fish Tank: Instructions in 10 steps
Step 1: Find a location
An aquarium needs light. However, too much sunlight promotes algae growth. The aquarium should therefore be set up so that it does not get more than two to three hours of sun. In aquariums with a capacity of over 300 liters, it is advisable to find out whether the floor is stable enough.
Because 400 kilograms, that’s roughly how much it weighs when fully loaded, is quite a weight. Because of the weight, it is generally best to use base cabinets or racks specially designed for aquariums. In case of doubt, having a structural engineer secure it makes sense.
Step 2: Buy an aquarium.
The larger an aquarium, the more stable the water values are and the less work it does. An aquarium with an edge length of at least 80 centimeters (approx. 100 liters) is ideal for beginners. There are also entry-level models with a capacity of only around 54 liters.
Setting up an aquarium for beginners.
With these step-by-step instructions, you can set up your aquarium very easily.
3rd step: Find a suitable base cabinet
When building an aquarium, you should pay attention to a solid foundation. Whether a complete system or a simple base cabinet: the main thing is that it is stable!
A railing can stabilize the aquarium so it cannot slide to the side. In the case of a wooden cabinet, it is also very important that the surface is sealed. Otherwise, it would swell up quickly with repeated contact with water.
You should place a rubber or styrofoam mat between the aquarium and the base cabinet. This also stabilizes by leveling out small bumps. Water spilled over and not removed also makes high-quality surfaces porous in the long term. It is also important to ensure that no puddle under the basin could develop into its own biotope in the long term.
Most base cabinets have plenty of storage space for aquarium accessories (e.g., fish food, nets, and nets). Parts of the technology, annoying cables, and possibly even an external filter can also be easily hidden in the closed base cabinet.
4th step: Select substrate
Which flooring is most suitable depends on the future residents.
- Gravel is a good universal substrate for plants and fish alike. You should pay attention to rounded aquarium gravel so that the animals do not injure themselves on sharp edges. The grain size is crucial – from coarse gravel to the finest shrimp gravel, there are many ways to adapt the pool to the residents’ needs optimally. Many species like to dig or dig – the grain size should be much smaller, right down to the sand.
- Sand is suitable for fish that like to dig, like armored catfish, or that want to bury themselves, like thorn eyes or frying pan catfish. Pure quartz sand is best for this because it does not rot as quickly and does not affect the quality of the water. However, some plants do not find a good hold on the loose ground. To do justice to both these plants and the fish that need sand, you can use different types of substrate. A barrier in the form of stones or roots helps the diggers not mix everything up after a short time.
In both cases, the substrate should first be rinsed with clear water until it no longer clouds the water.
5th step: fill in the substrate
A layer of nutrient medium about two centimeters thick is placed on the bottom of the aquarium. The solid substrate then follows this:
Gravel, quartz sand, or one of the many other variants. Because the nutrient medium must not have direct contact with the water, but only later with the plant roots, the substrate is introduced sloping backward.
Depending on the size of the aquarium, the substrate should be five to ten centimeters high on the back wall. You can decorate roots and stones on it and offer the fish the necessary hiding places. This results in a better effect later when looking inside.
Step 6: Provide the right light
Just like humans, the inhabitants of aquariums need light to live. Light is particularly important for the development of the flora underwater. As they grow, they produce the oxygen essential for the rest of the aquarium inhabitants. Fish also need light for the day-night rhythm, spatial orientation, and overall well-being.
When choosing light sources, you should consider the following :
- Which lamp is best suited for your aquarium depends, among other things, on the depth of the water. LEDs are a modern and certainly the best solution. These lamps are energy-efficient but very bright and do not add heat to the water in summer. They are available in a wide variety of designs, and, as a rule, they can be dimmed using control devices. Modern aquarium sets are already equipped with LEDs. Alternatives are fluorescent tubes or halogen lamps.
- A reflector distributes the light rays evenly throughout the aquarium and increases the light yield by up to one hundred percent. It is already integrated into the vast majority of LEDs.
- A timer regulates the lighting. Twelve hours of light and twelve hours of darkness is a rule of thumb. Light control is particularly gentle on the fish and plants in the aquarium. It lets the light go on and off slowly, simulating the natural rising and setting of the sun. Alternatively, you can get a similar effect by simultaneously not turning the different lights on or off.
If you have problems with algae growth, planning a lunch break of two to three hours with lighting can be helpful.
7th step: install the technology
Filters, heating, thermometers, and lighting are part of the basic equipment of an aquarium. A good internal filter can be sufficient for aquariums up to around 100 liters; everything above is better equipped with an external filter.
This has the advantage of holding more and different filter materials, thus providing more space for filter bacteria. Often it makes sense to use both filter systems.
8th step: let in water and plant
So that the substrate does not stir up when the water flows in, place a plate on it. A water temperature of 24 to 26 ° C is suitable for most fish. When the water level is around ten centimeters, the plants are planted.
Step 9: Wait until the fish can move in
Without bacterial additives from specialist shops (starter bacteria), it takes about three to four weeks before fish can move in. With the help of starter bacteria from specialist shops, after a final test of the water values, the first residents can move in after about four weeks, especially if the initially high nitrite value could be reduced to zero with the help of the settled bacteria.
10th step: Moving in of the residents
After the waiting period, you can put your new aquarium inhabitants in place – we hope you enjoy the fascinating underwater world.