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A community fish tank is a great project, regardless of where you put it. It can liven up any space and fascinate both children and adults alike. But with no prior experience, you won’t know how to make something spectacular.
Don’t feel hopeless yet.
With this guide, you’ll learn about community fish aquarium essentials and steps on how to build one. That way, you’ll have a beautiful, captivating tank everyone can enjoy.
Every good thing starts with a great plan, but it’s one of the most important steps people miss. Before you look at community fish tanks and other equipment, you must decide the fish you want. This determines the fish compatibility with your environment.
Ask whether it’s a large or small community fish tank. It’s because the size, water condition, necessary equipment, and plant types determine the fish types you’ll keep. That’s why you need to take the time to plan your desired fish aquarium.
After planning and buying your desired equipment, you’re ready to set the aquarium up. Before adding water, ensure its cleanliness. If you purchased a new one, use damp cloths to wipe any accumulated dust.
Avoid using soap or detergents for tank cleaning. Ensure that the things you use for cleaning the tank are new and exclusive for the tank. This will prevent household chemicals and other debris from contaminating it.
Did you buy a used fish tank? If so, give more attention to it by removing debris. You can do this by using vinegar and a kitchen roll for cleaning.
To maximize its cleanliness, ensure that both interior and exterior are clean. But be cautious with an acrylic tank because this type of fish tank scratches easily. Use specific cloths to wipe it.
While you want your fish tank to be the centre of attention, you must find an optimal position instead. A good guideline is to place it away from direct sunlight and direct power supply. Also, ensure that your stand is strong enough to withstand the water.
For example, a 50-gallon tank weighs 100lbs without water. When you fill it, the weight shoots up to 600lbs. So it is important to place the tank first before doing everything else with it.
Your personal preferences dictate the type of substrate used for your fish tank. But the plants and fish within also play a part in this decision. For example, you must use a sandy substrate if you have lots of Catfish.
The ideal substrate amount depends on the desired thickness. The recommended ratio is to use a pound of substrate for every gallon of water. This ensures that the bed sits at 1” thickness, but it depends on the type of substrate used.
Whether you’re building a tank for any of the 10,000 species of freshwater fish species in the world, you must add water according to certain guidelines. The good news is that adding freshwater is simple since all you need is to add a de-chlorinator to it once you fill the tank.
But for saltwater - more care is required. First you must ensure that the water goes through reverse osmosis and is de-chlorinated properly. After that, prepare the saltwater by using a salt mix. It’s easy enough since the packet has instructions on how to determine the right amount for you to use.
The minimum equipment for your community fish tank needs is a filter. Depending on your chosen brand, the filter installation process will vary. You can opt for either an internal or external filter, with the former relatively easier to install.
Regardless, start by assembling its components. In most cases, the filter is on the back wall of the tank, with its wire close enough to reach the nearest power supply. If you chose an underwater gravel filter, install it before you add the water.
External filters are usually below the tank, sitting within the stand. It carries the water outside the tank to the filter and back in once it’s clean. If you use this, ensure that the cables and tubes don’t bend.
By this step, all operational parts of the fish tank are working. This means you can focus on adding colourful decorations. An ideal place to start is to get a natural look and see whether you can base the theme of your community tank with either driftwood, rock or plants.
Regardless of your choice, stick to the plan to ensure your tank has the right layout. Before you put in any decorative item, rinse well first. As for plants, some species are better as backgrounds while others as foregrounds.
The previous step lets you finish your tank setup, but avoid adding fish yet. Be patient and cycle your tank first. Known as the Nitrogen Cycle, most fish stores say that it takes a minimum of 4 weeks before you add your fish.
Regardless, note that ammonia and nitrites are toxic for fish, meaning a full cycle is a must-do job. After all, your biological filter builds up good bacteria which helps to get rid of these chemicals. Take your time to address the more common fish tank problems like these.
This is the fun part, especially when you have invested lots of time and money in the community tank. But don’t get too excited yet since it’s best to add fish slowly over 2 - 4 weeks. The number of fish depends on the tank size - the general rule is by adding an inch of fish for every 1 gallon of water.
These are the most important steps for a community fish tank. Use these steps to ensure that you reach your goals and make something you can be proud of.
But why stop here? Setting up your fish tank is only the beginning. There are many other factors to consider, such as upgrading your tank with automatic filters, feeders, and more!
Don't fret because we've got your back. Feel free to contact us today and let us help you start your new fish tank !