How to set up a new betta aquarium
When deciding to set up a new aquarium, it is important to know that the longer you can wait on fish, the better. Water conditions are very unstable when starting a new aquarium, even with “Instant” water additives. I strongly suggest you cycle your tank before adding fish. The process takes a little longer but proves to be well worth the wait! To read more beginner’s tips, click here.
So let’s start with the basic setup. Before you start you may want to go over the Betta Aquarium Supply List to make sure you have everything you need.
*Before you begin setting up your betta aquarium be sure to thoroughly wash your arms up to your elbows to ensure the removal of any lotions, fragrances or soap residues.*
The tank will be much too heavy for even two people to lift once it is full. Also make sure your table or stand is strong enough to support the tank prior to set up. Remember, 1 gallon equals 8.35 pounds!
If you are adding a background to your tank, now would be the time to add it.
Tip – Using a bucket or a large bowl will help you to recognize when the gravel is free of dust. Once your gravel is rinsed, add enough to the tank to have a 2 to 3 inch layer. Less will make it harder to hold down ornaments and plants. More will make cleaning the gravel much more difficult. Having too much gravel can also trick you into thinking your tank is clean longer when really there is even MORE fish waste and excess food creating ammonia than a tank with only a couple of inches.
Add water treatments to rid your water of chlorine, chloramine, and other toxic elements. Chlorine will kill the barcteria necessary for healthy pH and ammonia levels.
4. Rinse fake plants and ornaments with warm water(never use soap!).
Decorate your tank as you would like it for now. You can always rearrange later if desired.
When plugged in, make sure you have a drip loop. This means the cord hangs lower than the outlet so in case any water gets on the cord and trails down it will drip onto the floor instead of causing an electrical short.
Both of these components should be running now.
If everything is working well, fill the tank the rest of the way. Also add conditioning salt at this time if you are planning to buy fish requiring brackish water. I suggest keeping this on hand whether you buy fish who require it or not because it promotes healing during times of illness. It stops pathogens in the water much like humans drinking dissolved salt in water to cure a sore throat. A common misconception is that adding aquarium salt will change the pH of the water. That is a myth.
You are now finished with the initial setup! Once again I strongly urge you to cycle your tank first. Allow two weeks before adding your beta fish or any other fish. Also be sure to check your pH, alkaline, nitrates, and ammonia levels prior to adding anything to the tank. It’ll prevent illness, shock, and even death that often occurs with new tanks due to poor water conditions. You can purchase testing kits or even call your local pet shop to see if they offer customer water testing.Remember to take it slow- your patience will pay off!
Now you have learned how to setup your very own betta aquarium!