Setting Up An Aquarium Is Hard Work

I thought setting up an aquarium was simple; buy a tank; add substrate; add decorations; add water; add fish. Simple

Boy was I mistaken! I read all about cycling the tank, and the need for good bacteria to make the water ideal for fish. I bought my tank the 2nd week of February and it’s still not ready. It’s partly my fault because I am somewhat of a perfectionist, so it took me forever to set up the tank and I only added water a week or so ago

The first problem was due to using sand instead of gravel. It turns out the current produced by the filter was too strong. It pushed the sand away and made the bottom glass visible (it was probably a 7”x4” area). I tried moving rocks around so the sand wouldn’t get pushed around, but I had no luck with that. I ended up removing some of the sand with gravel, which worked and doesn’t look too bad. Adding gravel caused another problem – it made the water a little cloudy and increased the pH (well, I don’t know if the gravel caused this but it was fine before). I decided to not do anything and just leave the tank alone. After a few days the water cleared up and the pH dropped

The bacteria growth activator that I’m using takes 3 weeks to make the water habitable. This weekend is the second of three weeks. The lady at the pet store suggested throwing in some fish to speed up the process. I’m against using live fish to start up a tank. That’s like animal cruelty because the water is not ideal for fish and some may die. No thanks! I’ll do the fish-less cycle. I’m in no rush

Next problem was the water temperature. I thought it was fine but I guess it was fine because the weather was mild (my room temperature changes depending on the weather but is usually cool). Anyway, it’s been chilly the past few days so the temperature dropped a few degrees (enough to make it close to the lower end of the range it should be). I decided to add the heater I bought – and thought I wouldn’t need. Now it’s nicely within the safe range. I don’t think I’ll need the heater in the summer but will need it during winter

So, all this is for 2 African Dwarf Frogs. I’m still undecided whether I want to add some fish along with them. I’m now also thinking of adding a Mystery Snail, Ghost Shrimp, or Betta fish. It’s a 10 gallon tank so I have more than enough room for more aquatic pets. We’ll see what the future holds and of course, I’ll keep you posted


5 thoughts on “Setting Up An Aquarium Is Hard Work

  1. Clearly I’m not taking care of my tank really well….
    I was supposed to clean it this weekend but got busy with family and grouting the tiles in the bathroom. What are you using to check your PH levels?

  2. Setting up a fish tank is always a chore, and need to be planned well in advance. Sounds like you have a good start on how and what to do. You also have the right idea, “patience” is everything in this hobby.

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