Freshwater Aquarium New Tank Set-Up

For my birthday, I finally got the aquarium that I’ve been wanting! But y’all, it’s been a process to say the least. First of all, I researched for about 3 weeks. I wanted to learn everything I could about taking care of fish and an aquarium. I’ve had a betta fish before, but that was in college and I definitely didn’t do it right (more on that in another post).

I decided to go with a 29 gallon, mostly because it was only $20. I also read that bigger tanks are actually easier for newbies because if there’s a problem with water (like an ammonia spike), it doesn’t kill everything as quickly as the smaller tanks. Also, I thought it would be nice to have a tank large enough for some options when it comes to fish.

After figuring out the size tank I wanted, I had to figure out where to put it. Did you know that a 29 gallon tank filled with water can weigh upwards of 400 pounds? Yeah I had no idea. Obviously we wanted to put it somewhere safe and on something that could easily withstand that kind of weight. We went with a very sturdy coffee table, that just happens to be the exact height where Penelope can easily see the contents of the tank (since she’s a huge reason we ended up getting a tank… she loves watching fish). This coffee table can probably hold about 800 pounds, so we are good! Also, we had to find somewhere against a wall (for added safety), and not next to a window (direct sunlight is not good).

Next, we had to decide on what kind of decor we wanted to go with, and figure out what kind of substrate we were going to use. This depended on what kind of critters we wanted in the tank. After hours of YouTube videos, and reading blog posts, I decided I wanted a planted community tank. Meaning, I wanted live plants and several species of fish that can cohabitant. Because I knew I wanted live plants, I knew I needed some sort of dirt substate. I went with a fluorite and EcoComplete, topped with aquarium gravel. (This was a HUGE failure, but that’s for another blog). I got a few cheap live plants (Java Fern and Anubias because they are easy to grow and only require low light).

I got driftwood from the beach when we went a few weeks ago, and had to get that ready to go, which I did the week before I bought the tank. (More on that later).

I got everything set up and planted (twice, but that’ll go back to my failure post which I will write here soon), and now I have to wait for the tank to cycle.

To set up your tank, start with the hardscape (the substrate, rocks, and driftwood), then add your plants. Finally fill up with water, and you can start the cycling process (more on that in another post)

It’s been about a week and we are still cycling, but seeing progress!

Stay tuned for the final product!

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