How To Set Up A Marine Aquarium
There is no true quick guide to learning how to set up a marine aquarium. It is a difficult and lengthy process that can result in disaster if not followed to the letter. This quick setup guide should be enough information to get started.
Supplies for the Marine Aquarium:
- 50 gallon or more glass or acrylic aquarium and stand
- Undergravel filtration panels
- 1 pound of course substrate for every two gallons of water the tank
- 2 water heaters, each more than adequate for the aquarium size
- 2 thermometers
- Hydrometer for testing salt mixture
- Water conditioner to remove chlorine
- Marine bacteria additive
- Ammonia and nitrate buffer
- Alkalinity, Ammonia and nitrate test kit
- Desired ornaments or live rock
- Airpump adequate for aquarium size
- Power head adequate for aquarium size
- Tubing and equipment for installing powerhead for undergravel filter
- Airline tubing for setting up airpump
- Pure marine salt designed for aquariums
- Water to fill tank and for rinsing supplies
- Lighting with adequate lumens for size of tank and desired marine life
- Protein skimmer
- Backdrop and backdrop-gel
- Brand new 55-gallon garbage can
- Substrate cleaning kit
- Salt water mixing kit
- Aquarium cover
- GFCI Outlet
- Plug-in timer
Setting Up the Marine Aquarium:
- Place the aquarium in a location that is free from drafts, is not in direct sunlight, and is away from high traffic areas in the house. Level the aquarium to ensure that the frame is not stressed in any way.
- Clean the aquarium with clean water or a damp cloth.
- Fully rinse any decoration and substrate material to remove debris, dust or foreign particles.
- Add the background using the direction found on the bottle of background adhesive gel.
- Place the undergravel forms on the bottom of the tank and attach the appropriate tubing for the undergravel power head and air pump.
- Move the tank into its final position and leave enough room for the equipment to have a 1-inch clearance from the wall.
- Fill the aquarium with the substrate, level it, and place a plate on the substrate to use when filling the tank.
- Fill the 55-gallon garbage can with water, preferably filtered, and add the water conditioner to remove any chlorine or harmful metals or chemicals.
- Mix the salt into the water according to the manufacturer’s direction using a salt water mixing kit.
- Use the hydrometer to test the gravity level of the salt water; it should be between 1.020 and 1.025.
- Fill the aquarium halfway, directing the water onto the plate to prevent the substrate from moving. Add any decorations desired at this point.
- Install one thermometer, protein skimmer and one heater according to the manufacturer's directions. Do not plug them in yet.
- Finish filling the marine aquarium to the desired level.
- Plug in the equipment and allow it to warm up the water until it reaches 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the water has reached the desired temperature, add the marine biological additive.
- Install the aquarium cover and lighting. Plug the lights into the plug-in timer and set it for a fourteen to sixteen hour daylight cycle. A light timer is invaluable as is prevents forgetting to turn the lights off or on and stressing the fish.
- Allow the marine aquarium to cycle for 24 to 48 hours before purchasing fish. Marine live rock can be added at this time.
- After 24 to 48 hours, check the ammonia and nitrite levels.
- Then add an inexpensive fish such as two to four damselfish.
- After 72 hours, check the tanks temperature, ammonia levels, nitrate levels and alkalinity.
- If the parameter levels are in the healthy zone, then proceed to add more fish.
Add fish one or two at a time, every two weeks until the maximum number of fish has been added and only when the water parameter levels are at a healthy level.
Test the aquarium temperature, nitrate, ammonia and alkalinity levels at least twice per week. Provide a 1/3rd water change every four to six weeks.
Be sure that the equipment cords loops below the outlet in case water should drip down them. This will prevent water from reaching the outlet and causing a fire or other accident.