Article by Dexter McClean
Okay first is the inventory you will need to complete before getting started. Below you will find all the equipment you’ll need get simple basic Cichlid fish tank up and functional.
Fish Tank Shopping List:
20 Gallon Aquarium
Aquarium gravel or sand
Decorations (such as hardy plants, flower pots, mini caves and other structures)
Flat stones and limestone
Aquarium test kits to test water parameters and monitor the infamous aquarium nitrogen cycle
Cichlid fish food (consult with your pet store owner)
Aquarium Glass Scrubber
STEP 1: Plan your set and maintenance
Setting up and maintain a successful Cichlid fish tank is not at all, with this easy to follow road map. All your effort will be very rewording. Don’t get me wrong work is required to create this wonderful environment for you and your fish. It’s very important task to keep your fish tank clean.
Get a calendar and mark out a plan of action for dates to clean your fish tank. This will make it easy to keep up with your tank cleaning schedule. Here is your maintenance plan; clean the glass, pump and filter once a week, or at most once every two weeks. Every month change at least 25 present of the tank water. Everyday add feed for your fish. You will also have to feed your fish at least once a day.
STEP 2: 20 gallon aquarium is best for the newbie Cichlid owner
Cichlid are aggressive, this size tank gives everyone a little room to room. It’s to introduce a small group rather that a pair of fish. Here is where the decorations like plans, mini caves, stones and overturned pots can help with places for your Cichlids to hide and retrieve as they did in the wild.
STEP 3: What does location have to do with your fish tank?
Your number one goal is to keep your fish healthy and vibrant. Temperature plays a huge role in the overall health of your aquarium. It’s extremely important you choose a location not exposed to any kind of heat sources especially direct sunlight. Avoid lights of any type that gives off heat of any kind sort.
Green algae will kill your fish, warm water produces algae, keeping your fish tank at the right temperature and again cleaning will minimize algae growth. Soap can also promote algae toxics, so do not use soap when cleaning.
Your 20 gallon tank will weigh about 200 pounds, so make sure the location will support the weight of the fish tank.
STEP 4: Aquarium and equipment purchase.
A couple of points to make sure you pay attention to when buying your equipment. Get details form someone at the store you buy all these items. The filter hast to handle the size tank and amount of water it will have to keep clean.
Make sure the heater will get the job done and is reliable. You should get a UPS unit with multiple outlets for all your electrical components. I recommend a UPS unit that will serve as a power source if the power goes out. Based on the type of UPS unit you get it will support your tank and equipment for up to 8 hours without power.
STEP 5: Aquarium stand and setup.
Remember no soap or any outer type of detergents. A good double wash and glass scrub before you put anything in the tank. If, you are using a stand as the platform of you aquarium, make sure to use the appropriate tools to tighten to manufacture’s specs.
STEP 6: Everything gets washed!
Anything going into the tank permanently or temporally gets wash not just a mild rinsing I really mean washed. All, yes all plants live or fake, stones, gravel, pots, and parts of the filter that is exposed to the water. Again, I said everything that includes your hands. This step in short, be sure to wash everything thoroughly without soap or detergents that’s it.
STEP 7: Fill the tank
After you placed your sand, stones, plants and decoration in the tank. Use tap water fill to recommend level. Some people like to use a bowl to break the flow of the water helping to keep things in place.
Let the aquarium stand for at least 24 hours. The tap water has chlorine and will dissipate overnight. Check the PH level to ensure the level are within scope.
STEP 8: Implementing equipment
Now take some time to read all instructions of the lamps, thermostat and water filter. It you never followed any instructions in your life. Follow the equipment instructions to install each device, because your Cichlid’s life depends on your attention to details in the content of the equipment directions.
My two tips let the lamp and heater acclimate to the water temperature before you ever plug them in, let alone turning them on. Normal this can take about 20 to 30 minutes.
Now follow the instructions to install the tank filter. Now once everything setup.
STEP 9. Stabilization
Let stand one more 24 hour cycle. This will do two things. One ensures everything is working as advertised and guarantees the aquarium has stabilized. I know, but you have to wait just one a little longer before you add the fish.
STEP 10. Finally it time!
If, everything is in order, it’s time to start introducing your fish to their new home. Add one or two fish at a time. Float the bags containing the fishes in the aquarium. This should be 5 to 10 minutes for each group. This gives the fish time to acclimate to the aquarium and gives your filtration system the time needed to take on the increased biological load that the new fish introduce.
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