ADVICE ON INSTALLATION
Consult this section to learn about the major concepts of fish-keeping and to find the answers to all your questions about your choice of aquarium, the installation of the aquatic decor, advice on fish, and maintaining your aquarium. You need to follow a simple but specific installation procedure to ensure that your future fish can get used to the aquarium without any problems arising.
- Choice and location of the aquarium
- Installation of the aquarium
- Choice and preparation of the decor
- Installation of the decor
- Filling the aquarium
- Introducing and acclimatizing the fish
- Advice for care of the aquarium
Your future aquarium must fit into your home harmoniously, so that you can fully enjoy your purchase just where you think it belongs the best (living room, kitchen, bathroom, office, etc.). To address the various scenarios, Aquaniman offers a range of aquarium furniture in the form of columns, tables, bars, aquatic plasma screens and aesthetically shaped fountains – all easy to maintain. As all the technical equipment is cleverly integrated into a discreet compartment, nothing’s visible – all you need is a power socket nearby.
Simply avoid placing your aquarium too close to an intense source of heat (fireplace or radiator) or in front of a strong source of light (veranda or window). Once it’s installed in its final position, don’t forget to check the aquarium is level; use shims, either beneath the furniture or beneath the wooden legs on your Aquaniman aquarium.
You can choose to install your aquarium by a professional aquarium (paying service) or do it yourself by following the advice of the detailed technical instructions that we provide with our aquariums. To begin to familiarize yourself with these tips you will find below some excerpts from our leaflet.
All inert decoration elements such as gravel and stones must be thoroughly washed in clean water before being placed in the aquarium, except for “Aqualit”. This nutritional substrate for aquatic plants must be placed directly in the aquarium. Shells and limestone rocks must not be used. Natural schist gives good results in columns. A wide variety of colours of quartz gravel are available, so you can match the gravel shade to your aquarium finish (e.g. a table aquarium with white legs will go perfectly with black quartz gravel and white pebbles).
If you wish to include mangrove roots, they need to be boiled for a long time, changing the water several times to remove the tannin (a deep brown colour). Aquatic plants must first be removed from their pot and the glass wool surrounding their roots. They must then be ballasted. The Anubias (nana, barteri and lanceolata), Echinodorus (radican and major) and Cryptocoryne (wendtii and walkeri) families generally give good results.
- Place a two-centimetre layer of fertiliser substrate (Aqualit) in the aquarium section (clay and earth must not be used).
- Next, place enough gravel to allow the aquatic plants to take root (make sure it does not go higher than the top of the bottom surround, to avoid blocking the drainage holes).
- Plant the aquatic plants by digging holes in the gravel. For columns, use tongs (see products and accessories section) or the wooden cleaning tool supplied in the maintenance pack.
- Add rocks and roots between them, if you like, for a pleasant overall effect.
Before filling the aquarium with water, don’t forget to check that the filters have been thoroughly rinsed with warm water and correctly positioned, that the pump is in place (it should be touching the bottom of the aquarium) and that the immersion heater is unplugged.
The hardness of the water used to fill the aquarium must be between 7° and 10° general hardness (dGH).
Use the GH test to test your tap water (1 drop = 1 dGH). If your water is too hard (above 10 dGH), you should mix it with purified or demineralised water until the ideal value (between 7 and 10 dGH) is obtained.
You’ll save a lot of adjustment time by filling your aquarium with water that’s already at the right temperature: 24-26 °C.
To fill your aquarium, insert the filling tube (or a funnel) into the heating compartment (where the immersion heater is located). The water will then slowly spread through the drainage holes without disturbing the decor.
Don’t worry if the water is cloudy after filling; it will quickly become clear, thanks to the very powerful filter system. The presence of air bubbles on the new glass for a few days is normal. They can be removed using the cleaning tool or floating magnet.
We strongly advise you to put liquid bacteria (“Clear-Flo”) in the filters to speed up seeding of the biological filters.
- Connect the technical components to the power supply. Don’t forget to set the timer for 6-8 hours per day.
- Adjust the air pump by turning the grey knob to set the quantity of air bubbles.
- Check the temperature on the thermometer for the first two days; adjust if necessary by turning the setting screw on top until the right temperature is reached and is stable.
- Once you’ve done all this, you’ll need to wait two to three weeks for the natural nitrogen cycle (in which organic matter is broken down by nitrifying bacteria) to take effect before introducing the first fish.
For the choice of fish, see the fish section. Don’t forget that the quantity and choice of fish should be in direct proportion to your experience, it’s therefore preferable to add them in two or three phases to your aquarium.
Acclimatisation begins in the pet shop. Competent professionals keep their fish in quarantine to avoid them becoming ill in your aquarium. That’s why you should avoid buying your fish in large pet stores, as they don’t usually observe this basic requirement due to a lack of time. It’s better to find a specialist fish shop that will be able to guarantee that their fish have been quarantined for at least a week, and that they are free from any disease or parasites. Alternatively, contact the fish-keeping club in your region. They’ll be able to supply you with healthy fish born in their tanks, at very competitive prices.
Once the fish have been placed in an airtight plastic bag inflated using air or better still, pure oxygen, avoid making them wait too long: if you do, the temperature may fall very quickly, causing them stress which could be fatal.
If the outside temperature is very low, take care to wrap the bags in an insulating blanket, or place them in a coolbox. Once you arrive home, the fish must not be transferred directly to your aquarium; they need to be acclimatised to the temperature of your tank.
- To do this, without opening the bag containing the fish, immerse it for fifteen to thirty minutes (depending on the temperature difference) in your aquarium. If there is a risk of overflow, remove a little water first.
- Open the bag and pour in a couple of glasses of water from your aquarium, so that the fish can get used to it little by little.
- After fifteen minutes, catch your fish using a net and release them in your aquarium. Never pour the water from the bag into your aquarium: this can often be a cause of disease.
- It is normal for fish to lose colour during transport; their colour will return once they’re acclimatised. Wait 24 hours before feeding them.
It’s very important that you never give your fish more food than they can eat: excess food will soon produce lethal toxins (nitrites) as it decomposes. Your fish should eat their food within 2 to 3 minutes of you placing it in the aquarium. If you see that the food is dropping to the bottom of the aquarium, you should give only one third of the quantity.
In our maintenance pack (see the products and accessories section) we offer packs of special pellet food for tropical fish, and goldfish food.
We advise you to feed your fish once a day, preferably in the evening. The quantity depends on the size of the fish, and may vary from 4 pellets for a neon tetra to as many as 12 pellets for an angelfish.
Certain bottom feeders (Corydoras, Botia, Ancistrus, etc.) will enjoy a food tablet once a week – or even better, a small piece of raw, peeled potato, courgette or cucumber; this stops them eating the aquatic plants.
Live or frozen food can be found in shops (bloodworms, gammarus, brine shrimp). Your fish will really love this, but don’t provide it more than once a month: this kind of food is very rich and polluting. Don’t forget to rinse it in water in a small sieve before placing in your aquarium.
When you’re on holiday, your fish can be fed automatically using a good-quality food dispenser (included in the holiday pack). It’s preferable to test it for a few days before your departure, to make sure that everything’s working properly.
If you go away for a weekend or a week, it’s often preferable not to feed your fish at all. However, take special care not to overfeed them before your departure or when you return. In an aquarium that’s been in operation for a few months, the fish continue to feed on microorganisms living in the gravel and on the plants; that means they can wait for your return without any problem. Fish die far more often due to being overfed by a well-intentioned, over-enthusiastic person than they do from having been on a diet for a week or even longer.
We strongly advise against the use of food blocks that dissolve in the water. These release too much food at once and risk causing an increase in nitrites (and water hardness) while you’re away; this could be fatal for your fish.
Thanks to our extra-large filter system and our LED and halogen lighting, your aquarium is really low-maintenance, so you can enjoy it to the full. That said, there’s no such thing as a maintenance-free aquarium. All it takes, though, is a few minutes each week, plus half an hour once or twice a year.
HERE’S OUR ADVICE TO MAKE SURE YOUR FISH ENJOY SWIMMING AROUND IN YOUR AQUARIUM:
- Feed them sparingly once a day (unless you use a dispenser)
- Rinse the blue foam pre-filter once a month, and the nylon one once every two months
- Top up the water level with purified water (to compensate for evaporation)
- Change the activated carbon once every four months
- Change a third of the water twice a year, and clean the pump