Getting Started

Before we place any rock, wood or any other ornaments into the tanks, we have to make sure it is safe for the fishes first. A recommendation to ensure this is to only get the ornaments from trustworthy aquarium shop or pet stores. 

(a) After setting up the filtration system, add substrate after placement of ornaments with a water spray. This will prevent the soil from floating up when we add in water to the tank. Once it’s damp enough, we may fill the tank with water very slowly through a container (the slower the better). This will prevent the stirring and messing up of the soil.


(b)  It’s not recommended to plant any plants immediately right after setting up of the tank. Once we plant any plants, carbon dioxide and lighting will be needed for the plants to grow. However, at the same time, due to the issue that bacteria have not properly formed yet, it might bring serious algae problem to the tanks. If we set up the tank without light and carbon dioxide, it will lower the chance for algae to grow. In addition, we can change the water as much as we want in the first 7 days. This is to neutralize the soil. It is also recommended to leave the filtration system continuously on, to filter the water. Do not turn on the light but carbon dioxide pump during the first two weeks of set-up.


(c) Every time we change the water and add new fresh water into the tank, it is recommended to add new bacteria liquid into the tank. This is to:


(i)           reduce the algae growth,

(ii)          reduce ammonia in the water,

(iii)        improve and promote the plants to absorb fertilizer better

At the beginning, it is recommended to have seven (7) days bacteria growth routine before we plant any plants into the system.

(d)Plants can be planted at the beginning of the 2nd week after initial setup. There are no specific combinations of plants to put in the system, but it will look much more harmonious if we keep our tanks with a maximum of 4 types of plants. Of course, it is still based on subjective personal preferences and likes. Some plants which will require a lower light source will need to be planted under shade or under some ornament within the tank.

(e) For the first week, you should change the water everyday at a maximum change of 50%. This is to reduce the excess minerals present in the soil. Subsequently, a maximum of 50% water should be changed on a weekly basis.

(f) Adding in of algae eating snail should be introduced on the 3rd week after initial aquarium set up, together with Siamese Algae Eater.

(g) The fishes are the last to be introduced into the aquarium. It will take a duration of 1.5 months to complete the entire aquascape tank.

Here is a step-by-step instructional video on setting up a Large Tropical Freshwater Aquarium:


Things to Take Note of:

- Water that contain too much Iron, will increase the speed of algae growing.

- Spot algae can only be mechanically removed. Sharp objects should not be used in acrylic aquariums. Instead use a plastic razor, cloth pad, or a very gentle scouring pad. On glass tanks, scraping with a razor blade is very effective

- Avoid overfeeding fish. Once a day should be sufficient.

- Both Green-Blue and Black brush can be chemically treated even if there’s fishes in the same tank, but if tank effected by hair algae, it’s recommended to remove the fishes to another tank before treatment, if Hair algae is already in a serious stage, we might need to re-scape the tank.

- If one wishes to keep shrimps, it will be introduced one week after the fishes have been placed into the aquarium. Shrimps are extremely sensitive to its environment and any small changes in the water quality might result in its death. But shrimp are very useful when there is some minor algae infection.

- We should quarantine new plants from planted tanks at least 3 days before we transfer them into the tank. We should also wash and rinse through the plants before we plant them.

- Ensure Carbon dioxide levels are consistent and adequate for your planted aquarium.  Reduce the amount of nutrients dosed in the aquarium as too much iron causes hair algae to appear.  It may also be beneficial to introduce a liquid carbon dioxide supplement such as Seachem Excel regularly to tanks that are not injected with carbon dioxide to nullify the chances of the Hair algae from appearing.

- Good quality carbon absorbs extra minerals or organic waste in the ecosystem of the tank. This is much needed to prevent algae growth. The carbon is to be placed in the filtration system. (It is good to do it in this way as even if there are any algae spreads, the situation will be controllable.)

- As your tank is a freshwater tank, please do not use salt water in your system. Other things to not put in your tank includes corals and marine fishes.



Things to Avoid:

1. Becoming Frustrated - Yes the tanks on the internet are beautiful but not impossible; they have nothing that you don't go for it!

2. Using One Type Of Plant It may give a theme to the tank but can become boring

3. Using Only Large Leaf Plants - Larger plants will make your aquascape look smaller and not as deep. A rule of thumb: the finer the leaves, the larger your scape!

4. Keep It Simple Yes it is great to have a whole tank full of every type of plant that is in existence, but this does not look good! Be sure to have as much open space as filled space. In fact, tanks with lots of open areas look great...just fill them in with a school of fish!

5. Symmetry - Symmetry is not wanted in planted tanks as we want to create a natural looking under waterworld anyway.


Useful Tips to Remember:

**Do your first planting right before filling the tank with water (you can fill in a few inches of water to keep the soil moist ), by doing this way the water will be clearer when you add water afterwards!

**After initial adding of fertilizer into the system, it will take the water about 1 week to a month to settle down, after which you can add your fishes in.

**Also note that most aquatic plants look much better in groups and bunches, keep that in mind while you are planning for your aquascape.


Make a Free Website with Yola.