Welcome to The Aquarista, where I blog about my aquarium life and you get to watch me attempt to create a happy, self-sustaining aquarium ecosystem! For the New Year, I decided to set up my new aquarium, and I am very, very excited to get started.
I spent a few days thinking about how I wanted to go about setting up the aquarium, and what kinds of lifeforms I wanted, and decided to work on creating a self-sustaining ecosystem in the aquarium. That means that the plants and other living creatures keep the chemical levels of the water healthy, and in the most ideal of ecosystems, no additional food is necessary. In order to create something like that, you need a complex environment where all of the balances work out nicely. I found a great post here on which I am going to model the beginning of my aquarium.
The Top Fin aquarium holds 29 gallons and came as a set with a filter, lights, heater, and a few other small items, and I bought it because I got a great deal on it with my Petperks at PetSmart.
First, I added only some smooth, black gravel, a little Japanese house that the fish can hide in, and tap water. Once I had filled the aquarium with tap water, I was shocked by how strong the chlorine smell was. My aquarium smells like a swimming pool!
Then I set the heater to about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, set up the LED lights in the aquarium hood, and got the filter going. At first the Top Fin filter was very loud, so I researched it and found that’s a common issue with Top Fin filters. I took the advice of a few forum posters and unhooked the side tube of the filter, hooked it back again more snugly, and the noise was lessened.
After it was all set up with the water, I added the first form of life, some adorable dwarf baby lettuce. I ordered these through eBay because I was unable to find many water plants around my town. When they arrived, they looked good, though many of the roots had fallen off. I hope they survive!
In order to dechlorinate the water, detoxify the heavy metals in tap water, and to provide some healthy electrolytes to the aquarium, I added some Aquatic Stress Relief that I bought from Amazon.
Finally, to get some natural microorganisms and algae going in the aquarium, I added a few goldfish flakes.
In the next few days I am going to slowly add some more plants while the water dechlorifies. Also, I plan on adding a 20 pound bag of sand as substrate so that the plants will have something finer to root into below the gravel.