Setting Up a Fish Tank

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2008

If you're looking for a low-maintenance family pet, fish are the perfect answer -- pet expert Marc Morrone is here to show you how to set up a fish tank.

Setting Up a Fish Tank How-To
1. Add layer of gravel, sloping it from back to front.

2. Install a heater, filter, and thermometer.

3. Place decorations and rocks, which act as hiding places for the fish.

4. Place a dish inside the tank and slowly add six inches of water, pouring the water into the dish. This breaks up the water flow so the gravel doesn't move around.

5. Add live plants.

6. Add more water to fill the tank.

7. Plug in heater and filter.

8. Put a light fixture on top of the tank and secure it with a cover. This provides light for the plants.

9. Wait 24 to 48 hours to put fish in the tank to allow plants to settle and for the filter to stabilize the water. After three to four weeks, your fish tank will naturally cycle; in other words, enough beneficial bacteria will have naturally grown in the tank so the filter can consume waste products that fish produce.

Tips
Tetra fish, which are freshwater fish, are a wonderful group to start your tank off with. Freshwater tanks are easier and less expensive to maintain and make great beginner tanks. Freshwater fish can live in small tanks because they are used to lakes and small ponds. If you want saltwater fish, you'd need a much larger tank because they are used to swimming in oceans.

How to Populate Your Tank
Community Fish Featured on Show
1. Hatchet fish live in schools at the top of tanks.

2. Tetras, guppies, and danios live in schools in the middle of tanks.

3. Angelfish and gouramis live as solitary fish in the middle of the tank.

4. Corydora catfish are scavengers that live in schools at the bottom of tanks.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Marc Morrone for showing us the proper way to set up a fish tank.

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