An aquarium is a magical underwater world where brightly colored fish live and play in
imaginative aquascapes. Your Aquademics tank is a freshwater aquarium, meaning
it is filled with water that is very low in salinity such as ordinary drinking water from
the tap. This water must then be properly conditioned to remove any harmful
chemicals. Also, the fish that you select to inhabit your aquarium must be able to
live in a freshwater, as opposed to a saltwater, environment. When we refer to
tropical fish in this Aquademics Parent & Teacher's Guide, we are referring
specifically to freshwater tropical fish.
Tropical fish are totally dependent upon their owners to establish a safe and healthy
ecosystem within the aquarium. Here are some easy instructions for setting up your
home or classroom aquarium. This information is provided to ensure that your
Aquademics adventure is guaranteed to be successful and satisfying for the entire
I. Preparation of the Aquarium
- Inspect the tank by filling it with water and checking for leaks.
- Wash the tank, as well as any equipment that will come in contact with the inside of the
tank, with clear tap water. Do not use soap.
- Rinse the gravel that you have gotten at the local pet store with tap water only.
Never use soap. Simply place a manageable amount of gravel in a clean plastic bucket
and run water through it. The students can mix up the gravel by kneading it gently
like dough or clay. Continue this procedure until the run-off water is clear.
II. Setting Up the Aquarium
- Place the Aquademics aquarium in an area that is not exposed to
direct sunlight, which will increase the growth rate of algae and cause
overheating. Also, keep the aquarium away from heating and cooling vents.
- Place the tank on a very sturdy stand or table. When full, a 15-gallon tank should
weigh approximately 140 pounds.
- Place the washed gravel on the bottom of the tank. You may want to slope the
gravel toward the front of the aquarium so that refuse, uneaten food, etc. will roll
forward for easier cleanup.
- Add water to the tank. Place a small saucer on top of the gravel to break the
force of the water. This will keep your newly arranged gravel in place.
- After you have filled your aquarium halfway with water, arrange any tank decorations
such as rocks, plastic plants or other ornaments. Then, fill completely with water.
- Attach airline*** to the air pump, bury the airstone
in the gravel and turn on the pump.
- Install the thermometer and heater. The ideal temperature for tropical fish is
III. Conditioning the Water
- Ordinary tap water contains chlorine, which can be harmful to fish.
Before you can add fish to your Aquademics tank, you must de-chlorinate the water by
treating with Tetra's AquaSafe®.
IV. Introduction of Fish
After you have de-chlorinated the water and adjusted the temperature, you are ready to
introduce your fish and bring your aquarium to life!
For best results: 1. Operate the aquarium for several days before introducing any fish.
2. Test the pH level of the water before introducing fish. Follow instructions
in the TetraTest® pH Kit to ensure that the pH level is safe for your fish.
Please use the following procedure to introduce fish:
- Float a plastic bag containing one or two fish on top of the water for
20-30 minutes to equilibrate the water temperature in the bag. (The reasons for
introducing a few fish at first is to initiate the nitrogen cycle, which takes at least
20-25 days to stabilize. More fish should not be added until the nitrite level has
dropped to a safe level. Use a TetraTest® Nitrite Kit to determine the proper
- Gently allow the fish to swim out into its new home. Try not to mix water from the
bag into the tank - it may contain pollutants.
- Observe the fish closely for a few days. If you see any signs of disease, treat as
suggested by your fish dealer.
- After a month, add additional fish at a rate of 1-2 per week until the recommended
capacity is reached (approximately one inch of adult-size fish per gallon of water).
- A biological filter will take 2-6 weeks to mature as indicated in the "Maturation of a Biological Filter" chart.
V. Quick Maintenance Tips
- Feed your fish 2-3 times a day according to the Tetra Nutrition System for
tropical fish. Only distribute as much food as the fish can consume in a minute or
two. See www.tetra-fish.com for more
information on proper feeding recommendations.
- Periodically, clean the aquarium glass with a clean sponge (no soap!) to remove any
- A partial water change of 20 percent of the water volume every two weeks is recommended.
Be sure, however, that the new water is 72ºF-75ºF and free of chlorine before
adding it. Regular water changes (not just "topping up" the aquarium to
account for normal evaporation) will prevent most problems that can occur within the tank.
See The Importance of Water Quality for more
information about this important part of responsible aquarium ownership.
Reprinted courtesy of the National Aquarium in Baltimore
**To avoid constant duplication of references to
aquariums in homes or schools, the terms class, teacher, classroom and students will be
used throughout this guidebook.
***For a complete shopping list of equipment for
your aquarium, visit the Tetra Web site, www.tetra-fish.com.