Guides > Setting up your new tank
Thoroughly wash aquarium gravel, rocks and ornaments with warm water, then add them to your tank.
Do not use soap or detergents—they are highly toxic to fish.

To wash the gravel, put it in a colander over a plastic pan or bucket and add water. Stir the gravel, drain, and repeat until the water stays clear and is free of debris.

Fill your tank approximately one-third full with room temperature water from a clean bucket.
Pouring the water onto a plate or saucer sitting on the gravel will help keep the gravel in place.

Add a water conditioner, like Tetra® AquaSafe® Solution, to de-chlorinate the water. Chlorine is fine for you, not your fish!

Connect the airline tubing from the air pump to any air outlets inside your tank, such as air stones or decorations.

By using an aquarium check valve, you can safely locate your air pump underneath your aquarium. (A check value is a small valve that is placed in the air tubing outside of your tank. It acts as a stop, preventing water from backing up and out of your aquarium if the power is turned off.)


Aquascape with live and/or plastic plants.

Ideally, these should be arranged to hide your equipment.
If you’re adding live plants, make sure the water is warm enough for them. Plant the roots gently below the surface of the gravel, leaving the crown (if the plant has one) exposed.
Remember to keep live plants moist until they’re planted—wet newspaper works well. For optimum growth and root development, use an aquatic plant fertilizer such as Tetra® FloraPride® and the proper lighting.


Add the rest of the water.

Fill your tank to the bottom of the top frame —leaving some air space between the water and the cover.
Set up your filter and “cycle” your new tank.

Secure the submersible heater near your water flow and place the thermometer as far away from the heater as possible.

Make sure you have a thermometer that’s easy to read. Most retailers sell an adhesive thermometer that adheres to the outside surface of the glass. Plug it in only after it is in the water.

Plug in your air pump, power filter and heater and start them up.

Important: Do not switch on the heater when it’s not immersed in water—the heating element can malfunction and overheat, and the glass tube can shatter if placed in water while hot.

Check the air outlets and adjust the settings.

Make sure water is flowing properly through your power filter.

Adjust the heater to the proper temperature. It will take 24 hours for the temp to stabilize and you may have to adjust your setting.

Wait 24 hours to ensure all equipment is working properly before adding fish.