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Saltwater Aquarium Setup in 10 Easy Steps

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Step 1: Prepare the Aquarium
Aquarium Cabinet w/sump Installed Image

Aquarium Cabinet w/sump Installed

Photo by Stan & Debbie Hauter
Now that you have completed your New Aquarium Plan, checked off everything on your Checklist of Items for Starting an Aquarium and purchased the equipment, it's time to put it all together. To get the aquarium ready:

  • Put the stand into place and level it, being sure to leave clearance for electrical connections and equipment.
  • Clean the tank with freshwater and a soft cloth or sponge.
  • If you plan to cover the back of the tank, paint it a color you like, or apply a piece of manufactured vinyl aquarium background covering, do it now.
  • If you have elected to use a sump, install it in the cabinet/stand at this time. Quite often it is easier to insert the sump into the stand through the top than it is through the cabinet doors. If you haven't found a sump yet, a Cheap, Easy DIY Sumps might work for you.
  • If your are going to install a DIY Automatic Top Off System, do it before you install your sump (it is much easier than waiting until the sump is in the cabinet).
  • If your system includes a sump, much of the sump related equipment is easier to install the sump before the tank is placed on the stand.
  • Place the tank on the stand, using an under-pad for cushioning underneath if needed, and check to see that the tank is level.
  • Install power strip/light timer.
Next, we are going to either install the sump equipment or
install the tank equipment.

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