Often, the first failures of breeding, or keeping tropical fish, is in the very beginning. This is a very rough time as you begin to develop a feel for the hobby, and it is very easy to quit despite the money put into the project.
The first and most important thing to your hobby surviving, is the set up of your tank. Before you set up your aquarium, make sure you have all the important things already purchased as well (such as heater, aerator). You may also want to have all the decorations purchased as well, instead of only having a few plants to provide shelter, and rocks to line the bottom.
First wash the aquarium with a solution of aquarium salt, make sure to rinse it well, then place upon your chosen piece of furniture. Make sure that your chosen place will not be affected if there is a water leak in the aquarium.
To be sure that there aren’t any leaks before you set up aquarium fixtures, leave tank full to about two inches from the top for twenty-four hours. After twenty-four hours, check for leaks. If you discover leaks, they can be fixed by applying aquarium cement. This can be found at a super center, or a pet dealership.
After cleaning, and checking your tank for leaks, it is time to clean your gravel. Be sure to choose a coarse gravel as opposed to a finer gravel, or sand. In a breeding tank you can also use marbles, “Dragon’s Tears” (flat colored glass), or smooth river rocks purchased at a store. Never use rocks that you pick from a lake or a pond unless you soak them in a strong solution of aquarium salt for 24-48 hours. Otherwise you could introduce harmful bacteria or other nastiness.
When choosing gravel figure about two pounds per gallon of water, if you plan on using marbles, purchase enough that the entire tank (except for back) will be covered. Before you add gravel or marbles to your set-up, wash them thoroughly by placing a package in a bucket and run water over the gravel until all dirt has been washed free. Do not use soaps or detergents.
Because this is the first time setting up this aquarium, do not worry about treating the tap water with a chlorine neutralizer. You must leave the tank running for 42-78 hours before adding any fish. By that time the aerator will have neutralized the chlorine and chloramine. It is wise to have these neutralizing chemicals in case you need to do a drastic water change in the future, however, if only changing one or two gallons of water in a weekly water change, it isn’t needed either.