Aquarium Cleaning and Setup

Here you'll find the most commonly asked questions about aquariums and fish keeping. If you don't find the answer to your question here, you can e-mail us at TetraCare® or call at 1-800-423-6458.

Q) How do I safely clean an aquarium before setting it up?
A) If you purchased a new aquarium, simply rinsing it out with water will be enough. When you get a "new" used aquarium, the most important thing to remember is what not to do. Do not clean the aquarium out with soapy water or with cleaning products. You should simply clean out the aquarium with hot water. If you wish, you can mix some non-iodized salt in the water you are using to clean the tank. You may want to use a razor blade to scrape off any algae or calcium clusters which you can't remove from the glass with water alone.
Q) Should I rinse my gravel before adding it to the aquarium?
A) Yes, you should remove the gravel from the bag and place it in a clean bucket. Run water over the gravel to remove any dust that may be on it. Then hold the gravel in place and empty the water from the bucket. This will clean the gravel for you.
Q) How do I get rid of the white build-up on the tank, filters, etc.?
A) The white build-up is caused by calcium deposits or minerals found in water. You can use vinegar to remove the build-up. If you don't have vinegar, you could also use lemon juice, although vinegar works best. Just put some on a clean cloth and rub over the calcium deposit. Rinse with warm water when you are done.

If you’re setting up an old aquarium, you will also need to clean the aquarium hood and possibly the light strip. In addition, the light strip will need to be tested. If the bulb is black on both ends you will need to replace it.

Q) How many hours do I run the hood light?
A) In general, you want to replicate a natural day and night time cycle. Turn on the light when you get up in the morning and turn off the light in the late evening. Most species of fish will need the light on for 10 – 12 hours. You can simplify this task by using a simple household timer to turn the lights on and off.