When you arrive home with your new purchase take the time to plan ahead. Make sure wherever you set the tank that you have good access to it. You will be trying to maintain an even temperature so drafts, direct sunlight and other environmental concerns should be considered. Make sure wherever you place the tank on can handle the weight and won't sway, shift or break. Adequate electrical outlets will be needed. After the tank is in place, it is time to add the substrate including any rock you have purchased. Try to place the rock in a place where more can be added without having to move the rocks.

After the substrate is in place go ahead and add the water. Water quality is essential to a marine aquarium. Depending on your location and local water quality, you may need to add anti-toxin chemicals to your water along with the salt you have purchased. Adding the water to the tank the first time is a little tricky. One of the best methods I've seen is to put a bowl or pitcher in the tank and pour the water into it. This prevents the substrate from being disturbed.

After the water has been added insert the thermometer and hook-up the heater if it is winter and the water will be cold. If it is not too cold yet, it probably will be soon and that heater will kick in and save the day! Most heaters can be adjusted so keep an eye on the temperature and make the needed adjustments. If you purchased damsels or other starter fish, now is the time to get them in the tank.

You must now start your filtration and again this can be very detailed. It is best to follow the manufacturer recommendations until you are more knowledgeable about the subject. The last thing to add is the light. Aquarium should be never kept dark. The average reef gets 10-12 hours of strong sunlight each day. They also usually get strong moonlight at nights…meaning it is rarely completely dark. Adjust light properly so as give your pet a proper exposure. Turn on normal room light for the first hour. Then turn on one tank light at a time at thirty-minute intervals. Reverse the order at night and leave a low light on in the room overnight.

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