Aquarium Setup

Setting up your aquarium will help familiarize you with the equipment required to properly maintain it. To ensure all equipment is working properly, it is important to set up all equipment approximately two weeks in advance of receiving your salmon eggs.


  1. Choose a suitable location for your aquarium. Your aquarium should be in a location that is; easily accessible from all sides, within close proximity to an electrical outlet, near a water source (if possible) and in an area that where the aquarium is readily visible to students and visitors with a stable room temperature. See the video for Step 2: Equipment on the Equipment page.


  2. Set up aquarium in chosen location. Be sure that the area is properly ventilated so the chiller does not overheat.
  3. Add chiller to aquarium. Set to 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow manufacturer instructions.
  4. Add filter, sponge filter insert is required to balance bacteria levels. Follow manufacturer instructions.
  5. Add aerator/ air stone
  6. Fill aquarium with water. If using municipal water, dechlorinate according to manufacturer instructions.
  7. Test water quality including; pH, nitrate, nitrite, chlorine, ammonia, hardness and alkalinity. See below for further instructions.
  8. Monitor the tank for proper temperature and water quality for a period of approximately two weeks prior to receiving salmon eggs.

Water Quality Monitoring: Test the water for pH, ammonia, nitrates, nitrite, hardness and alkalinity upon completion of aquarium set up. It is important to obtain baseline levels when you set up your tank to help you recognize when levels change throughout the year. 25% of the tank's water must be exchanged at least weekly after feeding begins. Uneaten food and fish waste must be syphoned out at least twice a week. Click here to access a water quality monitoring sheet to help you keep track.

Temperature: Water temperature in the aquarium should be within a degree or two of the temperature you have the chiller set to.

Other: Slight water quality fluctuations are relatively normal. However, if they do occur, it is important to determine if action to remedy the changes is necessary.


  • Is all equipment working properly?
  • What factors could have contributed to these changes?
  • What is the fish behavior? Has it changes substantially?
  • When was the last time the aquarium was cleaned?
  • Is there a pattern of changes in the water quality?
  • Refer the the Nitrogen Cycle PPTX Guide for help!

If using chemicals to remediate changes in water quality, be sure to follow the instructions carefully. It is important to allow enough time for the product to circulate through the aquarium system before adding additional doses.