Originally Posted by aaronfisher
this is some cut and paste i got from ehow.com
Be sure that the species in your tank are compatible.
Get school fish. Compatibility problems are minimal and it will be easy to see if any of the fish are behaving oddly (indicating illness). Try neons or cardinal tetras, Corydoras catfish, any of the small barbs, rasboras, loaches, or pearl and zebra danios.
Try a bristle-nose or clown plecostomus, or a pair of otocinclus catfish to help control the algae
Avoid catfish in general. They are nasty predators and tend to grow. And grow. And grow '
Get algae-eating fish, which are your best and most natural line of defense against the stuff. These should be the first fish in your tank.
Determine the number of fish you can house by the size of your tank. A general rule of thumb is to allow 2 inches of fish per gallon of water.
Add clean gravel. Figure on 1 pound of gravel per gallon the tank holds
Fill your tank with water, leaving about an inch at the top. Tap water generally has chemicals in it that aren't good for tropical fish. Ask at the fish store if you'll need special conditioners, since they will be familiar with the composition of the local water.
Add the heater and thermometer. Most tropical fish do best at 76 to 79 degrees.
If a tank isn't level, put a 1/4-inch sheet of Styrofoam under the tank to help distribute the weight more evenly. Stress will be put on the seams and could cause an eventual leak.
Remember that it will need to be positioned near an electrical outlet and away from direct sunlight or drafts.
Use a home water-quality test kit to measure the temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen content, ammonia levels, nitrate levels and salinity of water. Adjust these properties as needed.
Regulate an airflow rate of 2 liters per hour, per liter of water. Control airflow with an aerator.
Provide a proper diet that has 30 to 36 percent protein, 10 percent fat and low amounts of carbohydrates. Be sure the fish food also contains required essential amino acids
Equip aquariums with proper lighting to avoid heat accumulation and excess algae growth. Use a light recommended for aquarium use. Use dimmer devices to avoid startling fish when turning on lights.
Cover the aquarium to prevent contamination of water and to minimize temperature fluctuations.
Test the water every two weeks. Wait at least a day after a water change.
Take time every week to clear the filter strainers of any plant debris or other waste, and wipe away any algae from the inside walls of the tank with an algae scraper or scrubber pad.
Make a date every two weeks to clean your filter. Consult manufacturer's instructions or an aquarium-supply retailer for advice on your specific model.
Change 10 percent of the water every 30 days
Clear the filter impellers of any slime, algae or plant waste, and replace any activated carbon bags in your filter.
Clean the underside of your aquarium's canopy or hood with an algae scraper or scrubber pad.
1/4" sheet of styrofoam
1. ) i like how the artical contradicts itself in the paragraph "get some schooling fish....neons, Corydoras catfish....then two lines later is says "avoid catfish in general" haha
2.) Get an API Test Kit. It's cheap and saves you countless runs to your LFS
3.) As far as using a "scrubber pad" to clean your filter intake and tank walls....I'd advise against it...most scrubber pads have built in chemicals and additives which are toxic to your fish. You'd be better off soaking and swishing around in a bucket of old tank water.
4.) Like Aunt K, said 10% every 30 days is absurd.....Do a 20% water change weekly
Be sure to let your tank cycle!!!