How do I safely clean an aquarium before setting it up?
If you purchased a new aquarium, simply rinsing it out with plain 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 with soapy water or with cleaning products. You should simply clean 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 clean razor blade to scrape off any algae or calcium clusters which you can't remove from the glass with water alone.
Should I rinse my gravel before adding it to the aquarium?
Yes, you should remove the gravel from the bag and place it in a clean bucket. Run water over the gravel several times to remove any dust that may be on it. Then hold the gravel in place and empty the water from the bucket. A household colander can help speed the process.
Why should I test the water in my aquarium?
In nature, waste products from decaying matter, fish waste, and other animal waste are naturally filtered. The harmful ammonia and nitrites are removed by bacteria and plant life. The substrate at the bottom of a body of water will absorb harmful chemicals and decaying matter like a natural filter. The actual size of rivers and lakes will keep water healthy for animals. The larger a body of water, the less lethal any harmful chemicals will be to its inhabitants. In an aquarium, the natural filtration is replaced by equipment, which filters the water. The larger the aquarium you own, the easier it is to keep the water balanced and healthy. To ensure the ammonia and nitrite levels have not reached harmful levels, be sure to test the water. To understand how filtration occurs, one needs to understand the cycle. Fish waste and other decomposing material will produce ammonia. In high quantities, this chemical will kill animals in an aquarium.A new system will not have nitrifying bacteria present. Ammonia levels and then nitrite levels can reach deadly amounts. If this happens, partial water changes will bring levels down without destroying all of the nitrifying bacteria. This will only last about four to six weeks before the tank “cycles.” Or, you can add Tetra SafeStart® to your new aquarium. SafeStart® accelerates the establishment of the bio-filter in newly set-up freshwater aquariums. The live bacteria start working immediately to provide a safe and healthy environment for your fish without the long wait. SafeStart can also be used after a water change, when adding new fish or after medicating.Elevated levels of ammonia and nitrite should not occur in a “cycled” tank. Causes of elevated levels in a mature system would indicate overstocking or over-feeding, and should be corrected immediately.
What should I do if my new Tetra Whisper® Power Filter is not working?
Be sure there is water in the pump chamber -- if you don’t add water to the pump chamber, the filter will pull in air. Also, take care with how much water is in the aquarium. Most filters need the water level to be about one inch from the lip of the filter, and a shallow tank may prevent the filter from working. Finally, make sure your bubble walls and/or air stones are not directly under the intake tube. If bubbles go up the main tube, it will cause a rattling sound and may stop your filter from working.
My new Whisper® Power Filter starts to work, is noisy, or shuts off. What should I do?
This is often a problem with the impeller. Make sure the magnet and the white blades are connected as one piece. If they are separated, you will need a new impeller. This separation is covered under our 2-year warranty. Another problem that may occur with the impeller is sand. Tetra Whisper® Power Filters will not run properly in an aquarium containing sand. The sand gets between the magnetic impeller assembly and the Energizer®, preventing it from turning. You could possibly replace the sand with gravel or purchase a mesh net from your local pet store. Place the mesh net (or a piece of panty hose) on the strainer. Your filter will still pull out waste but it will not pull up the sand. Gravel is the preferred choice over sand in a freshwater aquarium.
Does my Whisper® Power Filter put oxygen in the water or do I need an air pump?
Tetra Whisper® Power Filter cleans the water and adds oxygen. As the water flows back into the tank, it breaks the surface, creating turbulence that adds oxygen to the water. It works like a waterfall. It can only benefit your tank to have extra oxygen, and the Whisper® Power Filter is all you need.
What can I do if my Whisper® Power Filter has stopped working?
Sometimes, the magnetic impeller assembly can become clogged with debris. To clean off fish waste, mineral deposits, etc., you will need to take the magnetic impeller assembly out of the filter. Take the rubber end cap pieces off the top and bottom. Slide the magnetic impeller assembly off the metal shaft and place both the impeller and the metal shaft in white vinegar. The metal shaft and magnetic impeller assembly should be soaked side-by-side. Do this for two hours and then rinse them in warm water. You can now put the magnetic impeller assembly back together. Check to be sure the magnet and the white blades are connected as one piece. If they have become separated, you will need a new impeller. This separation is covered under our two-year warranty. If you need a new impeller or another part, you can buy replacement parts directly from Tetra.
When can I add fish to my new aquarium?
When you first set up your aquarium, it is recommended you run your filter, heater, and air pumps for 24 – 48 hours before adding your fish. This will allow the heater to stabilize the temperature and ensure that all equipment is working properly. After this 24-48 hour period, you can add your Tetra AquaSafe® to the water, and then immediately add fish. When you do add your fish, float them in a plastic container for 20-30 minutes. This will allow the water temperature in the bag to be the same as the water temperature in your aquarium. After three to four weeks, you can begin introducing new fish at a rate of one to two fish per week. Just keep in mind that you should have one gallon of water per one inch of (mature) fish. Have three gallons of water per one inch of goldfish.