How To Add Water to an Aquarium

Young girl looking in fish tank
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Quick and easy steps to safely fill your new aquarium with water.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 45 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Purchase a bottle of aquarium water conditioner. You do not need a cycle or other bacterial starter products.
  2. Purchase a bucket and label for aquarium use only. Aquarium buckets should never have soap in them.
  3. Fill the bottom of the tank with washed gravel to a depth of three inches.
  4. Lay a clean plate on top of the gravel. Be sure there is no soap residue on the plate. If unsure, soak it for five minutes in a 10% bleach solution, rinse thoroughly with running water, then let it air dry before use.
  5. Let cold water run from the tap for a few minutes to flush any minerals or residue from the lines.
  6. Fill a clean bucket approximately two-thirds to three-fourths full with water.
  7. Slowly pour the water from the bucket onto the plate in the aquarium.
  8. Repeat steps six and seven until the tank is half filled with water.
  9. Add plants and-and other decorations.
  10. Install the heater and filter, but do not plug them into the electrical outlet yet.
  11. Repeat steps six and seven until the aquarium is completely filled with water.
  1. Remove the plate and add water conditioner according to package instructions.
  2. Start the filter and heater, and let the aquarium run for at least twenty-four hours before adding fish.


  1. Old buckets may be used if they are thoroughly cleaned with bleach, rinsed well, and allowed to air dry.
  2. Fill your buckets only as full as you can comfortably carry and pour them.

What You Need:

  • water conditioner
  • clean bucket
  • clean plate