To set up a home aquarium, line the bottom of the aquarium with clean gravel, add the prepared water, install the electronic environmental control equipment, decorate the tank and add the starter fish to set up your home freshwater aquarium. Brackish and saltwater tanks require different water preparation, live plants and fish along with some additional equipment.
Allow the tank to cycle for four weeks and test the water's nitrate and ammonia level, and when it is zero you can add the rest of the fish. Rinse the gravel with only water to remove any dust or particulates that can cloud the water for weeks. Do not use any soap or detergents, which are toxic to the fish. Filter the water through a dechlorinator or add a water treatment product to remove any chemicals in your water supply.
Install the filtration system, heater and thermometer in the location and manner prescribed by the specific manufacturer. Place your desired rocks, plastic plants, driftwood and other decorative material as desired, plug in the electrical equipment, and wait 24 hours for the water to stabilize at the correct temperature.
Start the nitrogen cycle by releasing 10 fish into the tank, but do not add the water that they were shipped in to help the fish acclimate faster. Install any lighting you need, and place the cover on top of the aquarium.