Setting up A 29 Gallon Saltwater Aquarium (Quick-Step)

Many people are asking me about setting up a 29-gallon saltwater aquarium. How they set it up and which process they should follow to maintain it successfully. Fortunately, there is more than one way to set up a 29-gallon saltwater aquarium, and firstly, you must know the proper step before getting started. Such as preparing water, foundation, adding lighting, add detritus attack chemical pack, add fish, etc.

Every type of aquarium, saltwater aquarium, freshwater aquarium, and reef tanks need proper planning to make it successful and have alive the tank creatures.

setting up a 29-gallon saltwater aquarium (Quick-Step)

29 gallon aquarium

Prepare the aquarium

First of all, prepare your 29-gallon biocube saltwater aquarium for setting up. Use a soft cloth to clean the tank and water conditioner or dechlorinator to make the water suitable for fish. Here keep in mind that your aquarium should be in such a location where electricity is available. Maintaining a saltwater aquarium, you need electricity to pump water, light fish, plants, coral, and the heater.

Gathering Equipment

After preparing the aquarium itself, the next step is gathering all the equipment for the aquarium, such as Power Filter, Light Hood, Hydrometer, Sand, Rock, Light, and most importantly, Saltwater.

Install the equipment

After arranging all necessary equipment, it’s time to set them up correctly based on manufacturer instructions. Prepare the new filter by removing filter pads and rinsing it with pure water. And then put it together to set up. 

Install the filtration system based on your requirements. There are different types of filtration systems available such as protein skimmer, canister filter, hang on back filter, etc.

However, Don’t forget to add the lighting system. It plays a vital role in the aquarium. Add a preferred light and a heater. The heater can allow you to measure the overall temperature of your aquarium. 

There is other equipment you need to install. Such as sand, rock, and water. Make sure all the equipment is placed properly.

Set up Sump Tank

Though it is not mandatory for a 29-gallon tank, you can set up a sump tank. To do this, you can follow the following step; otherwise, skip it.

  • Install filter materials
  • Install overflow hose from the main tank to the sump tank
  • Correctly place the return pump and hose.
  • Install protein skimmer
  • Install tank heater

Add filter and Protein Skimmer.

For a biocube 29 gallon tank, add a filter or protein skimmer that your tank requires. If you want to add a protein skimmer in a 29-gallon tank and you have normal to heavy bioload, then visit the link Best Protein Skimmer for biocube 29 (On Budget) this might help you to choose the right one.

Add Substrate (Rock, Sand, Coral, etc.)

Rinse all the substrates thoroughly before adding them into the aquarium. It may contain harmful bacteria. If you want to add live sand bought from a pet store, rinse them with premix saltwater and then add it into the aquarium.

Fill the tank and add salt.

If the tank has no leaks, then fill the tank with water, substrate, and other essential things that need to be added. To protect the substrate during the water pouring, you have to use a small saucer or bowl to pour water into it. Here keep in mind before adding water into the aquarium that the tank has no leaks. 

Add water conditioner

Add water conditioner and commercial marine salt gradually until the gravity reading becomes 1.020 with the hydrometer. For the fish and inverts, the gravity reading should have 1.020 to 1.025. After adding salt, it may take 24 hours to come up with a proper gravity line. So don’t worry and wait until the gravity becomes perfect.

Add heater

Add a heater into the tank, but make sure it is not plugged at this time. Be aware of Placing the heater in the right place. Where you can put the heater depends on what type of heater you have. If you have a Clip-on non-submersible heater, it should be placed vertically in the tank and close to the outflow of the filter as possible. And the submersible heater has to be placed near the inflow of the filter as much as possible. 

Note: make sure the heater is not overheating.


It is one of the most important parts of the saltwater tank. Keep the thermometer as opposed to the heater. This position will allow the thermometer to read correctly.

Add hood and light

Place the hood and proper light (if needed). Plug the filter and light and make sure the cords are in a safe place from the aquarium.

Cycling the tank

Before adding anything like fish or corals, cycle your tank thoroughly. This might sound strange if you are a beginner, but this step is a must for every new tank owner. It is tough to keep the water parameters regular most of the time when you are a beginner. In the ocean, the bad things like waste are taken away, and the good things like “food rich water” come up to the corals that help fish get healthy in a natural way.

But the aquarium is different. It is a bucket of glass or acrylic where the waste can’t be removed naturally. No waste is removed until you do it manually by water changes.

In the new tank set up, there is a significant danger of ammonia that is toxic to fish and created by uneaten food, rotting, fish waste, etc.

The fish or other invertebrates you put in your aquarium eat, drink, pee and poop in the tank. When humans create it at home, they can remove this biological waste and flush it away.

But in the aquarium, it isn’t possible for fish. That’s why this waste becomes toxic. It is not an immediate problem if the toxic (harmful bacteria) remains less. But when the harmful bacteria remain for a longer time and don’t get removed, they will be very toxic to fish that can cause fish death.

However, beneficial bacteria can prevent the power of harmful bacteria, which is created from biological filtration called the nitrogen cycle. That’s why for a new tank, cycling is very important.

Run a test of the full system

It is important to run a wet test before adding fish, live rock, animals, or substrate. Take a few times to check it to make sure all the equipment is working properly.

  • Check and tight thoroughly all the hose connection
  • Fill the aquarium with all the essential parts
  • Clean the exterior of the tank and allow it to dry
  • Plug the power pump
  • Confirm the plumbing connection are no leaks
  • If you use a protein skimmer, check the bubbles are creating efficiently.

How many fish in a 29-gallon saltwater tank?

How many fish in a 29-gallon saltwater tank depends on many factors. That is how big your tank is and how good your filtration system is.

Ideally, you can put 3 to 4 small fish in the 29-gallon saltwater tank if the maintenance is excellent. 

If you establish a seasoned tank with a biological filter, you have to put 1 inches of fish per five gallons of water for cycling a tank.

When you start a brand new tank, you can put one fish in your 29-gallon saltwater tank to get started growing beneficial bacteria in the filter media. When you feed your fish, it allows ammonia to grow beneficial bacteria. After that, you can add more fish when the beneficial bacteria is created adequately.

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