How To Set Up A Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank In 11 Steps

how to set up glowlight tetra fish tank

Back in the day, when I was new to fishkeeping, I went to a fish store. While strolling through a fish store to set up a tank, my eye traveled to an aquarium containing a shoal of glowing fish. Although I knew nothing about fishkeeping, I knew immediately that I wanted to pet those Glowlight Tetras. So, I went on a mission to set up a Glowlight Tetra fish tank.

Initially, what is needed is a tank that can hold the required gallons of water, a strong stand, a heater to maintain the temperature of your aquarium, a filter to clean the water in the tank, and decor to make the aquarium look beautiful. However, maintaining the nitrogen cycle and water parameters is also important so the fish can have a healthy environment to live in.

To set up a Glowlight Tetra fish tank from scratch can be worrisome for some people. Even I was scared whether what I was doing was right or not. But don’t worry, reader, because I compiled all of the information in this blog so that you won’t have trouble setting up a tank for Glowlight Tetras. Let us read further to know how you can set up a fish tank for Glowlight Tetras.

Part 1: Gathering the Requirements For Your Fish Tank

Glowlight Tetras are decent fishes and easy to care for. Remember that they will light up your room. Even I, a novice, raised this fish with basic knowledge by searching for information online. For setting up a Glowlight Tetra tank, you need the following requirements.

1. Ideal Tank

A glass tank is available in any decent fish store. The bigger the tank, the better. Suppose you plan to buy 10 Glowlight Tetras; you must buy at least a 20-gallon fish tank. Here is a full article on fish tank size and number of Glowlight Tetra.

2. Tank Lid

A secure aquarium lid protects the fish and maintains water quality. Glowlight Tetras sometimes leap when stressed, so a tight-fitting lid prevents jumping accidents. It also shields the fish from household pets or young children who may be tempted to dangle their hands in the tank.

3. Foam For Balancing The Tank Level

Uneven edges can cause tipping over time. The foam helps fix this. Cut foam strips to fit around the bottom rim. This creates an even surface under the whole tank. The foam cushions any imperfections in the glass.

4. Suitable Gravel Or Substrate

Aquarium plants need nutrients to thrive. Plant substrates or soils provide these. Level the substrate higher at the back than front. This creates a natural sloped landscape look. Check the substrate is suitable for glowlight tetras before stocking the tank. Proper material helps plants and fish alike.

5. Decoration And Accessories Like Plants, Leaf Litter, Rock, Etc.

Add driftwood, plants, leaves, and rocks for cover. This mimics the tetras’ habitat. Floating plants like frogbit provide shade. Glowlights can rest here if threatened.

6. Air Pump

An air pump supplies oxygen to the water through an air stone or sponge filter. This oxygenates the water for fish to breathe. Invest in a basic but reliable air pump suited for the tank size.

7. Filter

A filter is essential to remove fish waste and clean the water. It establishes the nitrogen cycle to detoxify wastes naturally. Choose a filter rated 4x the tank size in gallons per hour (GPH). For example, a 40 GPH filter for a 10-gallon tank. HOB (hang on back) filters work well for tetras.

8. Lights

Purchase an LED aquarium light fixture protected by a GFCI outlet for safety.

9. Heater

Glowlight Tetras thrive in warm water temperatures that match their tropical streams. Choose a reliable heater brand suitable for the tank size.

10. Tank Mates

They can be kept with fishes of similar size, like Neon Tetras, Black Neon Tetras, Rasboras, Gouramins, Danios, Corydoras, snails, RCS shrimp, etc. You can keep them with Neon Tetras because both fish swimming in shoals will make the aquarium glow beautifully. I have listed over 40 fish that are good companions for Glowlight Tetra fish. You can check the article out by clicking the link,

Part 2. Setting Up Your Glowlight Tetra Fish Tank

Once you collect all the required items, setting up the Glowlight Tetra tank is finally time. Are you excited?

Step 1: Selecting Location For Fish Tank

It’s best to place the Glowlight Tetra tank away from direct sunlight, which can encourage algal blooms. However, these fish originate from forest streams, so they don’t require total darkness either. Aim for moderate, indirect natural light. Situate the aquarium near an electrical outlet to safely power equipment like filters, heaters, and air pumps as needed.

Step 2: Placing Your Tank

Carefully lift the empty tank with help. Hold it from below and set it in place gently. Go slowly to avoid tipping accidents.

Inspect that the tank bottom rests evenly on all sides. The level base ensures proper water flow and filtration later on.

When positioned safely without leaning or tilting, the tank construction is ready for the next preparation stages. Choose settings thoughtfully for safety and convenience.

Once situated, use a clean cloth to wipe down the inside and outside. Rinse away any residue or dust. Avoid soap, which can harm the water chemistry.

Step 3: Keeping Decor And Aquatic Plants

Wash all decor and plants thoroughly under warm running water to remove dirt. Boil driftwood and rocks as they may contain chemicals harmful to fish. Also, scrub the gravel clean.

Lay gravel first, adding 1-2 pounds per gallon evenly. Pile it slightly higher in the back for a natural landscape.

Live plants need nutrient-rich substrate. Spread fertilized potting soil or plant food 2 inches deep to support roots.

Arrange hardscape by laying rocks, driftwood, and almond leaves attractively. Consider how fish will swim and hide.

For aquatic plants, use fresh, living varieties. Dried plants will not thrive. Gently dig plant roots into the substrate. Artificial plants are also acceptable.

Create a scenic environment where fish and plants can coexist healthily. Proper prep sets the stage for a balanced aquatic ecosystem.

Step 4: Adding Water

After keeping everything in the tank, you need to pour water into the tank. Use conditioned water that is dechlorinated with low mineral content. Demineralized water is best. Refrain from filling the tank. Leave several inches of air space at the top for equipment and water displacement.

Step 5: Adding Filter, Heater, And Air Pump

1. Filter

Use a low to moderate water current filter for your Glowlight Tetras. There are external (Hang back and canister) and internal filters. I recommend external filters for beginners.

You can see the manual and set the filter accordingly. For the hang-on back filter, keep the filter tube as low as possible in the tank without touching the gravel. Open the filter lids and prime them. The filter works once the tank is full.

2. Heater

Fully submerge the heater and position it near the filter outlet. This circulates warmer water throughout.

3. Air Pump

Place the air pump above the aquarium, not inside, to avoid siphoning water out.

Step 6: Lighting Setup

Glowlights thrive in calm lighting that mimics their dark forest habitat. Install lighting on a timer for 8-10 hours per day of low brightness. This allows natural day-night cycles. Provide 1-5 watts of light per gallon on an 8-10 hour cycle.

Part 3. Nitrogen Cycle

The nitrogen cycle is important for converting ammonia into nitrites and nitrates. Setting up a tank is critical, and setting up a nitrogen cycle is even more critical, as your new pet fish might die if this process is not done correctly. Ammonia harms Glowlight Tetra and other fishes, so read the following to understand more about the nitrogen cycle.

A tank undergoing a nitrogen cycle has five stages:

  1. The fish food has nitrogen, so you introduce nitrogen in the tank through the food.
  2. The fish digests the food and produces waste rich in nitrogen compounds, including ammonia. Ammonia is fatal to the fish (Ammonia burns the gills). This ammonia needs to be removed.
  3. With helpful bacteria, Nitrosomonas, the ammonia is converted to nitrites.
  4. With another helpful bacteria, Nitrobacter, nitrite is converted to nitrates. Nitrates are not harmful to your fish.
  5. Your aquatic plants and soil instead utilize the nitrate. The aquatic plants provide oxygen and shelter to your Glowlight Tetras.

It is an ongoing process and can be disrupted by some imbalances. So, it would be best to remember that the nitrogen cycle is persistent in a fish tank.

Initially, you can speed up the nitrogen cycle process by buying the helpful bacteria and keeping it in the tank. You can even add water from an old tank that has completed the nitrogen cycle. The cycle takes at least two months to complete, so adding your fish before this time requires constant effort to ensure they don’t die from ammonia poisoning.

Part 4. Checking the water parameters

Since these Glowlight Tetras come from tropical waters, the water parameters should be adjusted to mimic the tropical water.

Water Hardness 6 dGH(<10 dGH), 1-2 dKH
pH 5.5-7
Temperature 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrates <20 ppm

The water parameter balance is essential for the Glowlight Tetra to survive.

Part 5. Adding Fish

Don’t add your fish for two weeks. It is best to add your fish after two months as the cycle is completed.

Adding fish is tricky. Don’t add many fish at a time; otherwise, you’ll lose all of them.

So, how will you put the fish in the tank after you get them? Here’s how. You get the fish in a plastic bag. Slowly acclimatize your fish by keeping 1 cup of tank water in the plastic bag. And occasionally float the plastic bag in the tank, too. Do this for 10-15 minutes. Then, gently lift the fish using a fish net and place them in the tank. Don’t mix the water from the plastic bag with your tank water because the plastic water may contain dirt and diseases.

Part 6. Care and Maintenance After Setting Up The Fish Tank

Setting up a Glowlight Tetra tank is not enough. It would be best if you cared for them daily.

Feed them ideally 3-4 times a day. Monitor how much they eat. Give your fish as much as they can eat in under 3 minutes. Don’t overfeed or underfeed them. Here is the full article on the Glowfish Tetra diet, where I have explained the best food for your fish.

Check if the water parameters are alright and check the nitrogen levels weekly. Replace the filter cartridge every month or so. Also, replace 25-30% of the water every two weeks.

Observe your Tetras every day to see how they are so you ensure a healthy and happy glowing tetra.

What Not To Do When You Set up A Glowlight Tetra Tank?

When you set up a Glowlight Tetra, you must consider several things for your fish’s welfare. Here are the key things not to do when setting up a Glowlight Tetra tank:

  • Don’t rush the cycling process. Resist the urge to add fish too early before beneficial bacteria are established.
  • Avoid overfeeding, which can lead to poor water quality. Only feed as much as the fish can consume fully.
  • Don’t overstock the tank. Overcrowding stresses the fish and challenges the nitrogen cycle.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or medications unnecessarily. They can harm fish and bacteria colonies.
  • Don’t neglect water changes. Remove waste regularly,y like once a week,k for tanks under 20 gallons.
  • Don’t keep incompatible or aggressive tank mates that may bully or injure the timid tetras.
  • Never change parameters drastically. Slow, gradual adjustments stress fish less than rapid swings.
  • Don’t skip testing the water. Monitoring ensures optimal conditions for the health and breeding of Glowlight Tetra.
  • Don’t leave the light on excessively. Dim lighting reduces stress for this shy species.

Buying Only Two Or Less Than 8 Glowlight Tetras

Glowlight Tetras are social swimmers who need companionship. Keeping only 2 leaves them insecure and vulnerable to stress.

Acquire a minimum starting group of 6 tetras for a properly functioning school. This allows natural behaviors like foraging and movement as a clustered unit.

Larger numbers, such as 8-10 individuals, make for an even bolder and visually striking display. Their chromatic fins shine brightest in confidence among friends.

Using A Small Tank With No Plants For Many Tetras

Imagine what you feel during the quarantine. Being locked up in a room for days without contact with the outside world is a horrific experience. Likewise, keeping the Tetras in a small tank where they can’t swim freely horrifies them. We have indoor hobbies to have fun and a home to shelter ourselves from a threat. Likewise, the fish should be provided with floating aquarium plants and logs to keep them happy and healthy. Otherwise, the fish will be stressed and die.

Keeping Them With Alpha And Aggressive Fishes

While Glowlight Tetras enjoy the company of others, certain species must be avoided. Aggressive or predatory tankmates risk harming the slow, docile tetras.

Do not house them with alpha characters like Bettas, larger Cichlids, or Barbs that may chase, nip, or overwhelm the tiny school. Even betas have been known to injure delicate fins.

Instead, prefer peaceful shoaling fish of similar size, such as Ember Tetras, Pygmy Cories, Dwarf Shrimp, or peaceful Cats. These allow natural behaviors without threat.

Putting The Fish Right After You Set Up A Glowlight Tetra Tank

Completing the nitrogen cycle is dire for the fish to thrive in the water. Immediately keeping your Tetras in the tank after setting up will kill your Tetras. So, you should wait for two or at least one month and check the ammonia levels. If ammonia is of optimum level, feel free to keep the fish in the tank. Otherwise, it is harmful both humanely (as you might kill fish) and economically (you have to buy fish again) if you keep the fish before the nitrogen cycle has completed.

Ignoring Quarantine Tanks

Diseases in aquarium fishes are common, so you should set up a quarantine tank for your Glowlight Tetras. If you suspect your fish are showing signs of disease, then seclude them in a quarantine tank. A doubtful-looking fish deserves the quarantine tank. If they have a disease and the disease has no treatment, euthanize them. Keeping the unhealthy fish in a common tank will also spread the disease to other healthy fish.

Learn More About Glowlight Tetra disease from this article, where I have explained every possible disease that can affect your Glowlight Tetra fish.


Glowlight Tetras are one of the easiest fishes to rear for a novice because of their hardiness. I had a really easy time with them and recommend getting them, too.

By setting the tank according to the instructions above, you can create a wonderful ecosystem and environment for your Glowlight Tetras to grow and glow. I hope you had a good time setting up the Glowlight Tetra tank.

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