How to set up a Juwel aquarium

Juwel are one of the easiest aquariums to set up and are virtually plug and play. They’ve sold over one million aquariums worldwide and have proven results across the decades. Key to the Juwel aquarium system is the built-in filter. The filter uses mechanical, biological and chemical media in combination to clean water and break down fish waste, without the hassle of setting up an external filter and hoses. 

How to get started

Juwel aquariums come with heater, filter and LED lighting. Place the filter sponges, heater and pump inside the filter but don’t plug in and switch on the two power cables yet. Juwel were structured background pioneers so if you want a 3-dimensional Juwel background now is the time to add it. Trim to size with a craft knife, apply silicone, stick, and leave to dry for 24 hours. If you don’t want an internal background you can opt for simple background paper, stuck to the back of the tank.

How to add decor

Next choose your decor. Use rocks and wood for a natural look or ornaments if you prefer. Place any heavy rocks down in the aquarium first, then the gravel. This is so that fish can’t bury under and undermine the rocks, causing them to move. Gravel should be about two inches (5cm) deep and should be prewashed in a bucket to remove any dust. 

Next place wood or ornaments, then live or plastic plants, ready for filling.

How to fill a Juwel tank

A Juwel aquarium can be filled with cold tapwater from a hose or buckets. Place a colander or dish in the tank so the gravel is less disturbed when you pour in the water. Fill up to the maximum fill sticker inside the top tank rim. 

All tapwater should be treated to remove chlorine or chloramine and make it safe for fish and filter bacteria. Add tapsafe as directed, then plug in the heater and filter and switch them on. The tank may take 24 hours to reach a tropical temperature. This should be monitored with a thermometer. 

How long to have Juwel lighting on for

Plug the lighting into a plug-in timer and if you have live plants, set the lighting to come on for a fixed eight-hour photoperiod every day. If you don’t have live plants try to have the light on just for viewing, and then you’ll get less algae. The fish don’t mind it either. If you want extra lighting consider the Juwel HeliaLux lighting upgrade and controller.

How to add fish to a Juwel tank

As good as the Juwel filter is, all filters are sterile when new and need to slowly colonise with beneficial bacteria which convert toxic fish waste into less harmful substances. To do this start with some small, hardy fish and add filter start to get the system running. Test the water for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and pH and don’t add any fish if Ammonia or Nitrite are present. Stock slowly and don’t overfeed. It may take three months before the tank and filter are capable of holding their full quota of fish. Research fish species size, care and compatibility, and add sensitive or more boisterous fish last. 

How to maintain a Juwel aquarium

All aquariums should be maintained on a regular basis to keep them looking good and to keep the fish healthy. Wipe the aquarium glass every few days with a sponge, scraper or algae magnet, then vacuum the gravel with a gravel vacuum and a bucket. The blue Juwel filter sponges are easy to access and should be squeezed in old tank water in the bucket and then put back in the filter. 

Throw away and replace the top white pads and change the carbon and nitrate sponges for new once a month. If the blue sponges start to lose their shape they can be replaced one at a time, once a month. With multiple filter sponges one can be replaced without major loss of bacteria, or any effect on water quality. Never change all the Juwel filter media at once as all the beneficial bacteria will be lost.

Replace the dirty bucket water with treated tapwater, fill the tank back up and switch it on again. Try to get into a weekly or fortnightly maintenance regime, test nitrate, and change enough water to keep the nitrate level below 40ppm. Reverse Osmosis water can also be used with buffer, instead of tapwater and tapsafe.      

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Jeremy Gay is an author and freelance aquatic specialist. A former editor of Practical Fishkeeping magazine, he offers a wealth of experience on all things aquarium and pond.

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