Set your tank up on a sturdy level surface close to electric plugs, allowing room for the filter on one end and the chiller on the opposite end, closest to the electric receptacle. Find 6-10 2-4 inch river rocks, clean them and place in the bottom of the tank for the fish to hide under. (It is easier to clean the bottom of the tank later, if necessary, with the larger rocks instead of gravel.)
Locate where you want the Whisper air pump to sit outside of the tank. Measure the distance from the air pump to the bottom of tank and cut 2 pieces of the 3/16” tubing. Attach one end of each piece of tubing to the ports on the air pump and the other 2 ends to the 10-12” air stones. Be sure that the airstones are not placed directly beneath the filter intake tube or the chiller spray bar because that will cause air build-up in the units and shutdown of equipment. Weigh one air stone down in each ½ of the tank with 2 of your rocks.
Fill the tank to the bottom of the black band around the tank top with water. If your school water supply has chlorine in it, be sure that any water sits for 24 hrs before the eggs or fish are put in, or use the water conditioner that was provided, following the directions on the bottle.
Set the filter next to one end of the tank. Undo the clips on the lid and open it up. Remove the media trays, place either a pad or rinsed media bag in each layer (in the Aqua Via 650 2 tray filter, the white pad goes in the bottom tray, the rinsed media mesh bag in the bottom of the top tray, then the black filter pad under the tray handle, and the plastic divider on top)(Cascade black foam in the bottom, charcoal in the middle & white floss pads in the top), and then replace the trays making sure the ascension pipes are lined up in each layer. Replace the lid making sure the gasket O ring on the filter lid housing is properly placed in the groove on the housing and the lid guide is lined up with the ascension pipe, and close the latches. Reuse the sponges & charcoal bags from last year and add the new media we bring as well to beef up the filtering this year.
Fit the valve and tubing tap connectors onto the fittings of the filter lid housing and hand tighten each of the tap connectors by turning the plastic collar.
Shut off the valve and tubing tap connectors by shifting the plastic levers from the on (vertical) position to the off (horizontal) position. Attach a piece of tubing to the barbed ends of the valve & tubing tap connectors, by pushing the tubing over the barbed fittings so that the plastic collars can be tightened over the tubing to insure a proper seal.
Attach the Intake Pipe strainer to the intake pipe and fasten the intake pipe to the back of the tank close to the end of the tank next to the filter. Later on, it might be necessary to put some nylon or netting over the end of the intake pipe strainer to keep the fry from being sucked into the filter.
The tubing from the “IN” tap connector (blue on Cascade 1000) should be attached to the intake pipe. Cut the tubing before attaching, so you don’t have excess, but leave enough so the hose does not crimp.
ATTN: All tubing needs to be trimmed to fit smoothly between connections, so there are no loops or excess, which puts a strain on the motors of the equipment.
Set the Polar Bear Chiller at the opposite end of the tank from the filter.(The chiller must be positioned so it can be plugged directly into a wall outlet, NOT into a power strip!) Be sure the on-off switch is in the off position and the unit is NOT plugged in.
The tubing from the “out” tap connector( black on Cascade 1000) on the filter goes behind the tank to the other end and fits over the “in” connector on the Polar Bear Chiller. Slip a hose clamp over the end of the tubing before attaching to the chiller and then tighten the hose clamp with a flat screw driver to insure a watertight seal.
Connect the 2 spray bar sections (4-for the Cascade 1000) together making sure the section with the sealed end is on the free end (on the Via Aqua the sealed end is recessed so you can’t see the seal–you will need to feel the seal with your finger). Connect the outlet pipe to the spray bar with a 90 degree angled piece and suction cup the spray bar to the top back of the tank with the outlet pipe in the back corner closest to the chiller. The end of the outlet pipe outside the tank should be connected to a shorter piece of tubing. Connect the other end of the shorter tubing to the “out” connector on the Polar Bear chiller, slipping a hose connector over the tubing before attaching it to the chiller and then tightening the hose connector with a screw drive the same as before.
For the Via Aqua 650 filters, turn on both of the valve & tubing tap connectors on the filter by turning the plastic levers to the vertical “on” position. Gently push the red safety button outward on the filter lid housing and rotate the priming cap until it can be lifted off. Fill the housing to the brim with water using the small plastic funnel provided, and then replace the priming cap making sure it locks back into the safety button. Remove the tubing from each of the filter valves, one at a time, filling them with water using a funnel & then reattach to the filter valve. Plug the filter in. If the water does not start to circulate from the tank, through the filter, through the chiller and back into the tank through the spray bar, you might have to gently lift the filter off the counter & lower it as much as possible to start the flow. Then reposition back onto the counter.
For the Cascade 1000 filter, turn both flow control levers to full open position. Push the prime button until the unit fills with water. Plug in the filter. If water doesn’t start circulating, gently lift the filter off the sideboard and lower it as far as possible or until the water starts to flow.
When the water is circulating smoothly through the chiller and back into the tank, then you can plug in the chiller to a dedicated plug just for it, and turn it on using the off-on switch. Follow the directions that come with the chiller to set the temperature to 50 degrees F. Always turn the chiller on last, only with water moving through it, and turn it off first when turning off the equipment. Running the chiller with no water circulating through it will burn up the motor!! Also, the filter needs to be always primed with water before it is plugged in, since running it without being filled with water will burn up its motor. The chiller can take up to 5 minutes to start cooling and will only start if the water temperature in the tank is higher than the set temperature.
The water entering the chiller needs to be filtered. If chunks of gunk are moving through the tubing into the chiller, the filter inserts will need to be rinsed out (do this at least once a month–more often if you start losing fish), and the filter refilled and restarted. Shut down the chiller before doing this maintenance.
You can tie a string to a thermometer and suspend it in the water to monitor the temperature in the tank if you want.
The air pump can be plugged in or unplugged at any time during the set-up process.
Cover the sides of the tank with black paper and make a flap that the kids can lift to view the fish. Put the egg stand in the tank if you have one and put the lids on the tank.
When you have determined that the chiller has properly cooled the water to the correct temperature and is working fine, you can unplug all the equipment (chiller first) and plug it back in (chiller last) when you return from vacation in January. You can leave the filter plugged in & running over the break if you want to allow the beneficial bacteria to grow.