The tank should be functioning as if it were full of fish. Make sure the filters are working properly and the lighting is right. Remember not to leave the light on for more than 10 to 12 hours a day as it may promote algae growth. After adding some snails or crabs, wait another 2 weeks before proceeding. Plants need clean and clear water to survive best in, so proper cleaning and maintenance should be performed on the aquarium. Most plants will not survive if there is too much debris or waste in the water, so keeping up with cleaning is essential. Once your plants are established in a clean, well lighted tank, you must care for them by making sure they receive the nutrients required for healthy growth. Aquarium Care Guide- New Tanks When starting a new aquarium it is important to understand the nitrogen cycle. Many new aquarium owners jump into the hobby of fish keeping too quickly. Before purchasing fish, the aquarium must be cycled. This could take anywhere from twenty four hours to four weeks. In an established aquarium there are certain bacteria that help the breakdown of ammonia to nitrates, but they are not present in a new tank because they are generated from existing fish. When visiting a public aquarium, notice sand sharks tend to be constantly moving, while some of the other fish just hang out in the tank. A good alternative for a sand shark in a home aquarium is the catfish shark. Although labeled as a shark because of their dorsal fins, these creatures are much smaller. Since your fish tank is brand new, you might want to consider making partial water changes of about 25 per cent of the total water volume every few days for the first week or so. You can find Goldfish food at almost any pet shop. Make sure to purchase some when you buy your first fish. Feed only a small amount. Catfish feel more secure when they are hidden from the light, so be sure to have caves and hiding places for this type of fish. Overall, the care of catfish does not vary from caring for your other fish. You should try to include a food that will settle on the bottom of the tank as these fish are bottom feeders.