If you’ve decided to start an aquarium, there are a few things you need to know before getting started. To begin with, it’s important to choose the right tank size.
This decision will impact many of the choices you make moving forward, so it’s important to put some thought into it. Factors such as budget, available space, and the type of fish you want to keep should all be taken into consideration.
Once you’ve chosen the right tank size, it’s time to think about filtration. No matter the size of your aquarium, it will need a filtration system to keep the water healthy and clean for your fish.
There are many different types of filters to choose from, including sponge filters, hang-on-back filters, and canister filters. For beginners, it’s recommended to start with a hang-on-back filter or a sponge filter hooked up to an air pump, as these are the cheapest and easiest filters to use.
These top tips for fish keepers first aquarium will ensure a smooth start for your aquatic companions.
Key Takeaways on Tips for Fish Keepers First Aquarium
• Choosing the right tank size is crucial for success in aquarium keeping
• A filtration system is necessary to keep the water clean and healthy for your fish
• It’s important to research and understand the aquarium cycle before adding fish to your tank.
See these other top picks in this category:
- How Often Should I Clean My Fish Tank?
- Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish
- Best Tips to Keep Your Aquarium Clean!
Reasons to Start an Aquarium
Starting an aquarium can be a fun and relaxing stress reliever that provides a nice escape from the daily madness of life. It is also a great way to become in touch with nature and have a pet that won’t make a mess in the house.
There are many reasons why someone might want to start an aquarium, and here are a few:
• Aesthetics: Aquariums are beautiful and can add a unique touch to any room in the house.
• Educational: Keeping an aquarium can be a great way to learn about different types of fish and their habitats.
• Therapeutic: Watching fish swim around can be a calming and meditative experience.
• Social: Joining a local aquarium club or online community can provide an opportunity to connect with other aquarium enthusiasts.
When starting an aquarium, it is important to consider the size of the tank, the type of filtration system, the appropriate temperature for the fish, and the decorations.
It is also important to research and understand the nitrogen cycle in an aquarium to ensure the health and well-being of the fish. By taking the time to properly set up and maintain an aquarium, it can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby.
1. Deciding the Tank Size
Budget and Space
When deciding on the size of the tank, the two main factors to consider are budget and space. It is important to put some thought into the size of the tank before buying one, as many things moving forward will be dictated by the size of the tank.
If the tank is too small, it can limit the number and size of fish that can be kept in it.
Type of Fish
Another factor to consider when deciding on the size of the tank is the type of fish that will be kept. Different types of fish require different tank sizes. For example, if one wants to keep Oscar fish, a larger tank will be needed compared to keeping Tetras.
Therefore, it is important to figure out the type of fish that will be kept, as it will determine what size tank is needed.
It is recommended to figure out the budget and measure the space where the fish tank will be placed to determine what size tank is needed.
Once the appropriate tank size is determined, it will be easier to decide what fish can be kept and what type of filtration system will be needed.
2. Filtration System
Sponge filters are the easiest and cheapest filtration system for new fish keepers. They are efficient filters that are foolproof, but they are super ugly and take up valuable space in the aquarium.
They work by drawing water in through the sponge, which catches the debris, and sending the water out through the tube in the top. These filters are also a great way to get the water moving because of the bubbles.
Hang on the Back Filters
Hanging on the back filters are the most common type of filters and are highly efficient. They are usually pretty quiet and easy to maintain. They are recommended to new fish keepers because of how easy they are to use.
Canister filters are larger units that usually sit under the aquarium. They are crazy efficient and have tons of options for customization. However, they are pretty expensive, take up a lot of room underneath the aquarium, and can be a little tricky to maintain.
For new fish keepers, it is recommended to start with either a hang on the back filter or a sponge filter hooked up to an air pump. These are the cheapest and easiest filters to use. More advanced systems like something all can be saved for another video.
Regardless of the size of the aquarium, it is important to have a filtration system to keep the water healthy and clean for the fish.
3. Heating System
In setting up an aquarium, the temperature of the water is important to maintain the health and well-being of the fish.
Almost all fish that are commonly kept in aquariums are considered tropical fish, which means they are used to water that is on the warmer side, around 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, most households have a temperature range of 72 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not ideal for the fish.
To address this issue, an aquarium heater is necessary. The appropriate size of the heater needed for the aquarium is usually indicated on the box of the product.
It is recommended to get the appropriate size of the heater and hook it up to ensure that the fish are comfortable and healthy.
It is important to note that not all fish require a heater, but it is better to have one to ensure the well-being of the fish.
4. Lighting System
The lighting system is an essential component of any fish tank. It not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the aquarium but also plays a crucial role in the growth and health of the fish and plants.
When choosing a light for your aquarium, it is important to consider the size of the tank and the type of fish and plants you plan to keep. Almost all lights available in the market will be suitable for the majority of fish species.
However, some lights may not be powerful enough to grow certain types of plants.
It is recommended to get a light that is appropriately sized for your aquarium. This will ensure that the light is sufficient to meet the needs of your fish and plants.
Decorating your aquarium with plants is a great way to add natural beauty to your tank. If you plan to keep bettas, it is recommended to incorporate some live plants or artificial plants made out of silk.
African cichlids, on the other hand, prefer large shells to live in. It is essential to research the specific needs of your fish before decorating your tank.
Overall, selecting the appropriate lighting system for your aquarium is crucial to maintaining a healthy and thriving aquatic environment for your fish and plants.
5. Decorating the Aquarium
When it comes to decorating an aquarium, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to consider the type of fish that will be living in the tank.
For example, if you plan on keeping bettas, incorporating live or artificial plants is a good idea. On the other hand, if you’re planning to keep shell dwellers like African cichlids, large shells for them to live in should be incorporated into the decor.
Expressing oneself through aquarium decoration is encouraged, but it’s important to make sure that the decor is suitable for the fish. Researching the appropriate decor for the type of fish being kept is crucial to their health and well-being.
It’s also important to note that the aquarium should be allowed to run for a bit before adding fish. This allows for the nitrogen cycle to establish and ensures that the water is healthy and safe for the fish to live in.
Decorating the aquarium can be a fun and exciting part of setting up a new tank, but it’s important to prioritize the needs of the fish first and foremost.
6. Understanding the Aquarium Cycle
When setting up a new aquarium, it’s important to understand the aquarium cycle. The aquarium cycle is the development of bacteria in the aquarium that helps keep harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite under control. If these toxins are left unchecked, they can kill the fish.
To get through this period in a new aquarium, it’s recommended to watch videos about the nitrogen cycle. There are many videos available that explain the process in detail.
It’s important to note that setting up a new aquarium is an exciting thing, but it’s also important to be patient. It’s recommended to buy the aquarium, set up the equipment, decorate it, and fill it with water. Then, let it run for a bit before buying any fish.
By understanding the aquarium cycle, new fish keepers can ensure the health and safety of their fish.
7. Buying the Fish
After setting up the tank, the next step is to buy the fish. However, it is not recommended to buy the fish immediately after setting up the aquarium. It is advised to let the tank run for a while to establish the nitrogen cycle.
The nitrogen cycle is the development of bacteria in the aquarium that helps keep harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite under control. It is critical to the survival of the fish, and it is recommended to watch videos on cycling the tank before buying the fish.
When buying the fish, it is essential to consider the size of the tank, the type of fish, and the budget. The size of the tank is critical because many things moving forward will be dictated by the size of the tank.
The type of fish is also essential because different fish require different tank sizes. For example, if someone decides to keep Oscar’s fish, they will need a much larger tank than if they want to keep tetras. It is also crucial to consider the budget when buying the fish.
It is recommended to buy an aquarium starter kit because it comes with all the basic equipment needed, and the equipment is sized appropriately for the tank. However, if someone wants to buy a filter separately, they have several options.
Sponge filters are the easiest to set up and the cheapest. They are simple sponges with a tube coming out of the top that hooks to an air pump. They are super efficient filters that are foolproof, but they are also super ugly and take up valuable space in the aquarium.
Hanging on the back filters are the most common filters, and they are very efficient, usually pretty quiet, and easy to maintain. They are recommended for new fish keepers because of how easy they are. Canister filters are larger units that usually sit under the aquarium.
They are crazy efficient and have tons of options, but they are pretty expensive, take up a lot of room underneath the aquarium, and can be a little tricky to maintain.
Heaters are also essential when buying the fish. Almost every heater for sale will have the aquarium size they are rated for on the box, so it is crucial to get the appropriate size. It is also recommended to get a light that is appropriately sized for the aquarium chosen.
Decorating the aquarium is an opportunity to express oneself, but it is crucial to keep in mind what fish will go in the tank because some rules apply.
For example, if someone is setting up a betta tank, they will want to incorporate some plants, preferably live plants. If someone decides to get shelled well in African cichlids, they will want to decorate with some large shells for them to live in.
Ian Sterling, founder of Fishlab.com, began his aquarium journey over 30 years ago, driven by a deep fascination for fish and their diverse personalities. His website, Fishlab.com, is dedicated to making fishkeeping accessible and enjoyable, offering beginner-friendly guidance, expert insights, and a community for aquarists to connect and share experiences.