How to Start a Freshwater Aquarium

Adding a fish tank to your home can help to create a beautiful colourful addition to any room as well as providing a relaxing environment for all the family to enjoy and benefit from. However, when you have never owned fish before it can be a bit of a minefield.
Setting up a fish tank from scratch can seem like a daunting prospect for a beginner but it needn’t be – with just a few key steps you can have your brand new freshwater aquarium delighting everyone in the household.
There are a few features which need to be considered way before you start looking for fish, check out our quick guide to starting up an aquarium first.

1. Buy all the equipment to set up the tank

There is a lot of equipment which you need to set up your tank. However, it’s all basic stuff and won’t cost a fortune so don’t worry and seek advice from an aquarist stockist like Aquacadabra if you are unsure about any of it.
Here is a list of what you will need to get for your first aquarium set up:

2. Set up the fish tank and the stand

Set up your fish tank and stand together in a place which is out of direct sunlight and with enough space to add in the filter. You need to make sure the stand is on level ground and balanced and is in the place you want it to remain in.
Once you have the full aquarium set up it will be very hard to move so make sure you choose the right place from the start. It needs to have access all around for maintenance, and be out of sunlight and out of reach of pets or children.

3. Add in the gravel and water

Rinse the bags of gravel with water first, and then place it on the bottom of the tank, making a slope up towards the back of the tank.
Once the gravel is in place, put in a plate to cover it while you add in the water to make sure it doesn’t churn up all the gravel and move it. Fill the tank with water.

4. Connect the heater and the filter

Set up the filter onto the aquarium, without connecting to the power and then attach the thermometer to the fish tank in an area where you can easily read and check it.
Next, put together the heater and install it in the water, near to the filter connection so that these are all in the correct position ready to start working.

5. Add in any artificial decorations

The next stage is to rinse all the artificial plants, rocks and any other decorations with water before placing them into the tank where you want them to appear. Make sure you leave enough space to add in real plants and your new fish.

6. Get the systems running

Next you need to fill the filter with water before plugging in the filter and the heater systems. You need to leave it at least 24 hours for the temperature to stabilize and for the water to settle down before you even think about adding in any fish.

Add the light and the fish tank lid and leave the tank to settle for at least four weeks before adding in any fish. You need to check for ammonia and nitrate levels repeatedly. Start with adding a few fish and then check again. Once the levels return to zero you can start to add in more fish.

7. Choose your fish

Choose the fish you want for your tank – you need to make sure they are the right fish for your size of tank and check if they are capable of living in packs, or if they prefer living on their own. If you want a thriving tank then you need to make sure you choose them carefully. Seek advice from an aquarist specialist if possible.

If you want to keep your tank clean then choose some bottom-dwelling fish which will eat up any debris that falls to the bottom of the tank, as well as algae eaters like catfish who will help keep the tank clean.
Community fish which make great starter tanks include tetras, danios, rainbows and barb fish, creating a colourful fun tank with minimum maintenance.

Wrap Up

If you follow this process your tank set up will be very straightforward and you will end up with a beautiful aquarium to enjoy and watch the fish swimming happily.

About the Author
Katie Michaels is a freelance writer who loves pets. Recently, she has been very obsessed with fish and turtles. When not playing with animals you can find her in the nearest local library looking for vintage books to borrow. She writes freelance for Aquacadabra.

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