A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up an Aquarium

You’ve seen aquariums in hotel lobbies, homes, and dental offices. Have you ever considered installing an aquarium in your own home or business? 

Aquariums are eye-catching and fun additions to any space. Learning about aquariums for beginners can be overwhelming. What materials do you need? What types of fish are best?

If you are wondering how to set up an aquarium for beginners, keep reading to learn the necessary steps.

Prepare the Tank

You may think it’s best to start with a small tank. However, it is recommended for beginners to start with a larger tank between 15 to 20 gallons. Larger tanks are easier to clean and maintain.

Consider where you want the aquarium to be, and plan according to the allotted space. Once you have your tank, clean it thoroughly. Be sure to avoid soap or other cleaners. Use a damp cloth to remove any dust and debris. 

Add Decorations

Gravel is a necessity for the bottom of your aquarium. Experts recommend using natural-colored gravel. This will feel similar to the natural habitat of your fish. It can even lower your fishes’ stress levels!

Wash the gravel thoroughly before adding it to the tank. Wash the stones 3 to 4 times until the wastewater is clear. This will help avoid cloudy water in your tank. 

Plants add beauty to your aquarium. You can add plastic plants or live plants. Figurines and larger rocks also make great additions. Be sure to wash any decoration before placing it in your tank.

Tank Equipment

You will need to install a water filter for your tank. This will keep the water clean and your fish healthy. Be sure the filter you have can turn over the tank’s water volume at least 4 times an hour. 

If you want tropical fish, you will need a water heater.

Add aquarium lighting for function and aesthetics. Different kinds of lighting can help grow things like coral or create a beautiful glowing effect.

Fill and Test Water Quality

A Beginner's Guide to Setting Up an Aquarium

Once your tank is decorated and all the equipment is installed, it is time to fill it with water. 

Always use clean water. Tap water works well. Avoid distilled water because fish need the minerals that distilled water doesn’t have.

The most important step is to cycle your tank water. The process of cycling creates a bacteria bed in your filter. This removes harmful nitrites and ammonia. 

To cycle, add ammonia to your tank and run the filter. Use test strips that you can find at pet stores. Test the levels of nitrite and ammonia. Once they reach zero, your tank is safe for fish. Continue to test the water once per week.

Add Your Fish

Now, for the most fun part! While adding the fish is exciting, don’t rush the process. Add your fish slowly over the course of a few weeks. Dumping your fish in together can cause shock and death.

Start your aquarium off with 3 to 5 fish. Research fish that do well in groups and in the same water temperature. The last thing you want is for your fish to start fighting.

There are many kinds of tropical fish that are great for beginners. Have fun choosing the fish you want.

Enjoying Aquariums for Beginners

Aquariums for beginners might seem daunting at first. With enough preparation, setting up a beginner aquarium will go smoothly. You will enjoy the beautiful tank in your home or office in no time.

For more pet advice, check out the other articles on our site.