So you’ve decided you want to set up an aquarium. I’m here to help!
There are a million and one products that retailers suggest, but there aren’t too many that you really NEED. Lets go over the list of things you’re going to need for your setup.
There are many different types of aquariums. The main two kinds of materials are glass and acrylic. Glass aquariums are often cheaper and easier to find at your local pet shop. Acrylic tanks, although harder to find, are more sturdy and they don’t break easily.
For your first tank, I assume you will want to go glass. There are a few sizes that pretty much every pet shop will carry:
- 10 gallon aquarium
- 20 gallon aquarium (high and long)
- 29 gallon aquarium
- 55 gallon aquarium
These are the most common, but if you have your eye on a different size, that will work just fine too.
When picking out your aquarium, you want to go for the largest possible size you can afford and have space for. This is very important because a larger tank is a more stable environment. A larger fishtank is much easier to perform aquarium maintenance on. If you have a 20 gallon aquarium, you will do 10 times less maintenance than if you had a 2 gallon fish bowl. Size is also important to your fish. Fish need plenty of room to move and if your fish are too cramped, they may be stressed. This could lead to fish diseases such as ick and fish fungus.
Keep in mind that when you fill up your tank with water, its going to be HEAVY! roughly 8 1/2 pounds per gallon of water, plus the weight of gravel in your tank. Make sure you put your tank in a place where you really want it.
One of the key components in a fish tank is the aquarium filter. The filter is the lifeblood of the tank and your tank won’t survive without it.
There are three kinds of aquarium filtration that you should have in your tank:
Biological filtration is the most important of all the filters. Biological filters break down your fish’s waste and leftover food into less dangerous nitrite, into even less hazardous nitrate. (see The Nitrogen Cycle
) These filters work by providing a place for the helpful bacteria to grow and thrive.
Chemical filters are important as well. These filters work like the tap water filter in your brita water pitcher. They use charcoal and other resins to pull harmful chemicals from your water and lock them away. These will help keep your tank water clear and prevent the water from smelling bad.
Mechanical filters are the least important of the three types of filtration, but still important. These filters take the large solids from your tank water and filter them out. This keeps your water looking clean.
Filters come in a wide range of sizes and types. The majority of filters do all of these things at once for you. When picking out your first filter, I suggest you go with a filter that hangs over the back of your tank and uses a carbon insert. These are the most common filters for a reason, they work well. Remember that bigger is better when it comes to filtration. Bigger filters keep your water cleaner and make it easier for you when it comes time to do aquarium maintenance.
Aquarium gravel is more important than you might think. The substrate in your tank is your first line of defense of water quality. Bacteria and organisms grow inside this gravel and they keep your tank clean and healthy. You can keep an aquarium without gravel but its going to double the amount of cleaning you will have to do. Plus it looks unattractive! I suggest 2 pounds of gravel per gallon of water your tank can hold. This should give you a thick bed that will house plenty of beneficial bacteria!
If you plan on keeping tropical aquarium fish, you’re going to need a heater. Goldfish owners can skip this step.
The heater you buy should be roughly 5 watts per gallon of water in your tank.
- a 50 watt heater for a 10 gallon aquarium
- a 100 watt heater for a 20 gallon aquarium
- a 200 watt heater for a 40 gallon aquarium
Along with a heater, grab a thermometer to make sure your temperature is set right.
78-82 degrees is a good range for tropical fish. If your water gets hotter or colder than that, it could harm your fish.
For more information about starter fish and aquarium setup Click Here! This guide has everything you need to start up a beautiful tank.