Setting Up An Aquarium

Catherine Forman

Adding fish to the family? Starting with freshwater fish can be helpful because the equipment you will need is a little more affordable than saltwater fish supplies. Freshwater fish are relatively hardy too. Remember that goldfish you won at the fair that lived on for several years afterwards?


The simplest setup is just a bowl and water. A more extravagant setup can have colorful décor, multiple filters, and snails for algae cleaning. It never hurts to start with a book on fish and aquariums, but here are some starter tips:

  1. Whatever tank or bowl you've planned to use, start by washing it thoroughly with hot water (NO soap). Fill the tank and check for leaks. When you're all done cleaning and checking, empty it.
  2. Using hot and NO soap, wash the gravel and decorating material you've chosen. You want everything to be as clean as possible before adding your fish!
  3. If you have a filter system, a heater, any lighting, and/or a thermostat, check to make sure everything works! Once everything is clean, working, and leak-free, you're ready to set up your aquatic habitat.
  4. Start by adding the gravel for your tank floor. If you are using live plants (instead of plastic), make sure the gravel is deep enough, at least 2 inches deep at the front of the tank and 4 inches deep at the back.
  5. Fill the tank halfway with water.
  6. Add any plants. If you are using live plants, make certain they have enough gravel to root in. If you are using fake plants, you don't need to worry. If your plastic plants suddenly sprout roots, call the local news and get ready to get famous.
  7. Now you can install the filtration system. If you're using a heater and thermostat, you can do that now, too. Make sure no plants or rocks are in the way!
  8. If you are including decorative rocks, you can add them now. Make sure the rocks are firmly planted in the gravel, otherwise, a falling rock can give you unexpected fish pancakes.
  9. If everything is to your liking, fill the tank most of the rest of the way with water. Remember, water displaces, so leave some room to add your fish or to stick your arm in to rearrange the décor.
  10. Before showing your fish into their new home, you need to condition the water. With your aquarium supplies, be sure to pick up some sort of water conditioner that will help remove dangerous chlorine from the tank.
  11. Turn on the lights and filter and let the system run for a few days before you bring the fish home. That will give you a chance to make sure everything is working correctly and get the last traces of chlorine out of the water.
  12. After days of running everything in an empty tank, aren't you starting to get lonely? It's okay to add the fish now, but you may want to start slow. Bring home a couple of fish and introduce them to the tank with the "equalizing method". Float the fish, in their bag, twenty minutes or so before releasing them into the semi-wild of the tank. It is best to remove them from the bag with a net, without adding the bag water to the tank.


April 13, 20060 found this helpful

Truer words were never spoken lol. My Fair Fish lived for 15 years!!!!!!!!!!!! So think it through before you play that game, or buy that Goldfish because it's cheap. They get huge, mine was as long as my arm when he died! They aren't the cleanest fish either!

By the way lol the advice in your post was absolutely the very best I've seen! Very simple and perfect


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