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Beginners Guide to Freshwater Aquariums

Updated on January 10, 2013
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You can set up a freshwater aquarium without difficulty at all. You just have to gather the supplies that you need and follow these easy steps. Before you know it, you will have the beautiful aquarium that is suitable for your fish. You can begin with the equipment, which you will need. If you are new to this, most of this has to be bought. Someone who has experience in keeping an aquarium can come up with one or two of these items.

Things You Will Need


  • Aquarium or fish tank that will accommodate the quantity of fish, which you like.
  • Substrate vacuum and substrate
  • Aquarium filter plus filter replacements for maintenance
  • Heater and thermometer
  • Real or fake plants, though, real ones suit your freshwater aquarium
  • Aquarium test kit for testing your aquarium’s salinity
  • A large bucket
  • A net plus a strainer with big holes


Steps To Set Up a Freshwater Aquarium

Choose the tank size that will accommodate the size and quantity of fish, which you like to keep. You want fish that would feel free to move about so they should not be overcrowded or too big for the aquarium you pick. You can begin by getting a tank with a capacity of 10 gallons then put a number of small fishes, which do not grow too big. Once you gain a little experience, you can try a bigger tank with other fish species.

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Find a place

Look for a safe and stable area to place your aquarium. Always remember to keep them within reach of kids and pets since they can cause disturbance. When it is close to a window where sunshine penetrates, this can increase the temperature of water. Too much of direct sunshine will allow algae to increase.

Consider the equipment to be used.

There are various filters that are available in different prices. Also, there are fishes that produce more waste compared to others so they need particular types of filters. The heater should match the tank’s size. You should, likewise, consider the substrate, plants plus other accessories that you will include in your tank.

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Clean the aquarium

Clean the aquarium by rinsing every single part that will be put inside. Soap should not be used since it will kill the fish. Once the tank and its parts are clean, the filter can be set up. When everything is its place, you can put the water inside the aquarium. So you won’t make a mess out of the plants and gravel that you have arranged, position a saucer at the center then run water on it. Let this flow over into your aquarium. Be sure that this is de-chlorinated and has a room temperature.

Install the heater

Install the heater then leave it for 15 minutes. This gives time for its thermostat to adapt to the temperature of the water. Cover it with the lid and check if the tank light works properly. Chords should not come in contact with the water. Plug everything that will make use of electricity then turn it on.

Bring the fish

Finally, place your fish one by one or by twos. The filtration system should be gradually adapted. The fish should become accustomed to their new home before placing them inside. So, you should drop the bag that carried them, inside the tank for 15 minutes. They don’t need to be fed, on the first day. However, you should do so, starting the next day. Always get ready for spring cleaning, every two weeks or every month.

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    • Learning in Life profile image

      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      I never have seen the point of having a fish tank. I am a minimalist so I wouldn't want it taking up room in my house. Good hub though.

    • TinaAtHome profile image

      TinaAtHome 4 years ago from California

      I used to have a tropical tank filled with tiger barbs, but it was too much maintenance. Very pretty while I had it though.

    • SolveMyMaze profile image

      SolveMyMaze 4 years ago

      Awesome hub! I've always wanted to have my own aquarium, but in all honesty I didn't have a clue where to start. I really would need to think about how big of a tank I'd want though, and what kinds of fish I'd like before taking the plunge and getting it all put together.

    • mydubstepstudio profile image

      Paul Perry 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Fresh water aquariums are so cool but you rarely see them as much. This hub is awesome because I wanted to learn more about this so thank you!

    • profile image

      RTShuess 2 years ago

      Your hub has proved invaluable to us with our first freshwater tank! Bravo! After reading this & several other hubs were still wondering about a thermometer? Would you recommend a specific type? Floating, adhesive, etc. Appreciate your advice? Thank you!

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