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Keeping your Pet Fish Happy and Healthy - Setting up Fish Tank

Updated on July 28, 2009
My little Ranchu goldfish :)
My little Ranchu goldfish :)

So like me you love your pet fish or your planning on keeping fish so i've made a list of tips that with help your fish stay happy and live longer lives and try to avoid those mistakes that people make when first having fish as pets.


Setting up Fish Tank, if you've got the know how it could be a lot of fun building a tank like this
Setting up Fish Tank, if you've got the know how it could be a lot of fun building a tank like this

The tips

Basic Tips : Setting up Fish Tank

Chlorine - the chlorine added to natural tap water will usually kill your fish instantly so always remember to leave the water out in the sun for 24 hours, aerate the water for a few hours before adding it to the tank or using some dechlorinator.

When doing a small water change a little chlorine wont harm your fish but its best not to let any chlorine into the tank at all, as it probably would reduce the lift of your fish in the long run.

Tank Size :

the size of your tank is very important and is dependent on the type of fish you plan to keep , some fish like large open spaces, others like rocks or things to hide behind, for example fish that grow very large like goldfish require much more water surface volume.

The old picture of having your goldfish in a bowl is very cruel as you will stunt the goldfishes growth and there organs will continue to grow until they will eventually die an early death. This being said its not always the case as I have seen many goldfish in bowls live for 5 years +.

Test kit - Its also a good idea when setting up a fish tank that you go out and buy yourself a nitrate and ammonia tester. These natural chemicals at high levels will wipe out all your fish and usually occur when you have not cycled your tank , your tank needs cleaning or you have overstocked your tank.

How to avoid Cycling

I know how eager you get to buy fish and really want to skip the cycling period for your fish tank, if possible use water from another tank or find a friend with a tank and scoop some gravel and poo anything really, and dump it into your tank. This will start the bacteria process and provide a healthy environment for your Fish. The other option is to buy a water conditioner or beneficial bacteria which you can add to speed up the proccess.

How much to feed your fish :

How much you feed your fish should depend on the water temperature. In colder temperature fish will have a hard time digesting food and in cold times its best to feed your fish easily digestible food like algae, wheat germ, or flakes.

From experience I fed my goldfish a few too many pellets on a cold day and my poor fishy got bloated and died :(.

Also remember for optimal growth if that's what you want to do warm temperatures are needed as feeding and digestive system speeds up.

Cleaning :

Its always important to clean your fish tank regularly and how often will depend on the type of fish you have, and how many fish you have compared to the size of your tank.

For example goldfish produce a ton of waste very quickly so require steady cleaning practices around once a week or more often to prevent a toxic amount of ammonia building up.

Grow your own Food :

The best source of food is cheap food, a very common practice by fish enthusiasts is to buy some duckweed and then put in a bucket outside in the sun. With the sun and water the duckweed will slowly keep growing and provide a steady source of food for your fish.

Fish Selection :

when choosing the fish you want in your tank make sure to research the compatibility between different breeds of fish you don't wanna find one of your fish is chewing or nipping at the other fishes fins and eventually killing them.

Fish live a longtime :

When choosing what type of fish you wish to keep bear in mind the life expectancy of the fish you choose otherwise it can get very expensive buying more and more tanks.

Filters / Air pumps :

When choosing your aquarium filter air pump, it will depend on the size of your tank as you do not want the water splashing all over the place. Its easy just to ask the salesperson to recommend a filter for your tank and size and it's a good idea to find out what sort of water conditions your fish likes as some will like still water and others strong moving currents to swim against.

regular air pumps are also important to oxygenate the water and the more fish you have the more oxygen your fish tank needs.

Fish Disease :

Keep a good eye on your fish to see if they show any signs of sickness and disease. A quick way to help out sick fish is to raise the temperature and to add a little salt otherwise you can pick up specific treatments from an aquarium shop.

How many Fish : again the amount of fish you have in your tank will depend on the size of the fish and its space requirements.

Gravel / Plants :

Gravel and plants are important in setting up fish tank if you have room for them as the beneficial bacteria will develop in the gravel and help convert toxic bacteria into beneficial bacteria , the plants will also help your fish by releasing oxygen during the day and eating any excess nitrates.

Algae :

use an algae brush or magnet cleaner to clean the algae off the sides of your tank.


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    • profile image

      fiona 4 years ago

      my fish is happy and healthy with his budy yogo the baby turtel

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      anjali 5 years ago

      I brought a pair of fish and before i saw your website and the male died :( but the moment i saw your website i saved the female. Thanks to your ideas. :D

    • profile image

      Paquita 5 years ago

      My sisters gold fish lived for over 8 years because of some of these tips

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      lorna 5 years ago

      thnxs that EALLY helpt me for me school project!!!!!:)

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      Macy nolanXxx 5 years ago

      thank you soo much this has helped me I'm getting fish in the morning and a tank iv got a 2 gallon tank could I fit a black more and 4 guppy fish in ????...X

    • profile image

      Kushan 5 years ago

      This is fantastic. I could know a lot of things about my lovely i can keep them well. Thanks. all of you:)

    • profile image

      Sophie 5 years ago

      This is well help full and I have a shubunkin and a gold fish in a plastic tank not very big do I need a filter?

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      jonti 5 years ago

      gonna get a fish and a tank with the gravel for only 25 bucks starter kit this helped me a lot

    • profile image

      marie 5 years ago

      thank you this really helped me!:)

    • profile image

      Rahul 6 years ago


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      bob 6 years ago

      give them playmates :D

    • profile image

      jo 6 years ago

      my fish looks realy bored

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      Linda 6 years ago

      I still don't know if my fish is happy. my jack dempsy lives alone in his 30 gal tank. he hides in his tree trunk for most of the day and comes out at night, is he happy?

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      jan 7 years ago

      I just bought a what looks like a 20 gal tank. Your article was very helpful. Thank you.I am putting in my favorites.