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Setting up a Glofish tank

Updated on November 21, 2009


You may have seen Glofish at your local Walmart, Petsmart, Petco, or other big chain pet store recently. My first thought was that Glofish were painted fish, but this is not the case.

Glofish are genetically engineered Zebra fish. They were engineered as part of a project done at a university, they are the beginning of a fish that will flouresce when exposed to environmental pollutants. The first step of this project was to create a fish that can survive in most freshwater and brackish environments  (the Zebra fish) that has the ability to glow. The second step, which has yet to be completed, is to make an "on/off" gene that will let the fish only flouresce when exposed to toxins. Once the project is complete, millions of people will be able to avoid exposure to toxic water and environmental groups will know where to clean up. But right now, they are just flourescent Zebra fish. :) This fish were not harmed in this process, they original fish were injected with the gene before they were formed, and those fish kept breeding to give us the fish now in stores. $0.50-$2 is donated to research with each fish you buy.They come in Red, Orange, and Green which really look pink, orange, and yellow.

Now that you know what a Glofish is, its time to learn how to set up a tank to show off its hypnotising color.

The first thing to do is choose your tank size. The general rule of thumb is 1 gallon of water per 1 inch of fish - So the 1 gallon kit they sell at Wal-mart simply will not do. I personally chose a 10 gallon, because I got it on Craigslist.

The next thing is your filtration system. Bio-mechanical filters are the easiest, but they breakdown quite quickly. Undergravel filters are amazing and I always have the best luck with them, but I've also heard horror stories of them. It really depends on what you like, how often you are willing to clean your tank, and how much energy you are willing to use to run your tank.

Then comes the fun part - decoration and lighting.

For Glofish I strongly recommend blue light. They glow the most brightly under these lights. The next best lighting is blacklight. You can experiment with different lightbulbs, especially moon bulbs, green blubs, black light, and the usual clear blubs. I've seen some really cool effects with red light, but they don't flouresce at all in my opinion. If you don't want to blow all your money on light bulbs you can view the videos at , they show black, blue, and white light and you can make your decision from there.

If you choose blue or black light - try to find brightly colored plants or objects. I personally own some items that are beautifully hand crafted $50 items, but they look horrible in my blacklight tanks. The $2 castle I bought at wal-mart that looks horrible in regular light however looks amazing. If its bright or white it will flouresce as well. My favorite blacklight combo was regular green plants and pink plants in the back, an purple skull form Mejer with a bubbler hidden inside, a glow in the dark orange anenome and a blue anenome from Petsmart. I strongly recommend black gravel for a black light, with a few pieces of pink or white gravel thrown in. If you go with a blue light, try light blue gravel, its very pretty.

If you go with a white light - any range of colors and items are available. You can choose a natural look white beige and green, an oriental theme, or whatever suits you.

Other colors pick up that color well. Red lights look great of white and red themes. Green looks fantastic on natural looking tanks or green themes. Yellow light usually looks weird unless you have yellow and orange fish in your tank that you wish to show off.

After its all decorated, the filter is installed, and your light bulbs are in it is time to cycle your tank. Here is the simpelist How to on Cycling I have ever come across. I know it is annoying to have to wait to purchase your fish, but fish are kind of like having a baby, you can't just bring it home without having things ready.Cycling should be done to prevent disease, death, and poor health of your fish.

After everything is cycled, go get your fishies! Be sure to float them in the tank for at least ten minutes, then slowly add the tank water to the bag before releasing them.



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    • Geek_luv profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Muncie

      To get rid of the snails - 1 tsp. of aquarium salt per gallon of water will kill the snails without hurting the fish. Be sure to use AQUARIUM salt, not sea salt or table salt.

      For the algae - Make sure the aquarium lights are only on for 8 hours a day and that you are not overfeeding the fish. Adding a Marimo Moss Ball can help by depleting the nutrients the algae needs to grow. You can also use an ORIGINAL Magic Eraser to safely clean algae from rocks and decorations. Many pet stores use them to keep fish tanks looking sparkly clean.

      Also, unless the "sucker fish" is an otocinclus, please give it to someone with a larger fishtank or take it back to the store you purchased it from it is not meant to be in such a small tank.

    • CharleneL profile image


      5 years ago from Alvin, Texas

      I have a tank probably about 8-10gallons in my son's room, we have two glofish, one sucker fish (don't know what it is called but was bought to clean the tank-yeah right!) and unfortunately a snail invasion.

      How do I get rid of the snails without killing my fish and also the green algae that is everywhere????

    • Geek_luv profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Muncie

      Thanks, I agree that cycling should always be done without fish as it is simply not work risking pain.

    • profile image

      Fishelss Cycle 

      6 years ago

      Glofish is overpriced for what they are.

      Sadly the regular Zebra Danios are often used for cycling the tank because "they are hardy". Although I really don't like them due to they are known nippers, but still it's cruelty to kill them with ammonia burn. I am always for fishless cycling by using pure ammonia. It is faster, and more controllable. You don't kill fish over it. If you absolutely have to get fish before the tank is cycled, please get Tetra SafeStart. Here is another good article about fishless cycling which promotes the use of pure ammonia instead of "hardy fish".

    • Geek_luv profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Muncie

      Bettas are tricky little fish - some are more community friendly than others. While the glofish are very quick and would likely avoid injury, I can't gaurentee there wouldn't be injuries. My only recommendation with Betta fish in a community is to always have a larger tank than you think you will need.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      this was a gr8 article!

    • Geek_luv profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Muncie

      The fix - If your tank is large enough ( such as a ten gallon or above) and you have a school of glofish they should be compatible with a good tempered Betta fish. Glofish like to school, and if there are not enough of them they will nip at the Betta in an attempt to school with it. Most Betta fish will do well in tanks with Glofish and Zebra fish as long as they have enough space to feel secure in their territory. If a tank is too small the Betta fish will nip at the Glofish.

    • profile image

      the fix 

      7 years ago

      Hey Geek_Luv!! Welcome to Hubpages! This article is great, I am going to get a tank soon and this hub caught my eye because I want to get these glofishies. I had no idea about the story behind them! So cool! I will bookmark this since I will have to go to that link to learn to cycle my tank.BTW do you know if these will play nice with a Betta?


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