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How to successfully set up a fish tank.

Updated on December 11, 2015


Fish can add much color and entertainment to your home. First, decide what fish you want. You are going to have to look up basic care for this fish so you can have an idea on what you need. Look at all your options. If you are new to fish, you might want to try beginner fish to start out, then move up to the more advanced fish. Make sure the different types of fish can live together peacefully. Once you have decided what fish you want, you can start with planning.


Find out where you are going to put your fish tank. Also decide what size of fish tank you are getting. You can determine this by seeing the MAXIMUM, not minimum size your fish will get. The general rule is one inch of fish per gallon. Put your fish tank where there are electrical outlets. You will need these for your fish tank. Now you can move further on with equipment.

General equipment

To start, you are going to need a tank lid if the tank doesn't already come with one. Fish are known to jump out looking for "new waters" to explore. Next, you want a filter. On the filter box it will say what size of tank it is for. If you have goldfish as your selected fish, you may want to get a bit larger filter, because goldfish are very dirty fish. Next, depending on your type of fish, and the temperature of the environment around the tank, you might need a heater. Coldwater fish should normally be kept at 60-72 degrees Fahrenheit. Tropical fish should normally be kept at around 78-82 degrees. Temperatures vary depending on fish. Next, you want gravel or sand. This is mostly for decoration, and adds some nice color to the tank. Then you can buy all those decorations meant for fish tanks you want. Do not put everyday objects in the aquarium, for it can hurt or even kill your fish.


Now that you know the fish you want, have researched and know how to take care of them, and know the equipment needed, you can purchase everything needed except for the fish. Set it up in the spot selected, and get it up and running. Use water that is dechlorinated and fill the tank 3/4 full. You can buy dechlorinator at your local pet store, and the directions will tell you how to use it. Now put everything in. This should make the water pretty much to the top. If it doesn't, place more dechlorinated water in. Plug the filter in, and let it run for about a week. With some filters you have to place water in for it to start. Now you can move on to the fish.

Getting the fish

Now get your selected fish and keep them in their bags. Place the bags in the fish tank. Make sure the water level in the fish tank is low enough so water doesn't overflow and spill. Let them sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the bags out. Take your net and scoop the fish from the bag into the tank. Do not pour the water from the fish store in the tank. Now enjoy!

Other important info.

Now that you have your fish, Remember to feed them, clean their tank every 2 weeks, and observe them. To clean the tank, take your water vacuum, and drain 1/4 of the water. Replace that water with same temperature dechlorinated water. If there is algae on the glass, take an algae scrubber that you can get at your local pet store, and scrub. Just watch your fish. If they are acting weird, or you just see strange things about them, do some research. There are many fish diseases that if not cured, can negatively affect your fish, or even kill them. Also always clean appliances you use for your fish with hot water. Do not use soap! Especially if you have more than one tank, you want to clean your fish tank appliances. Try to have separate appliances for each tank. Lastly, If you get more fish to put in your tank, quarantine them for 3-6 days. Make sure it is a big enough tank and has an aerator. By doing this, you can help prevent disease in your fish. It is also a good idea to turn tank lights off at night. Fish do have to sleep just like humans. Now you can enjoy your fish tank.

What fish are you looking to get?

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    • Dallin Soelberg profile image

      Dallin Soelberg 2 years ago from Idaho Falls

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      bsoelberg 2 years ago

      This is a very thorough guide detailing how a beginner can get their own fish tank started. You obviously have a lot of experience!

    • profile image

      Grace 2 years ago

      This is a wonderful post! It was very helpful and thorough. It walked me through all the basic steps I would need to take when buying fish for my home.

      Other things that would be helpful are links to pages about specific tanks to help me research my options, also pictures of tanks and the appliance. The pictures you have are nice. Beautiful fish!