Guide to Building Your First Fish Tank

The Basics For Successful Fish Tank Keeping Can Be Summarized As Follows:

Research your pet fish environment to facilitate duplicating it within your fish tank. Locate your fish tank in a consistent environment, while still enjoying your fish. Population density is crucial to a happy fish tank, even more so than fish species. The temperament of fish species within the aquarium population shouldn’t be mixed. Aquarium equipment selection, fish tank size, and aquarium supplies.

Research first – You should spend the majority of your time researching your aquarium fish tank environment before making any purchase; Do you want freshwater fish, or saltwater fish, a few big fish, or smaller plenty of fish? Are the fish you want to keep mostly passive or aggressive? The answers to these questions will dictate the size and type of aquarium equipment, and the fish tank supplies you need.

Location – The first thing you should consider in your research is the placement of the fish tank in your home. You want to keep it out of direct sunlight, and away from air conditioning and heater vents, but not out of sight. You want to be able to enjoy your Clownfish, Guppy fish, Angelfish, Goldfish, or Pufferfish while keeping the tank at a consistent temperature, and not encouraging the growth of algae, which will rob the water of oxygen and stress your pet fish.

How many fish – The general rule of thumb is: “1 inch of fish per gallon of the fish tank”. Therefore 10 fish of 2-inch size should be fine in a 20-gallon aquarium. However, this rule is often misused, in that this rule refers to the adult size of fish, not the size of the fish at the time of acquisition as they are usually younger and smaller than.

For instance, if you get a 2-inch Cichlid it could grow to 7 inches, or more, in 2 years. In my opinion, this rule should be “1 inch of adult size fish per 2 gallons of the fish tank” for beginners. In my opinion, this rule should only be used for passive fish, as aggressive fish typically won’t tolerate such a tight population density.

Types of fish – Freshwater fish are typically easier for children and busier adults to keep as they are more tolerant of fluctuations in their environment and able to withstand longer periods between water changes. However, saltwater fish can be just as easy to keep if you choose your fish and configure your equipment carefully. Fish temperament, size, and space requirements must be taken into consideration.

Betta fish (a.k.a. Siamese fighting fish) won’t tolerate most other fish at all, while Oscars, Discus, and Cichlids, while aggressive, will tolerate other aquarium fish, although they will harass, or eat, smaller fish species in dense aquarium populations. Try not to mix fish temperaments within your aquarium to minimize fish stress.

Aquarium equipment – Finally the question of what aquarium supplies to get; what size aquarium should I get? Most beginners should start with, at least, a 55 gallon, to 75-gallon fish tank for saltwater fish, or a 20 gallon to 30-gallon fish tank for freshwater, or tropical fish. The volume of water in the aquarium lends to the stability of the aquatic environment; the bigger the fish tank, the more stable the water temperature and water quality.

For beginners and experts alike, I recommend aquarium kits, as these usually consist of aquarium filters, pumps, and other compatible equipment that has been pre-configured by the distributors for optimal performance, for most typical situations. You will also need a Water Chemistry kit, water conditioners, and heater, and/or chiller, depending upon your location and typical ambient temperature within your home.

This is not a comprehensive discussion, but it does cover the things most often overlooked by beginners. If more hobbyists would follow these basic guidelines in the setup of their fish tanks, they would spend more time enjoying their pet fish rather than struggling with algae, fish disease, and replacing dead fish.

You May Also Like:

Betta Tank Setup – 10 Essential Tips
Betta Fish – The Ultimate Tropical Fish

Featured image source: Reddit

Leave a Comment