Tropical Fish Tank Setup in 5 Easy Steps

Tropical fish tanks can be both great fun and unique teaching resource for children. Setting up your first Tropical fish tank doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you follow the 5 easy steps of purchasing the equipment, choosing the right location, filling the tank, adding the accessories, and introducing the fish, you will discover that setting up a tropical fish tank can be an enjoyable process. By the end of this article, you will know all the basic steps for assembling your first tropical fish tank.

The first step is purchasing the necessary equipment for your new tropical fish tank. A good size fish tank to start with would be 10 to 20 gallons. You may be lucky enough to find a kit that comes with the needed accessories to provide a stable environment for your first fish – this is often the most economical way to purchase your fish tank too.

If you don’t have this option, you will need to buy the fish tank (with lid/canopy) and appropriate stand; a heater (use the rule of 5 Watts per gallon of water); a filter that hangs over the back of your tank; enough gravel to have a 1″ to 2″ layer; and any decorations you may want. Once you have the supplies, you need to choose where the tank will go.

There are few rules to choosing where to locate your tropical fish tank. A common mistake is to place the fish tank in front of a window to provide lots of light – you want to avoid this as it can give you chronic problems with algae. An ideal location is one that has no direct sunlight, is a minimum of 3 feet away from any heating/cooling vents, and fits in with the setup of your room. If you keep these tips in mind, you can likely find the perfect spot for the freshwater fish tank and can move onto initial setup.

Once your tropical fish tank is located where you want it, you can start to fill it up with room temperature water. This should be done with caution to ensure that there are no hidden cracks in the tank (some people even test this outside first before filling with water indoors). When the fish tank is half full, I like to add rinse the gravel in a bucket and then add it to the tank.

This prevents you from causing water to overflow when you add the gravel. Now is a good time to add any water conditioner to remove any chlorine and chloramines that could harm your fish. Then you can finish filling the fish tank with water and start adding your accessories.

The two most important accessories for your tropical fish tank are the heater and the filter. Submersible heaters are the best since they can often be hidden in a corner of the tank behind plants or decorations – they should be set to 80 degrees for most tropical fish. “Hang on the back” filters are useful since they provide needed filtration of debris, but also aerate the water too! If you know someone with an established fish tank, see if you can borrow some of their filter media (floss, etc) to allow the good bacteria to populate your fish tank. Run your fish tank for a few days like this, and you can start slowly adding fish.

Now that all the hard work is done, you can start the most fun part – adding the fish to your tropical fish tank. If the tank is for children, there are many options that you can choose from. Smaller fish such as guppies, danios, platies, and mollies are bright and have flowing fins that the kids will enjoy.

Other options for a 10 to 20-gallon fish tank include cichlids, goldfish, and any other appropriately sized fish. For variety, you may consider some shrimp and snails that will double as a cleanup crew!

As you now know, setting up your first tropical fish tank doesn’t have to be a chore. If you follow the 5 easy steps listed above, you can be enjoying some fancy fish within a week. Remember, if you have any questions, the staff at your local pet store are there to help.

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